This is the request at the heart of the petition launched today on change.org by the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR).
“With the current opaque 8×1000 mechanism, repeatedly condemned by the Court of Auditors, every year the state gives religious institutions a share that exceeds one billion euros”, reads the text of the petition: “Sign if you want more than a billion euros a year to remain to the State and be used for research and health, without paying a euro extra in taxes. Imagine how many ventilators, masks, and protective devices could have been bought with that amount, how many health workers and researchers could have been hired in the past years, how much scientific research could have been carried out».
The petition launched today by UAAR (supported by Associazione Luca Coscioni, AMICA – Associazione Medici Italiani Contraccezione e Aborto, Vita di Donna Onlus, Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti, Consulta di Bioetica Onlus) is not the association’s first initiative in response to the coronavirus emergency. In the past weeks UAAR has already launched through its channels a fundraiser for the National Institute of Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani” in Rome: the initial 10 thousand euros donated by the association has already been almost matched by further donations. Now we are asking the government to allow all citizens to do more without having to reach further into their pockets, by simply choosing “State” on their annual tax returns that they will be asked to fill in in the coming months. If the government publicly agrees to use these funds for health and research, citizen response and participation will certainly be substantial.
In addition to diverting the 8×1000 of state competence of the next tax return to the support of the national health service and scientific research, we are making two specific requests to the President of the Council of Ministers and to the Parliament of the Republic: modify the law governing the institution of 8×1000 so that unexpressed choices remain with the State (€ 790,000,000 in 2019 alone); rethink the entire system, which was born out of the Lateran Pacts which were signed by Mussolini…
“Our requests – explains the secretary of UAAR, Roberto Grendene – start from the emergency situation that we are experiencing but are based on the assumption that the 8×1000 mechanism has no reason to exist in an increasingly secularized country, which officially considers itself a secular state and is headed towards even greater social and economic difficulties. How many problems could be solved with more than a billion euros more per year in the field of natural disasters, school construction, welfare etc.? Instead, what we have witnessed in recent weeks goes in a completely different direction. And it is paradoxical: the Prime Minister goes out of his way to thank the Episcopal Conference (CEI) for what they have promised to do with a small part of the 8×1000 that they receive from the State. Practically Conte thanked the CEI for committing to acts of charity with our money! Instead – concludes Grendene- we are asking the institutions to put the interests of all citizens before the protection of consolidated privileges and to allow the citizens’ voices to be heard by signing the petition “.
You can sign the petition here: www.change.org/8/8000-a-sanita-e-ricerca
Some associations who have already joined and supported the petition promoted by UAAR:
Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti
Vita di Donna
AMICA – Associazione Medici Italiani Contraccezione e Aborto
Consulta di Bioetica onlus
Associazione Luca Coscioni
I Sentinelli di Milano
Fondazione Critica Liberale