More than half a billion euros of state payments per year are currently transferred by the federal states of Germany to the churches - in addition to all the money with which the state finances church social institutions. 100 years ago, the abolition of these state benefits was laid down in the Weimar Constitution. Yet despite the fact that this demand for abolition was reiterated in 1949 in the Basic Law, the money still goes to the Protestant and Catholic Church today. And despite massively shrinking membership numbers of the churches, the sum increases annually.
"BAStA", the "Alliance for the Abolition of Old Law State Benefits", demands the end of these state benefits to the churches. The alliance includes the Humanistische Union (HU), the Giordano Bruno Stiftung (gbs), the Internationale Bund der Konfessionslosen und Atheisten (IBKA), the Koordinierungsrat säkularer Organisationen (KORSO), the Institut für Weltanschauungsrecht (ifw), the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Säkulare Grüne (initiator, BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN), the Säkulare Sozis (SPD) and the youth organisations Junge Liberale (FDP) and ['solid] (Linksjugend).
In the Weimar anniversary year the alliance addresses politicians, churches, and the general public with the demand to finally meet the requirement for the ending of state payments that has been enshrined in the constitution for 100 years. To this end, the members of the Alliance have already sent more than 300 letters to the political bodies of the federal and state governments.
Johann-Albrecht Haupt, BAStA coordinator as well as HU and ifw adviser, explains: "It is no longer justifiable for all taxpayers to permanently contribute to the financing of the churches. In a democracy that has disregarded its constitution on this point for 100 years, it is not the people who rule, but political despotism."
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