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Old 03.01.2015, 13:27
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Church in Switzerland

Hi. I'd like to know if clerks in Switzerland are paid by the Swiss state for they do, I mean do they have income on monthly or weekly basis, etc? Just to be regular income. Or it's all on a worshipper's basis?
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Old 03.01.2015, 13:53
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Re: Church in Switzerland

Depends very much on the Church and the K/Canton - some Churches are independent and the Vicar/Priest is paid by the Congregation. For the two larger Churches, The Reformed Protestant Church and the Roman Catholic Church- the Vicar/Priest is paid by the Church Funds, not the State.

It used to be obligatory for people in Switzerland to pay a Church tax on top of their other taxes- to pay for this- but this is no longer the case in several C/kantons, including mine, Neuchâtel- which is causing massive problems for the Churches- but also for the community at large as they play such a huge rôle in social welfare, for the handicapped, the elderly, families and single parents, children, in hospitals and Old People's homes, etc. We were able to buy our house due to the Reformed Church having to sell lots of its buildings at that time.

I am not a believer nor a Church goer- but for some reasons got to know our local 'clergy' really well and the work they do- and I can see first hand just how tough it is for them now. They are totally dedicated to the social work that they do- and the people their serve, believers, Church goers or NOT- but are finding that they have to cut down the number of staff, and do more and more with fewer people- and it is extremely difficult for them. Worst is, that when it comes to wedding and funerals- people who do not pay Church tax but expected those services FOR FREE, have the cheek to make requests like 'keep God and religion out of it, please'!

Not sure about other areas, but here where I live, the Church building is run and maintained by the Commune (village council) and therefore the tax payer.

Last edited by Odile; 03.01.2015 at 14:08.
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Old 03.01.2015, 14:12
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Re: Church in Switzerland

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Hi. I'd like to know if clerks in Switzerland are paid by the Swiss state for they do, I mean do they have income on monthly or weekly basis, etc? Just to be regular income. Or it's all on a worshipper's basis?
In the Canton of Zürich, the
> Protestant Church
> Roman Catholic Church
> Methodist Church
> Alt-Katholische Kirche
are STATE CHURCHES, which means that the Reverends and the employees are paid by the Canton (monthly salary as usual in Switzerland)


in Zürich, I expect both the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (Jews) and the Greek Orthodox to join the system. Whomever opposes the church-tax can simply declare RELIGIONSLOS on the tax-form. If you pay the rather minimal church-tax, everything is paid for if you die (burial, transport of relatives from HB to the Location, etc) and you can participate in church aperos and cultural events free. The Muslims will join as well, but have to find a kind of unity of their 20 Muslim communities.
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Old 03.01.2015, 14:42
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Re: Church in Switzerland

I seem to recall that in BL it is the rather more inclusive konfessionslos, rather than religionslos.
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Old 03.01.2015, 18:54
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Re: Church in Switzerland

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I seem to recall that in BL it is the rather more inclusive konfessionslos, rather than religionslos.

it is the same in at leaast Zürich and Schaffhausen


I suspect that the true Innerschwiizer regard whomever is not with the Roman Catholic Church as "religionslos"
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Old 20.01.2015, 19:31
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Re: Church in Switzerland

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Depends very much on the Church and the K/Canton - some Churches are independent and the Vicar/Priest is paid by the Congregation. For the two larger Churches, The Reformed Protestant Church and the Roman Catholic Church- the Vicar/Priest is paid by the Church Funds, not the State.

It used to be obligatory for people in Switzerland to pay a Church tax on top of their other taxes- to pay for this- but this is no longer the case in several C/kantons, including mine, Neuchâtel- which is causing massive problems for the Churches- but also for the community at large as they play such a huge rôle in social welfare, for the handicapped, the elderly, families and single parents, children, in hospitals and Old People's homes, etc. We were able to buy our house due to the Reformed Church having to sell lots of its buildings at that time.

I am not a believer nor a Church goer- but for some reasons got to know our local 'clergy' really well and the work they do- and I can see first hand just how tough it is for them now. They are totally dedicated to the social work that they do- and the people their serve, believers, Church goers or NOT- but are finding that they have to cut down the number of staff, and do more and more with fewer people- and it is extremely difficult for them. Worst is, that when it comes to wedding and funerals- people who do not pay Church tax but expected those services FOR FREE, have the cheek to make requests like 'keep God and religion out of it, please'!

Not sure about other areas, but here where I live, the Church building is run and maintained by the Commune (village council) and therefore the tax payer.
First I wanna thank you for your reply.

Wow I had no idea the church in Switzerland is so generous? Nice to know that. Does church in Switzerland participate in state politics in any form, or Cantonal politics etc?
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Old 20.01.2015, 19:52
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Re: Church in Switzerland

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In the Canton of Zürich, the
> Protestant Church
> Roman Catholic Church
> Methodist Church
> Alt-Katholische Kirche
are STATE CHURCHES, which means that the Reverends and the employees are paid by the Canton (monthly salary as usual in Switzerland)


in Zürich, I expect both the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (Jews) and the Greek Orthodox to join the system. Whomever opposes the church-tax can simply declare RELIGIONSLOS on the tax-form. If you pay the rather minimal church-tax, everything is paid for if you die (burial, transport of relatives from HB to the Location, etc) and you can participate in church aperos and cultural events free. The Muslims will join as well, but have to find a kind of unity of their 20 Muslim communities.
Interesting, even as a non believer I see this as a good deal. Give and get. It's good to see that tax payment is optional. Since it is optional is there any statistics in terms of the number of people who are church tax payers toward non payers at the state or Cantonal level?
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Old 20.01.2015, 21:50
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Re: Church in Switzerland

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Interesting, even as a non believer I see this as a good deal. Give and get. It's good to see that tax payment is optional. Since it is optional is there any statistics in terms of the number of people who are church tax payers toward non payers at the state or Cantonal level?

No, as this is confidential
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Old 20.01.2015, 21:57
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Re: Church in Switzerland

As all things in Switzerland, it changes from Canton/Kanton to C/K. I believe there are statistics for Neuchâtel, will have to check. What we do know for sure, is that since the Law changed for Neuchâtel a few years back, about Church tax being optional- the income of the official Churches has fallen massively- mainly due to big businesses stopping to pay, even more than due to individuals/families not paying.

Tax stopping by some big businesses in the area, like Philip Morris, have been very highly publicized and controversial (for all sorts of reasons- not just financial, but also the 'moral' aspects of Churches accepting money from tobacco sales, etc).
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Old 20.01.2015, 22:10
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Re: Church in Switzerland

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Does church in Switzerland participate in state politics in any form, or Cantonal politics etc?
not directly. but some cantons still don't have an official separation between state and church and there's the inopportune church tax.
The two main christian parties are the traditionally catholic Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland (but it's not religious per se, just christian inspiration, not even only catholic anymore there are also aramaics and protestants, although there are some members who are more hardline) and the Evangelical People's Party of Switzerland, which is protestant and seems more extreme (they started a referendum against gay civil union for example).
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Old 20.01.2015, 22:17
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Re: Church in Switzerland

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Interesting, even as a non believer I see this as a good deal. Give and get. It's good to see that tax payment is optional. Since it is optional is there any statistics in terms of the number of people who are church tax payers toward non payers at the state or Cantonal level?
Link 1

and google search yields many cantonal results.
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Old 20.01.2015, 22:37
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Re: Church in Switzerland

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not directly. but some cantons still don't have an official separation between state and church and there's the inopportune church tax.
The two main christian parties are the traditionally catholic Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland (but it's not religious per se, just christian inspiration, not even only catholic anymore there are also aramaics and protestants, although there are some members who are more hardline) and the Evangelical People's Party of Switzerland, which is protestant and seems more extreme (they started a referendum against gay civil union for example).
Was the referendum against gay civil union sucessfull, did people respond to it?
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Old 20.01.2015, 22:49
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Re: Church in Switzerland

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Was the referendum against gay civil union sucessfull, did people respond to it?
See here and here
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