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New rules not fair to churches

State interference in church affairs is not a new problem. The rulers of their day wanted to dictate the worship to be used in churches.

Churches are now to be subject to the newly-appointed Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, in respect of retaining their charitable status.

This causes us concern on a number of points.

One of these is that public opinion will have a role in deciding whether an organisation deserves charity status.

Public opinion is a shifting thing. The status of churches should not be called into question because their foundational doctrines have fallen out of favour with a numerical majority.

We have asked the Charity Commission to remove this 'popularity test' from its revised and final guidance.


Committee on Public Morals, Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland

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