Advancement of religion should not be a charitable purpose

The Herald reports:

Food giant Sanitarium appears to be safe from an ongoing crackdown on charities that has some sporting bodies worried they may lose their charitable status.

The maker of Weet-Bix and Marmite has a controversial exemption from paying on its business earnings as a result of its ownership by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in New Zealand, a registered charity. …

The Internal spokesman said no sector, sporting or otherwise, was being specifically targeted, but organisations that “no longer meet a charitable purpose” or fail to comply with their obligations will be deregistered.

There were no issues with Sanitarium’s registration, the spokesman said, as “advancement of religion” was considered a charitable purpose under the Charities Act.

That rationale harks back to archaic British law, which some critics argue is no longer relevant in a secular, 21st century democracy.

It isn’t. You should not get exempt status because you promote belief in a supreme being, or multiple supreme beings.

The relief of poverty, widespread community benefit and advancement of education are also considered charitable purposes under the Charities Act.

Many churches do worthy things which do help the poor and benefit the community. And they may qualify for charitable status on the basis of their activities. But they should not qualify because they promote religion.

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