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NEWS: Revenue Canada scrutinizes Mennonite magazine’s charitable status

Dick Benner

Dick Benner

CBC reports, “A Mennonite church magazine has been told by the Canada Revenue Agency to be careful about the kind of political articles and editorials it publishes. In a ‘reminder’ letter sent to Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service earlier this year, the federal agency says engaging in ‘partisan political activities’ could jeopardize the organization’s charitable status.”

“Canadian Mennonite is registered as a charity so it can receive operating funds from Mennonite Church Canada and its area churches, as well as provide tax receipts to donors. ‘It has come to our attention that recent issues of the Organization’s monthly periodical, entitled Canadian Mennonite, have contained editorials and/or articles that appear to promote opposition to a political party, or to candidates for public office,’ the letter, dated July 23, states in part.”

“In one editorial, written before the May 2011 federal election, Canadian Mennonite editor and publisher Dick Benner urged readers to cast their votes based on the Mennonite beliefs of pacifism, social justice and environmentalism. …In an editorial written shortly after the election, Benner commented on the killing of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. military and ‘the takeover by a militaristic Conservative majority government’ in Canada. …Benner told CBC News he was shocked to get the warning from the agency. …Benner said Christian Mennonite will obey the law, but he added that staff are seeking advice about what the Canada Revenue Agency’s warning could mean for future publications.”

To read the full article, go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/11/08/mb-mennonite-magazine-canada-revenue-politics.html.