Christian charity facing banishment by government regulators

By Bob Unruh

New Zealand

New Zealand

A Christian charity in New Zealand right now is fighting a battle more and more Christians may come to encounter as LGBT activists expand their influence around the globe – a government decision its belief in biblical marriage “cannot be determined to be for the public benefit.”

While Christian and conservative organizations in the United States faced harassment and targeting under the administration of Barack Obama, with deliberate delays in regulatory approval so they could operate, charities in New Zealand operate under a different legal structure.

There, they must be authorized by regulators, the government’s New Zealand Charities Board, or they simply are not allowed to operate. That is, without that approval they are not allowed to collect donations at all.

Officials at the Barnabas Fund, which works on behalf of persecuted Christians worldwide, explained when the first Charities Commission was set up in the United Kingdom, which was integral in establishing governments in New Zealand and Australia, in 1853, “its role was very simple – to ensure that when people gave money to a charity, that money was used for the purpose for which it was given.”

Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea have collaborated to create “Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians,” which confirms that groups like Pew Research, Newsweek and The Economist also identify Christians as “the world’s most widely persecuted religious group.”

“In those days everyone understood what a charitable purpose was – it was things like helping the poor, caring for the sick or spreading the Gospel. In fact in the nineteenth century more than three-quarters of all charities had a specifically Christian foundation,” the report said.

“However, in the last two decades laws have been passed in Australia, NZ and the UK which require charities to prove they provide a ‘public benefit.’ This has created a dangerous situation in all three countries where unelected individual civil servants at the charity regulator can effectively decide on their own what is/is not allowed to be a charity (and therefore allowed to collect donations).”

It’s the Family First NZ organization that has been fighting the attacks from the regulators.

It recently lodged a followup appeal with the Wellington High Court regarding the regulators attempts to shut it down.

“Family First has also successfully applied for an order that the board be restrained from deregistering Family First until the appeal is heard,” the group reported.

“This is simply a repeat of 2015 when the Charities Board failed to have us deregistered,” the charity explained online. “The High Court allowed our appeal but directed the board to deal with it again having regard to the decision of the court. The board has, in effect, repeated its earlier decision.

“Family First is going back to the same court to challenge again the belief of the Trust Board that our views about marriage and the traditional family ‘cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable,” said Family First National Director Bob McCoskrie.

The court earlier had warned the board members that they may personally disagree with the views of Family First, “But at the same time recognize there is a legitimate analogy between its role and those organizations that have been recognized as charities.”

McCoskrie explained the regulators are “confusing the distinction between purposes and activities and seem to be straining to find a basis to deregister Family First – the net effect of their whole approach is just to waste limited charitable and government resources involving taxpayer money.”

Barnabus Fund said New Zealand’s 2005 Charities Act “specifically includes ‘the advancement of religion’ as a ‘charitable act.’ So, what appears to be happening is that the NZ Charities Board are seeking to go beyond the law and impose their board members’ own partisan ideological beliefs on a Christian charity – and shut it down if it will not comply.”

“This amounts to a massive attack on freedom of religion – and freedom generally. Charity regulators exist to ensure there is financial probity in the multiplicity of voluntary organisations that exist in society. For a charity regulator to think it can decide on partisan ideological grounds which of those should actually be allowed to exist is an attack on the very basis of civil society itself,” the organization concluded.

Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea have collaborated to create “Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians,” which confirms that groups like Pew Research, Newsweek and The Economist also identify Christians as “the world’s most widely persecuted religious group.”

Source:: World Net Daily Faith

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