Family advocacy can be political and charitable, rules New Zealand judge

first_imgMercatorNet 1 July 2015A New Zealand organisation promoting the natural family has won a decision from the country’s High Court that its political activities do not necessarily disqualify it as a charity.Justice Collins ruled that Family First NZ’s advocacy of the traditional family makes it similar to “organisations that have advocated for the ‘mental and moral improvement’ of society” – that is, one of the classic types of charitable activity.Family First was granted charitable status by the then Charities Commission in May 2007 but was served notice of deregistration by the Charities Board, which replaced the commission, in September 2012 during the run-up to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in April 2013.In fact, the Charities Board confirmed its decision to deregister Family First just two days before the gay marriage law was passed. The juxtaposition of events made it very clear that the family group’s public campaign to preserve traditional marriage was the deciding factor in the Board’s decision.Today’s decision from the Supreme Court allows an appeal by FFNZ against its deregistration, and orders the Charities Board to reconsider its move against the group. It follows a similar appeal won by Greenpeace NZ last August after the Charities Board ruled its purposes, like those of the family advocates, primarily “political” rather than “charitable”.However, a majority of the Supreme Court in the Greenpeace case ruled that an organisation with charitable purposes could also have political purposes, depending on the objectives being advocated and the means used to promote those objectives.Greenpeace and Family First make unusual bedfellows but taken together their appeals amount to a breakthrough for many charitable groups, as FFNZ national director Bob McCoskrie pointed out:“This decision is a victory for the many charitable groups – both registered, deregistered and wanting to be registered – who advocate for their causes, beliefs, and supporters and often have to engage in political activity, not always through choice but through necessity. It is a victory for open robust debate on issues that affect families.”(Among the currently registered are groups that opposed FFNZ during the gay marriage debate – without incurring the displeasure of the Charities Board.)In his decision Justice Collins said that the Charities Board should take into account the Greenpeace ruling – and his own – when deciding FFNZ’s status, and should not be influenced by whether or not board members actually like the family group’s views (as, clearly, they do not):[87] In this respect, I believe there is force to the submissions of Mr McKenzie QC, counsel for Family First. He argued that Family First’s purposes of advocating its conception of the traditional family is analogous to organisations that have advocated for the “mental and moral improvement” of society.[88] In recognising the strength of Mr McKenzie’s submission, I am not suggesting the Charities Board must accept Family First’s purposes are for the benefit of the public when it reconsiders Family First’s case.I am saying, however, that the analogical analysis which the Charities Board must undertake should be informed by examining whether Family First’s activities are objectively directed at promoting the moral improvement of society. This exercise should not be conflated with a subjective assessment of the merits of Family First’s views. 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. Such an approach would be consistent with the obligation on members of the Charities Board to act with honesty, integrity and in good faith.45The refusal of the Charities Board to review their decision against Family First straight after the Greenpeace case seems to indicate something other than good faith.“It is disappointing that it took a Judge to remind the Charities Board to recognise the precedent set in the Greenpeace case. When the Greenpeace case was decided, we asked the Charities Board to reconsider their decision to deregister us, but they refused to. This has cost both Family First and the taxpayer thousands of dollars in legal fees,” says Mr McCoskrie.“When a group who promotes the natural family as a fundamental social unit is deemed of ‘no public benefit’, you know a country is in deep trouble. The original decision to deregister Family First during the recent marriage debate was a highly politicised one.” http://www.mercatornet.com/conjugality/view/family-advocacy-can-be-political-and-charitable-rules-new-zealand-jud/16438last_img read more

Heisler: LeBron James hand-delivers stars as Lakers keep flopping about

first_img Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Here’s how deftly LeBron James reached in his thumb and pulled out a plum.With two years on his contract in New Orleans, Anthony Davis hired LeBron’s agent, moved up his timetable and asked to be traded to the Lakers … even as they sank out of sight, despite Magic Johnson fleeing and the front office becoming a league-wide joke … culminating in last week’s agreement that will bring A.D. here.This looked like tampering with a capital T. The NBA just couldn’t prove it.If the league imposes draconian fines for mere flirting, this went far beyond Magic joking about going “wink wink” at Paul George on Jimmy Kimmel’s show or GM Rob Pelinka emailing George’s agent, for which the league fined the Lakers $500,000. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions I have tried to offer a defense for Pelinka, who was pilloried by the press after being gored by Magic. Nevertheless, even before this episode, it was clear enough that if they needed a scapegoat next season, it would be Rob.Of course, there’s a better reason to go outside to find the best managerial talent, and that’s to professionalize the Lakers basketball operation, which is now running at a dangerously dysfunctional level.Happily for the Lakers, they have two more guaranteed seasons with James, who’s now out wooing more stars.Now to see what the organization is capable of, if anything.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Brutally candid as this was, it left Paul out front to take the heat, and James free to keep pulling the strings behind the curtain.Get it? This was a LeBron production with the Lakers reduced to sitting back and waiting to see how it turned out.James had long tried to bring stars to ugly duckling Cleveland or capped-out Miami with little success. Now, even in the Lakers’ downtrodden state, he can wheel and deal as never before. With keen awareness of what he can get away with, the NBA’s most scrutinized player does it in plain sight.Last December, amid speculation that Davis was about to ask the Pelicans to trade him, LeBron dared to discuss it, saying it would be “amazing” to play alongside A.D.Amid the ensuing furor, the teams met in Staples Center a few days later … after which James took Davis out to dinner, all but confirming that this was happening.Outgoing, gregarious and popular among his peers, LeBron does this effortlessly, a new experience for the Lakers after years with lone wolf Kobe Bryant.Only in Kobe’s later, mellower years was he close enough to any star to recruit him, as he tried to do with Carmelo Anthony in 2014. Melo called him a surrogate big brother, but still re-signed in New York.Now the Lakers have the king of the recruiters … thankfully for them, since all else is chaos.Even with James hand-delivering Davis and reportedly recruiting Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler, the Lakers’ front office flopped around like a fish on a dock.The master plan all season was to trade for A.D., moving enough salary to leave a maximum slot of $32 million for an elite free agent.Unfortunately for the Lakers, when the deal went down, they neglected to include rookies Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones, off-loading another $5 million in salary … or account for the cost of A.D.’s trade bonus … slashing their cap space to $24 million.Insiders think it’s fixable with Pelinka now in talks with Atlanta, trying to give the rookies away or pay the Hawks to take them … but it wouldn’t have been necessary if they had thought it through.NBA teams are expected to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the Byzantine language of the salary cap – not behind it, trying to fix mistakes.Instead, the Lakers didn’t realize the problem until agreeing to the deal for A.D. They then went back to ask the Pelicans to restructure the deal but were turned down.In a sad irony for the Lakers, Pelinka was hired to be Johnson’s salary-cap guy as well as overseeing all the detail work, with Magic making only occasional appearances while also running his business empire. For a team with their stature … or, at least, their tradition … last week’s bumbling was unheard-of incompetence.“The Clippers have five or six really smart people in the front office who do nothing but think of this stuff,” said Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, an actual salary-cap expert.“The Lakers have more of a one-man show with Pelinka.”This is just the latest in their string of embarrassments, starting when Johnson fled … continuing with Jeanie Buss convening a seven-person committee to help Pelinka hire a coach that included marketing officials Linda Rambis and Tim Harris … then lost their top two candidates before settling for twice-fired Frank Vogel.Related Articles AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWhat James did was outright piracy, not only wooing A.D. away from the Pelicans but undercutting their trade leverage.Davis first gave the Pelicans a list of four teams. When that didn’t do it at midseason, he cut it to the Lakers and Knicks.The Knicks were presumably there only in the event they landed Kevin Durant and Irving. With little to offer, there were only perfunctory trade talks.Then there was Boston, which didn’t make the list but had keen interest and by far the most to offer with three first-round picks, a future Memphis pick in 2020 or 2021 and highly regarded young players such as Jayson Tatum.This was so worrisome to LeBron & Co., Paul went public to warn the Celtics off, telling Sports Illustrated, “They can trade for him but it will be for one year.” How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years last_img read more

Commemorating the International Day for Tolerance

first_imgOn November 16th the world community observed the 19th International Day for Tolerance. While we are reminded of the security and human rights implications of intolerance which also take the form of stigma and discrimination.  This day also provides an opportunity to highlight the vital contribution of tolerance and acceptance to achieving important public health objectives and impact, especially focusing on groups living on the margins of many societies, including those communities currently in the grips of the Ebola virus in West Africa.The U.S. Government is proud to partner with the people and government of Liberia to implement President Barack Obama’s ‘whole of government’ approach to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. The United States has been engaged in fighting the Ebola outbreak since the first cases were reported in March and has since deployed almost 2250 U.S. government personnel to West Africa, making this the largest-ever U.S. government response to a global health crisis.Thus far our efforts have helped increase the number of Ebola treatment units (ETU) in the region, increased the number of safe burial teams to 65, which are now working across every county in Liberia to safely and respectfully remove and bury bodies and we have expanded the pipeline of medical equipment and supplies in the region, airlifting more than 250 tons of personal protective equipment, infrared thermometers and chlorine. The United States has deployed and commenced operation of mobile Ebola testing labs in Liberia, reducing the time needed to determine if a patient has Ebola from several days to just a few hours.  Additionally, the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU) this week received the first two health care workers who are infected with the Ebola virus, both Liberian.But while the whole of the United States Government is working with the Government of Liberia and many other partners to contain the threat of Ebola, the tolerance that Liberians extend to each other will be critical to continued success in diagnosing, containing, and treating Ebola patients, and moving Liberia towards a post-Ebola era.Tolerance requires treating everyone, even those who are different, with dignity and respect. In the case of Ebola, this challenge will be a global one.   Tolerance is needed for Ebola survivors, as well as health care workers treating Ebola patients and members of burial teams, many of whom have been ostracized by their families and communities. Countries whose citizens have so generously donated their time and talent working as clinicians, medical volunteers, engineers and aid workers, must work to combat the view that these healthy individuals are tainted for simply having worked in proximity, or even visited a nation touched by Ebola.Let us reaffirm that all individuals, whether they are Ebola patients, survivors, clinicians, lab specialists, nurses, doctors, burial teams, family members or aid workers should be free from the stigma that this, or any other disease, might carry with it, and instead should be treated with dignity and respect.I call on all our partners in the shared mission to fight the spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia to practice tolerance in all aspects of service delivery.  The goal of an Ebola-free Liberia will remain unfulfilled until every Liberian feels that he or she will be treated with tolerance and respect when seeking services to preserve his/her health if already infected, to protect themselves from becoming infected or to provide assistance and care to those seeking treatment.Join me in urging everyone to practice tolerance and respect of others not just to mark the International Day of Tolerance but every day of the year so that we may work together for the goal we all hope for:  a post-Ebola Liberia that is prosperous, vibrant and healthy.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more