New Zealand anti-gay group to be de-registered as a charity.

New Zealand has some pretty sensible laws about which groups get to call themselves charities.

Under the Charities Act, registered charities can undertake political activities, such as supporting or opposing legislation in its area of activity, but not as its main purpose.

Charities must be set up wholly and exclusively for charitable purpose and public benefit.

Makes sense.  If you’re going to be a charity, you should actually have to focus on, y’know, charity.

Well, the head of a group called Family First (anytime you see a conservative group use the word “family”, you can bet their primary goal will be to stop the formation of families) has announced that Family First will be de-registered as a charity.

National director of Family First Bob McCoskrie said the group has received notification the Charities Commission intends to deregister the organisation.

He said the decision was highly politicised and showed groups that think differently to the politically correct view will be targeted.

“The Commission argues that Family First’s efforts to represent the voice of 80 per cent-plus of families on the anti-smacking law or half of New Zealanders on attempts to redefine marriage, for example, have no ‘public benefit’, and that it is in the ‘public interest’ for Family First to be deregistered.”

I like it.  Charities should focus on alleviating the suffering of their fellow human beings, not creating it through discriminatory legislation.  If you want to be called a charity, your main purpose cannot be fucking with other people’s lives.

And with that, I’m going down some Nyquil straight from the bottle like a baller, go back to nursing my fever, and go back to sleep.  Bring me orange juice.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    Family First, huh? I guess they are for families, as long as those families match their highly specific criteria.

  • Cylon

    What’s an anti-smacking law? Sounds kinky.

    • Ryan Jean

      It’s a law that removes a “reasonable force” defense in cases of assault from parents and guardians attempting to discipline their children by hitting them. It is usually used to address blatant child abuse, as well as punishments generally considered harsh and excessive, such as hitting a child with a belt or other objects, but can (at least in theory) be used against parents doing milder punishments. The “anti-smacking” moniker was used by opponents of the law, claiming that it would criminalize even a light slap when a parent is trying to stop immediate misbehavior, although I’m unfamiliar with any cases to support it being used to such a degree. I know in the US some states and counties have similar laws, which have sometimes made it criminal to spank a child. Generally, the law wasn’t well liked by authoritarians who believe they can beat their children if they so desire…

      • Andrew Kohler

        It is telling, but hardly surprising, that this “family” group defends corporal punishment. The California Family Council, for example, is a great defender or “parental authority,” which I’m guessing means paternal authority most of the time. Please forgive me for going Godwin’s Law here [and no, I'm not saying that these "family" groups are going to invade Poland and commit genocide], but I recommend a book by the psychiatrist Bertram Schaffner called Fatherland (unjustly out of print, but it should be available at libraries). Schaffner, incidentally a gay man who was a great advocate for the LGBT community, was involved in the denazification process following WWII. He pointed to authoritarian parenting as a major cause in the rise of Nazism, and the 40 questions that applicants for licenses to participate in public cultural life (as musicians, circus managers, journalists, publishers, etc.) had questions about mothers expressing affection through hugging and kissing and intervening in the case of a father punishing a son. There were also questions about equality for women.

  • Matthew Ostergren

    It’s always really nice to be reminded that while social progress and evolution can be slow it is still happening.

  • Emmet

    Strange thing is, the group has been audited twice before and passed. Nothing’s changed in the legislation, and nothing’s changed in the way the group goes about its business, so why the threat of deregistration now? No-one seems to be able to say.

    Now that marriage has been (recently) redefined in NZ law to include same-sex couples, does the agency responsible for charities feel that the political climate will support their push to hinder a Christian charity by revoking their charitable status?

    • Emmet

      Trying to find the source for that “audited twice” bit – can’t find it right now. There is certainly some question that it may have been FF’s lobbying against the recent Marriage Act Amendment that’s led to the recent decision .

      On that, here’s an article that has the Green Party (far left; members voted unanimously in support of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples) supporting Family First’s right to advocate in their field: “Advocacy in charities is where we also keep our democracy. Not-for-profits and charitable organisations have a real role in advocating for a better society, and if they are unable to do that then we lose a voice.”

  • Gehennah

    I agree completely, I hope that the US will soon follow suit with doing this. And while they are at it revoke Westboro Baptist Church’s tax free status for the same reason.