Stuff is reporting that a Judge has been critical of the pressure churches place on Pacific Islanders to donate. In one case a middle aged woman stole $27,000 in order to donate to the church and send back to her family.

The Latter Day Saints require that their members give 10% of their gross income to the church. If these donations expectations are not met they are not given the right to enter the LDS temple, which is where members are ‘sealed’ in marriage. The LDS are far from the only religious organisation to require donations. The church involved in the Stuff story was not identified.

Money donated to churches is usually tax deductible as a religious organisation can be a registered charity even if they do no other charitable activity besides promoting their religion. The religious organisations themselves are also not required to pay tax and have many other benefits such as rates relief.