No churches should be tax free, not just Destiny

The Herald reports:

A petition against Destiny Church’s tax-free status is gaining momentum as Brian Tamaki hits back over the backlash to his homophobic sermon blaming gays, sinners and murderers for earthquakes.

The petition, on, sprung up after the self-appointed Bishop’s Sunday sermon in which he told his congregation the earth “convulses under the weight of certain human sin”.

The petition, set up by Aaron Smithson with a single signature, has now attracted more than 15,000 supporters.

“With the recent news from the self-appointed “Bishop” Brian Tamaki that gays were to blame for the earthquake in Kaikoura, I call upon John Key and the New Zealand Government to classify Destiny Church as a hate group and strip them of their tax free status,” Smithson said on

Cabinet Ministers should not decide who qualifies as a religion or charity based on public statements. That is a job for officials and/or the courts.

But my view is that no religion should have special tax status under the law. A religious group should be treated the same as an other NGO or aspiring charity. If they qualifies as charitable then they should gain the tax benefits of being a charity but there shouldn’t be special extra legislative benefits such as tax free land.

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