Until recently it has been assumed that charities established for the advancement of religion are for the public benefit. However, the Charities Act 2006 removed this legal presumption; and it is now up to the Charity Commission to advise and decide on what is and what is not in the ‘public benefit’.
To complicate matters ‘public benefit’ is not defined in the Charities Act 2006, so Christian charities will have to prove their ‘public benefit’ to the Commission.
The Commission has already indicated it will interpret ‘public benefit’ in the light of ‘modern conditions’. This could conceivably mean that Christian charities promoting evangelism or traditional Christian teaching on family and life issues could be deprived of their charitable status in law and taxation.