Freedom of Canadian faith groups to discriminate
restriction of MM Outreach
The Canada Revenue Agency and the regulation of religious charities:
The website of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) states:
"It is a charitable purpose for an organization to teach the religious
tenets, doctrines, practices, or culture associated with a specific faith or
religion. The religious beliefs or practices must not be subversive or
"Teaching ethics or morals is not enough to qualify as a charity in the
advancement-of-religion category. For example, a Web site that states the
opinions of an individual or group about what they think is right or wrong
does not qualify as advancement of religion. There has to
be a spiritual element to the teachings, and the religious activities have
to serve the public good." 2
Conflict between the CRA and MM Outreach:
News of a conflict between MM Outreach (a.k.a. MMO) -- formerly called MacGregor
Ministries -- and the Government of Canada surfaced in 2008-FEB.
MacGregor Ministries was founded by Lorri and Keith MacGregor in 1979. They
are a counter-cult organization. Its
prime focus is on Christian faith groups that it considers to have deviated from
historical Protestant Christianity.
The 2006 Saint Louis Conference on Biblical Discernment described them as:
"... a Canadian countercult discernment
ministry. They have researched, written, and co-produced eight videos
dealing with Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, and the
counterfeit Christianity found in some Churches. They also have written and
produced numerous booklets, tracts, and audio tapes on the subject of the
cults and aberrant Christianity. They have a quarterly magazine, as well as
maintain two web sites with information on the cults. They are now known as
MM Outreach, in partnership with Media Ministries.
The main targets of MM Outreach (MMO) are the
Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons,
Seventh-Day Adventists and other small Christian religious groups. It is
important to realize that the latter groups believe that they are fully
Christian. Most consider themselves to be the true
Christian church, and view evangelical denominations, Roman Catholicism,
mainline Protestant, evangelical discernment/counter-cult groups, etc. to be at
least partly heretical. Thus, exactly which faith group are "aberrant" or
"counterfeit" depends upon one's point of view. Heresy is a relative
Counter-cult groups generally view themselves as conducting an outreach to
help persons that they feel are trapped in Christian cults. The MMO group, for
example, states on their website:
"If you are a member of any of the groups we have listed we will dialogue
with you in total confidentiality. We believe if you have the right
Christ, you are right for all eternity. But if you have the wrong Jesus
Christ then you are wrong for all eternity."
This seems to imply that if a person has beliefs about Jesus that are
significantly different from MM Outreach's beliefs, then she or he will
spend eternity in Hell.
Many groups on the receiving end of such outreach generally view themselves
as being aggressively attacked by counter-cult groups, and would prefer that the
"outreach" be discontinued.
The government allegedly determined that counter-cult ministries do not perform
charitable work in Canada. MMO claims that they were told to change their
message to say that all faith groups are equal. They were to stop publishing a
magazine on religious cults, remove their two web sites from the Internet, and
stop selling certain products. We cannot verify the accuracy of these statements
because privacy laws prevent the CRA from disclosing such information.
MMO has since set up a non-profit organization in the U.S. where the
definition of religious charity is more inclusive. Unfortunately, if a
registered charity in Canada is either de-registered or disbanded, the CRA
requires that all assets -- equipment, stock, savings, library, etc. -- must
either be donated
to another charity or taxed. Their rationale is that assets of charities are held as a
public trust and cannot be used to benefit an individual.
One path forward for MMO might be to affiliate themselves with an existing
registered religious organization and combine their activities. Alternately,
they could simply continue business as a non-profit and non-charitable group.
The Government of Canada is not trying to shut them down, as has been claimed by
some evangelicals; they are only withdrawing their charitable status.
Frank Pastore interviewed MM Outreach personnel on KKLA radio in Los Angeles.
The interview in Real Media and MP3 formats can be downloaded from the
Watchtower News web site. 5
- "Charitable Work and Ethnocultural Groups - Information on registering
as a charity," Canada Revenue Agency, at:
- Ibid, "(iii) The advancement of religion," at"
- "2006 Saint Louis Conference on Biblical Discernment," at:
- MM Outreach's home page is at:
- "Canada Shuts Down Macgregor Ministries!," at:
- "Comments on the Charity Status of MacGregor Ministries," undated, at:
Copyright © 2008 & 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last update: 2009-FEB-24
Author: B.A. Robinson