- Jun 4, 2020
World War I and its aftermath changed the map of Europe, but also dismantled the notion of the “state church” in a way that forced the Catholic Church to discover again the authentic meaning of mission, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Religious denominations in the United States have been largely exempt from paying taxes, but some cracks are beginning to show.
FEMA grants are available to religiously affiliated schools, health care providers and nursing homes. And FEMA also can provide money to repair church-run facilities that function like community centers, but only if less than half the space or use is for religious purposes. Now the federal disaster agency is rethinking its policy after religious organizations sued, saying they are being discriminated against based solely on their faith.
A housing benefit that saves clergy $800 million a year in taxes has been deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge. Under the law, housing allowances paid as part of clergy salary can be subtracted from their taxable income. Religious freedom advocates fear the ruling could force many churches in poor areas to close.
Poland’s Law and Justice party came to power in 2015 thanks in part to the support of the Catholic Church. Parish priests in small towns and villages used their sermons to help the party in its campaign by praising the values it advocated. Now the bishops are questioning some of the government’s policies, especially its view towards immigrants and a proposed overhaul of the judicial system.
24 years ago, President Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a White House ceremony attended by Republican and Democratic members of Congress and numerous religious leaders in a sign of unity. But within a decade, such unity began to fragment as people coalesced around divergent views with little tolerance for opposing opinions on religion or politics.