While we cherish our separation of church and state (and revile our separation of church and culture), it's important to understand the context in which it came about.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), which is Germany's NYT, has this article, with a rough Google Translate here, describing the 9% tax levied by the government against Roman Catholics and Protestants. This is a check box on the form you sign when registering at the local Rathaus (city hall, but "rat house" captures it beautifully and correctly).
Strangely enough, church affiliation and attendance in Germany is cratering. 130,000 exited the Protestant church in 2007 for example. 121,155 Catholics followed suit in 2008. Those large, beautiful churches echo mightily in their emptiness.
As a staunchly sectarian American, the concept of Caesar propping up that which is God's is just bizarre. But then, even the most exquisite brick collection is exactly that. The Church existed long before these European structures, and shall surely outlast them, as long as the candle burns.
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