Religion: Cutting the Church's Cut

West Germans beset by inflation have found a novel remedy. At the rate of about 4,800 a week, they are going down to their courthouses to renounce Christianity. They need only endure some red tape, pay a modest fee and in effect excommunicate themselves to escape a surcharge of up to 10% on the income taxes of church members.

Most West European nations have given religion some help since the Middle Ages, when a tenth of a farmer's produce was handed over to the church. But in modern times, West Germany's generosity seems almost spectacular. The Weimar constitution fixed the right of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!