Moses is back. His eyes look furious, his face is distorted in anger, he raises his hand in admonition. In front of the cathedral in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, he demands passersby to follow the eleventh commandment: “Thou shalt pay for your church congress yourselves,” the board next to him reads.
The bizarre performance of the three-meters-tall cardboard Moses last week in Münster was staged by the activist group “11th commandment.” The protesters are an alliance between the International League of Non-Religious and Atheists and the humanist Giordano Bruno Foundation. Their goal is to make sure that the Katholikentag, a massive Catholic congress scheduled for 2018, will not be subsidized by the city of Münster.
The oversized Moses had already made appearances at the cathedrals in Regensburg, Bavaria, and Leipzig in Saxony, protesting the subsidized religious festivals there too. David Farago, initiator of the campaign, said, “We feel treated unfairly because our tax money is used to pay for a Christian festival.”
The organizer of the congress, the Central Committee of German Catholics, is asking for €1.5 million from state coffers. Conflict over this subsidy has been lingering for months. Many take issue with the deeply indebted Münster forking out millions, while the Catholic Church sits on a fortune worth billions of euros.