From Iceland — Humanist Groups Oppose New Church Tax Law

Humanist Groups Oppose New Church Tax Law

Published July 2, 2009

The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association (IEHA)and skeptic organization Vantrú have voiced opposition to a new church tax law, with the latter threatening to sue the government.
According to Icelandic law, a portion of people’s taxes go to the national church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, unless they are registered with another religious organization. By the new law, those who are not registered with any religious group would have their church tax go straight into the national treasury – in the old law, it would go to the University of Iceland. The IEHA consider this a violation of human rights and believe that those not registered in any relgious group shouldn’t pay this portion of the tax at all. Part of the reason is that paying into the national treasury is an indirect support of the National Church, which enjoys tax support from the treasury.
Vantrú considers the church tax in itself obsolete, and contends that churchgoers should support the church directly if they want to. The national church has frequently opposed this idea – perhaps in part due to falling church numbers, where less than half of Icelanders consider themselves regular attendees.

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