Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I’m religious… again.

I was filling out my new employee form at work and noticed a mandatory “Religion” field. I’m far from being a regular when it comes to religion or religious practice but for the sake of the paycheck I wrote in Catholic. Moments after returning my form to human resources I was summoned in their office only to be told that if I didn't put any religion I wouldn't have to pay the “Religion Tax”.

They have such a thing

On an intern budget I thought the few Euros a month I would save would be great to I left the field blank. A few days later I received a letter from the city of Munich including a form which I had to fill out for my residency. Sure enough the “Religion” field had miraculously manifested itself on that form as well. This time I only had the choice between a bunch of abbreviations each representing a religion. I asked my girlfriend if any of the abbreviations stood for “NO RELIGION”. It was then explained to me that if I wanted to get married in a church (“I” being “WE” and “WE” being a common consensus where one has a veto) along with every other services churches might provide (baptism, confirmation, funeral, etc.) I would have to pay the tax.

Death and taxes

The two things in life one can’t avoid… and mail, if you live in Germany. This week I received a welcoming pamphlet, full-sized, colored pamphlet from my church. Now I know where my church taxes are going. I've heard from a few that this tax is sort of bogus and I don’t see how the church would refuse a “lump sum” or some sort of monetary agreement in order to get married in church. More on that in a post-marital blog entry.

St. Anna im Lehel, Munich