Berlin/Excerpts from Earthtimes: "It's not simply that fewer people are going to religious services - that has been evident for years - but more and more are leaving the church to avoid paying church tax.
"Since the early 19th century, Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany have enjoyed the constitutional right to levy taxes - a privilege that once helped them become relatively wealthy.
"But now, with tax revenues tumbling, churches are hard pressed to finance their not inconsiderable number of schools, kindergartens and social programmes as well as missionary work in Africa, Asia and Latin America."
"Whereas in 1990 the two churches boasted 28 million members, today the figure is less than 22 million, with the Catholic Read More...
GERMANY TREBLES THE NUMBER OF STATE DAYCARES --WHILE REVEALING DISGUST TOWARD MOTHERHOOD AND REARING CHILDREN AT HOME
Trebling the number of nurseries is supposed to...reverse a fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman - one of the lowest in Europe after Spain (1.3) and Poland (1.2), who scrape the bottom of the 2005 Eurostat survey. The French and Irish lead the field with 1.9 and over. 30% of married couples in Germany have no children...which is the highest percentage in the world.
So-called Super-mom, Ursula von der Leyen, Merkel's minister for family and youth, is a big proponent of the legislation. Ms von der Leyen is the mother of seven children--but she apparently has no problem handing her children over to the government to be raised while she pursues more important matters like the passage of nationalized daycare.
When an outgoing conservative minister, Edmund Stoiber, proposed that families where the mother stays at home receive economic incentives in the amount of 150 Euros monthly --Ursula the super-mom had this to say:
'This would only exacerbate the vicious circle in which children are confined to home, deprived of early training, linguistic improvement, exercise, and limits on television viewing,' said von der Leyen, vehemently criticising this suggestion in Die Welt at the end of July. 'Just so that their parents can add another 150
The birthrate in Germany fell again in 2006 to an average of 1.33 children, giving the country one of Europe's lowest birthrates, the national statistics' office said on Monday.
FROM EARTHTIMES: "Germany's birth rate is sinking despite many years of tax breaks for parents and plans to expand kindergartens to help working parents, statistics released Monday show. Last year's tally of live births in the nation of 80 million was 672,700, a drop from the previous year by 13,100, the Federal Statistics Office said in Wiesbaden."
"That is the average number of children that would be born to a woman between ages 15 and 49 if she followed the current behaviour in that age group. The rate declined from 1.34 last year.
"The German government has voiced concern over the low birth rate, but opinion remains divided in Germany about how to encourage more births or if it is even possible to alter the birth rate by any government policy.
"Germany has a long-standing tax rebate for children and education is free. The government has agreed to expand kindergarten provision, which would help families where both parents work."