When Is the Advancement of Religion Not a Charitable Purpose?
Author(s): Pauline Ridge
This article addresses the question of why religious groups receive charitable status in relation to religious activities by considering when the current law does not grant charitable status to purposes that advance religion. The jurisdictional focus is upon Australian law, with some reference to other jurisdictions whose law also derives from the English common law of charity. After an overview of the charity law landscape in Australia, the article explains and critically evaluates the grounds upon which charitable status may be refused to purposes that advance religion. The article then considers two considerations that have emerged in twenty first century charity law and that are relevant to the charitable status of religious groups. These concern human rights, particularly the right to freedom of religion, and the use of charity law to regulate religious activity.