Family First, a New Zealand group that promotes and affirms traditional marriage (such as the biblical marriage of one man and one woman) and family (i.e., Christian-like) values, has just lost its status as a charitable organization. According to Family First’s website, the Charities Registration Board repealed their charity status because “it does not advance exclusively charitable purposes” and “the board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable.”
It appears that Family First is being stripped of its charity status simply because of its views on marriage and family (which seem to be based on God’s Word). The board already tried to take away its status in 2013, but Family First appealed to the High Court, and the board was “scolded by Justice Collins who said ‘. . . Members of the Charities Board may personally disagree with the views of Family First, but at the same time recognise there is a legitimate analogy between its role and those organisations that have been recognised as charities.’”
Regarding the board’s newest decision, the national director of Family First NZ stated,
This is a less-than-satisfactory procedure of trudging back to the same court. It seems that the Charities Board are simply hoping for a different judge and a more favourable decision. It is a highly politicised and inconsistent decision by the Board and will have a chilling effect for many not-for-profit charitable groups—both registered, deregistered and wanting to be registered—who advocate for causes, beliefs, and on behalf of their supporters, and often have to engage in advocacy at a political level, not always through choice but through necessity.
The 2005 Charities Act of New Zealand states that a group must have a “charitable purpose.” In its list of organizations that qualify, those that are chartered for the “advancement of education” are mentioned. It can include groups discussing (and advocating for) issues in the culture.
Opponents who claim that Family First is now a political group are just making an excuse to try to de-register the charity and undermine its free speech.
Don’t believe someone who says that Family First suddenly no longer qualifies to be a charity under the Act, for it is merely continuing to educate society about family issues. Opponents who claim that Family First is now a political group are just making an excuse to try to de-register the charity and undermine its free speech.
Attacks on freedom of speech are increasing throughout the western world. Freedom of speech is being restricted for those who have differing beliefs from the currently popular (i.e., unbiblical) views on marriage, gender, and family. We need to continue praying that freedom of speech and religious freedom will be upheld, but we also need to prepare in case it is not. We must continue to be bold for Christ in a world that hates his Word and the truth contained within it.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.