Will the Church perish if fewer people go to church?

The Church is paid by the state primarily for services it provides, which are not “gifts from taxes”.

To make the discussion more objective:

In various publications it is repeatedly said that the churches are subsidised by the state.Billions of dollars are sometimes mentioned. What is it all about?

Is the Church subsidised?

Based on the federal government’s subsidy report, the churches do not receive subsidies.Appendix 3 of the subsidy report lists other tax advantages which are not allocated to subsidies for further information. These also concern non-profit organisations, associations, political parties, the health sector, social insurance and the churches.

These, like various other facts, are often mistakenly referred to as “subsidies of the churches”, which in fact do not constitute subsidies or any special advantages of the churches.Some of these misunderstandings will be addressed here for clarification.

In most cases, such misunderstandings are financial benefits as a result of the constitutional principleof subsidiarity.This principle implies that social tasks should not be solved first by the state, but in self-responsible action by social groups. Only if they are not able to do so can the parent entity intervene. However, it is required to support those in solving these tasks, both through legislation and, of course, financially. This principle therefore stipulates that state action is subordinate whenever the action of independent responsible institutions is possible. It is of particular importance in child, youth and social assistance.

Thus, the legal obligation of the state for the provision of a day care centre is implemented, for example, by non-profit and church institutions, which are financially responsible for this by the state – since they perform state tasks. supported.Thus, corresponding financial benefits are not a “subsidy of the churches”, but a financial contribution by the public authorities to the socially desired performance. The Evangelical Church spends about 1.9 billion euros on kindergartens in its area, of which about 1.3 billion is spent on municipal or municipal kindergartens. State subsidies.

Occasionally we even read of ‘public billions in aid to institutions of deaconry andCaritas’ ; it is completely overlooked that it is not ‘aid’ but the remuneration of services provided by ecclesiastical institutions (and institutions of other institutions) which are provided on the basis of generally valid legal provisions in order to ensure that society is necessary social tasks.

Sometimes the training at the state theological faculties is also referred to as a subsidy of the churches.But here, too, university education and research is a task for society as a whole. Research and teaching always benefit the whole of society.

Another misunderstanding occurs in the field ofdevelopment aid.For example, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development uses church and other development services to better realize the Federal Government’s commitment to development aid. In 2009, for example, the Evangelical Development Service in Bonn accounted for 113 million euros. 47 million euros will be added from church funds, while the “Bread for the World” campaign has raised and is providing a further 57 million euros in donations.

The deduction of the church tax as a special edition, as mentioned in Appendix 3 of the above-mentioned report of the Federal Government, is also not a subsidy for the tax-raising religious communities, but rather a constitutionally necessary Tax relief for church tax payers.The church tax actually paid in the calendar year is deductible in full as a special expense in the income tax assessment (Section 10 para. 1 No. 4 EStG). Cash benefits (church tax paid) which are levied by the religious communities recognised as bodies under public law as membership fees are deductible – just as membership fees to other non-profit associations are also collected by their members. tax deductible. Such tax advantages benefit all taxable persons who, within the framework of their civic involvement, make contributions to corporations that meet the requirements of Section 10b of the EStG.

So-called state benefits or endowments are not subsidies either.In the western federal states, state-church contracts were concluded in the 1950s with the Protestant state churches and in the eastern states in the 1990s, which regulate the relationship between state and church in the respective territories. In doing so, a number of older legal obligations of the Lē›²nder have been re-regulated and codified. The state services are therefore based on obligations enshrined in law and in law, which do not constitute a particular advantage for the churches. The Basic Law provides for a legally regulated replacement.

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