Wednesday, January 16, 2008

There goes my blood pressure

Reason #235 to consider just staying in Germany instead of going back:

People who actually wish that the United States government would be affiliated with their preferred religion. I guess people are so far removed now from the idea of being persecuted for their religion that they can't see the potential dangers of mixing government and religion not only for those whose religions they don't like, but for themselves.

I got my hackles up over an email forward this morning asserting that separation of church and state is not in the Constitution - because that exact phrase is not in the Constitution. Mmm, fun with semantics....and fun with people who just eat up whatever is forwarded to them.

"Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?" - Sandra Day O'Connor

"When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some." - Harry A. Blackmun

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute--where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote--where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference--and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him." - John F. Kennedy

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." - Thomas Jefferson

"Practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States." - James Madison

What's funny is that Germany does not have something like this. For instance, to be a member of a particular church, you must declare it and pay a tax to attend that church! Enjoy what you have, Americans! Don't try to get rid of it!


  1. man i could get in some real fist fights over this!!!!! especially since just yesterday i was reading about our man chuckabee -- maybe you saw what i posted in facebook about his grand ideas about the constitution?!

    i also nearly gave myself a heart attack yesterday freaking out - again - over holier than thou pharmacists having the right to turn away women if they don't want to give them plan b or birth control. thankfully there's a bill being proposed this leg. session here in WA wherein if a PHARMACY doesn't find some way to fill ever prescription it's brought, it loses its license to be a pharmacy.

  2. I don't think I'm wild about the German system either (based on very little research on wiki - so correct me if I'm wrong). It sounds like church members list their church on their tax forms, and that churches can demand tax records of their parishoners (to levy fees if they chose not to collect the church tax). Although there is no official religion, I wouldn't want to register my religion with the government this way.

  3. Ahh... sorry - I missed the word 'not' in the last paragraph of your post.

  4. I could be wrong, but I don't think you can just "declare" your membership to a church in Germany. The Amt that takes care of the Lohnsteuerkarte (tax card where your church membership is also noted) will ask to see proof of your baptism if you want to sign up for xxx-Kirche. At least for German citizens.

    Having said that, I have a British friend who, when she signed up at the Steueramt, was asked "which church?" and she said "Church of England" and before she knew it she was paying taxes for die evangelische Kirche. So maybe for foreigners, who probably won't have proof of baptism, they take your word for it.

    When a German is baptized they have to turn in a birth certificate, and then the baptism is reported back to the Einwohnermeldeamt.

  5. Yeah, they do take your word for it when it comes to foreigners and religion in Germany. I made the mistake of ticking off the "evangelisch" box on my Anmeldeformular (I was baptised Anglican but am not religous at all and don't practice the faith) and promptly had to pay church tax. When we moved to a new town, I clued in and ticked the "konfessionslos" box and that was the end of that.

  6. Sara: Yeah, I saw the constitution stuff. Didn't Romney make some similar comments too?

    Mary: You're right, the German system is not cool...but is that what many Americans would prefer to what we have now??

    Martina/Christina: Proof too, eh? Haha, that makes it even worse than just declaring one.


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