pay to pray in Germany as collected by the Government
Germany's Roman Catholics are to be denied the right to Holy Communion or religious burial if they stop paying a special church tax.
A German bishops' decree which has just come into force says anyone failing to pay the tax - an extra 8% of their income tax bill - will no longer be considered a Catholic.
The bishops have been alarmed by the number of Catholics leaving the Church.
They say such a step should be seen as a serious act against the community.
All Germans who are officially registered as Catholics, Protestants or Jews pay a religious tax of 8-9% on their annual income tax bill. The levy was introduced in the 19th Century in compensation for the nationalisation of religious property.
"If your tax bill is for 10,000 euros, then 800 euros will go on top of that and your total tax combined will be 10,800 euros," Munich tax accountant Thomas Zitzelsberger told the BBC news website.
(hat tip to Bjarne)
In the US we have, in theory, a demarcation between church and state. Churches are tax free and are sometimes enormously wealthy as a result, but they have to stay out of the political sphere - something that is sometimes violated. It is very important to come down on that and remove tax-free status of the offenders.