Ep 59: The advancement of religion

Posted: Tue, 19th Oct 2021

Ep 59: The advancement of religion

Should organisations be entitled to tax breaks and other privileges solely on the basis that they 'advance religion'?

Under the Charities Act 2011, any organisation can register as a charity if one of its purposes – or even its only purpose – is 'the advancement of religion'. But should this be enough to entitle an organisation to public funding, along with the reputational boost that comes from being a charity? What counts as a 'religion' anyway, and why does it exclude non-religious worldviews such as humanism? And what happens if the ideology espoused by that religion conflicts with widely shared values, or the law?

In this episode, Emma Park discusses these questions with Megan Manson, Head of Policy and Research at the National Secular Society, and co-author of the 2019 report, For the public benefit? The case for removing 'the advancement of religion' as a charitable purpose.

Megan also gives an update on charities recently brought to light by the NSS whose only or main charitable purpose is the advancement of religion. Some of these have openly advocated unpalatable views, from extremism and jihad to misogyny to gay conversion therapy.

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Podcast produced by Emma Park for the National Secular Society (2021). All rights reserved.

Should organisations be entitled to charitable status solely because they 'advance religion'? And what counts as a 'religion' anyway? @DrEmmaPark speaks to Megan Manson.
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