You are here

"Thou shalt pay for thy Church Days thyself!"

Art campaign "11th Commandment" criticizes subsidization of major religious events at Kirchentag in Regensburg


Foto: Evelin Frerk

The art action campaign "11th Commandment" drew attention to the constitutionally problematic subsidization of major Church events on the fringes of the Katholikentag ("Catholics Day", a bi-annual religious festival) in Regensburg. It featured a "tablet of stone" almost three metres high, alongside an equally large Moses stretching his forefinger warningly up to the sky.

According to Article 3 of the German Basic Law, "no person shall be favoured or disfavoured because of (...) faith, or religious or political opinions". It is a fact, however, that members of the two major Churches are granted special privileges in comparison with people of other faiths and non-believers. Each year the two major Christian Churches receive millions from the state for their Church Days, while other religious and philosophical communities do not receive comparable benefits. This can no longer be legitimized demographically, said Farago, who is responsible for the art action campaign in Regensburg with the support of the Giordano Bruno Stiftung: "Today the non-denominational groups make up the largest part of the German population with 36.6 percent, while only 28.2 percent are still members of the Protestant Church and 29.2 percent of the Catholic Church. In the large cities, which each year bear a considerable share of the costs of the Church Days, the proportion of non-denominational people is even higher. For example, 44 percent of Hamburg's inhabitants are non-denominational, and as many as 69 percent in Berlin."

As explained in the flyer distributed at the art campaign in Regensburg, taxpayers, whether or not they are church members, paid more than one-third of the 71.8 million euros spent on the Protestant and Catholic Church Days from 2001 to 2014. Such public financing of internal church affairs contradicts the worldview neutrality of the state required by the constitution and can no longer be accepted, Farago explained. He therefore announced that Moses will appear with his tablet of stone on each of the coming Church Days as long as the responsible persons believe that they do not have to obey the 11th Commandment "Thou shalt pay for thy Church Days thyself!".

In Regensburg, the "11th Commandment" sculpture, whose discovery is celebrated tongue-in-cheek by the activists of the Giordano Bruno Stiftung as "the archaeological sensation of the century", will be on display until the end of the Church Day. Further information on the art campaign and the financing of the Church Days in Germany can be found on the campaign website:

Pictures of the campaign: