We gripe about church/state separation in America, but in Italy, a *lot* of taxpayer money goes toward funding the Catholic Church. The Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR) is trying to raise the consciousness of other Italians on this matter.
They’re putting up the following billboard in the cities of Genoa (today) and Venice (tomorrow):
That roughly translates to: “With 6 billion Euro per year, Italy could work miracles.”
“Some of the budget cuts proposed by the Italian government were blocked by obstructionism from some castes”, Raffaele Carcano, secretary of UAAR, observes, “but here we are talking about an uber-caste so untouchable that not even Monti has the courage to question its privileges.” And it is not just a problem of ICI (the tax on buildings, which is not payed by Church’s hotels, clinics, … as long as they contain a chapel), as one would suppose by reading the newspapers: “Shall we talk about the 1.5 billion Euro that pays the teachers of religion, the billion Euro that goes into the ‘Otto per mille’, the 700 million Euros financing Catholic schools and universities?”, asks UAAR, with the numbers ready…
… Carcano continues: “it is incredible that the Catholic Church, the largest Italian real estate owner, it not asked to make the sacrifices that the economic situation calls for”. With six billions Italy could not only reduce its public debt, but also invest in research and education, as UAAR suggests in its poster.
Religions should be financed by their followers, not through taxpayer money that could be going to the public as a whole.