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Originally, protestantism became state-supported because the sovereigns of Northern Europe gave the priests an offer they couldn't refuse: We'll confiscate your land, but we'll hire you out of the public purse if you don't make too much fuss about it.

After the institution was established, seeking to revoke the special status of the church would risk being seen as not supporting the Christian faith, something that only really became socially acceptable in the 20th century. So it persisted.

Today, it's useful for the sovereign to have the priests on its payroll. Keeps them from making trouble and sticking their noses in affairs that really aren't any of their business. The priests like it too, because it means they don't have to actually convince people to come to church in order to get paid. The laity like it because it's a reassuring, stable institution.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 08:04:31 AM EST
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