Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Charity for the religious

New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists put out a press release in the last week (Thanks to Des of the New Zealand Brights Local Constituency for alerting me to it) disucssing the recent budget's removal of the tax rebate cap for charitable donations.

The issue is not one of charitable donations are bad as of course they are not but rather that the standards for what makes a charity are somewhat interesting. Here is what Elizabeth McKenzie, President of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists had to say:

[W]e support any measure that sees more money being passed into the hands of genuine charitable organisations that provide a tangible benefit for society. However we are concerned that an archaic definition in New Zealand’s charity legislation means that the promotion of religion alone is regarded as a charitable activity.
So the issue is what makes something charitable. It turns out that in New Zealand being a church is enough. All you need to do is ave the intent of spreading your religion.

However there is an ugly side to that in that Des reports that an attempt to create a Humanist trust, he was not allowed to have part of the trusts mission being to promote humanism.

Hmmm that smacks of a double standard, but I will be looking further into this as I find the time.


steppen wolf said...


Unless I am totally wrong, you will be the next host of the Skeptics' Circle. I could not find your contact info, so I hope you do not mind me leaving my submission link here....

warning: this may seriously affect your appetite

nice basic physics posts, by the way - I do need some heavy refresher on that!