In Germany, when you fill out your tax forms for 2019, you are required to mark what religion you belong to. The state then collects a tax which is about 9% of the person’s income tax and distributes the money to the relevant church or synagogue. If you refuse the German religious tax, you will be denied access to church schools or day care centers, and you can even be denied communion or burial services.
The problem with this arrangement is that many religious groups do not register as public corporations, and groups such as Islam or the Church of Christ don’t have a national church system. The founder of a liberal mosque in Berlin, Seyran Ates, wants to establish a “democratic Islamic Council” but conservative Muslims want no part of such an idea. Groups like the Church of Christ which do not have a national board or assembly are opposed to any solution on very much the same idea.
The German religious tax is not biblical. Jesus told His followers to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:21). However, the Bible also makes giving a personal decision that is between the giver and God (2 Corinthians 9:7). When those guidelines are not followed, the chaos that results will eventually destroy religious freedom.
–John N. Clayton © 2019