Helping Christians to make a difference
Dealing with current Issues
Helping Christian families to make a difference
The federal government's proposed anti-discrimination law has attracted more controversy this week. The Salvation Army said they would rather use resources to help the needy than defend itself against claims that they insulted someone!
The Senate Committee received 590 submissions to their Inquiry and is currently holding public hearings before preparing their Report.
- The submissions are all online - to read them click here.
- For our Campaign page on this issue, click here.
This report covers:
- an article by the Australian Human Rights Commission President.
- a 'debate' on ABC's 7.30,
- statements by FOUR law experts who have spoken out against the federal government's proposed anti-discrimination laws saying they will restrict free speech and could be unconstitutional.
Article by AHRC President
Perhaps most interesting is the article by Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs. Although she fully supports the intent of the bill, she admits that the bill does "arguably go too far" when it makes it unlawful to offend or insult others. She suggests that this should be changed.
However, her main reason for proposing the change is to ensure the rest of the 'reforms' are passed!
Read her opinion article: Tweaking the draft bill could preserve core reforms
Debate on the ABC's 7.30 program
In a segment on the ABC's 7.30 program, the government's representative Mark Dreyfus claimed the government was simply 'consolidating' what was already the law. However, the Coalition's George Brandis said there are many NEW aspects - he pointed out that 'insult or offend' relating to ordinary discrimination is new (previously for most attributes, except for sex, it referred to 'unequal treatment' in limited areas) and 'political opinion' is also new - as is the introduction of 'reverse onus'. Then there is the addition of the attributes of sexual orientation and gender identity - but that wasn't mentioned!
Watch the segment / read the transcript - click here.
Law experts oppose Bill
The Australian has reported that Dr Augusto Zimmermann, research dean and Senior Lecturer in Law at Murdoch University, and law lecturer Mrs Lorraine Finlay have pointed out, in their submission to the Inquiry, that the proposed law will severely limit free speech. The inclusion of 'political opinion' with the 'offend or insult' provision creates severe limitations which they say could be unconstitutional.
Read their 12 page submission - click here (then scroll to NO 410).
The article in The Australian begins: "CONCERNS are growing that Labor's draft anti-discrimination laws are unconstitutional, with experts deeming they would breach the implied freedom of political debate and demanding that they be scrapped in their current form. Murdoch University research dean Augusto Zimmermann and law lecturer Lorraine Finlay are the latest academics to flag problems with the bill. They say it would make it unlawful for the first time to discriminate on the basis of "political opinions", which would interfere with freedom of speech and political debate. They also say the legislation violates the "basic principles of the rule of law" and undermines natural justice by reversing the onus of proof so the defendant in any claim has to justify their actions or behaviour....
Read article: Draft laws 'impede political debate'
Earlier this week, The Australian reported that a wide range of people and organisations are concerned about the draconian nature of the law. They said that Professor Nicholas Aroney and Professor Patrick Parkinson, both experts in constitutional law, had expressed concern about the constitutionality of the law.
The article reports that the Salvation Army says it would 'rather use resources to help the needy than defend claims against people who say they've been insulted.'
Nicola Roxon's laws 'can ensnare everyone', The Australian, 21/1/2013.
Read the 11 page submission by Professor Nicholas Aroney and Professor Patrick Parkinson - click here.
This proposed federal anti-discrimination law is one of the key issues we are facing as we begin this year - it is VITAL that we understand WHAT is being proposed and are aware of the IMPLICATIONS and take action to OPPOSE it!
Federal anti-discrimination law & President Obama
We hope you are enjoying your January - with less 'politics' to deal with.
Peter and I have been busy clearing his office (and moving mine) and culling files in our filing cabinets!
At the end of January we will start our new regular email service (more details then!)
In the meantime, those involved in politics DO NOT REST! Here are just two examples...
Federal discrimination law
The federal Senate Committee conducting an Inquiry into the federal government's proposed anti-discrimination law is holding public hearings this week - Melbourne on 23 Jan and Sydney on 24 Jan.
First on the list in Melbourne are Liberty Victoria and the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby - not surprisingly, both of these are supporting the law!
Homosexual groups, along with GetUp! and the Greens, are critical of the exceptions (or exemptions) given to religious groups and are campaigning for even more restrictions on our free speech! Christian groups are defending the proposed exceptions.
USA - Inauguration and beliefs
In the USA, politics enters a new phase with the inauguration of Barack Obama for his second term as US President.
Two items of note. . .
1. Inauguration prayer
The White House had invited US pastor, Louie Giglio, to give the benediction at Mr Obama's inauguration and he had accepted. Apparently he was invited because of the work he has done to combat human trafficking around the world.
Then a pro-homosexual website, Think Progress, posted a sermon that Mr Giglio gave in the mid-1990s which said Christians should "lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but of many in the homosexual community... Underneath this issue is a very powerful and aggressive moment." He said homosexuality was a sin during the sermon.
The homosexuals were NOT happy!
Pastor Giglio then wrote to the President, removing himself from the inauguration ceremony. He wrote, "Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ." He wrote, "Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing."
The White House then said they would someone else, and "ensure their beliefs reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans."
They have now chosen an Episcopal minister who affirms homosexuality, Rev. Dr. Luis León of St johns Church in Washington to say the benediction prayer.
Read Christian Post reports - click here and click here.
More on Louie Giglio's response at Christian Today.
Comment: While the White House's response is not surprising, we wondered why the group Think Progress had to go back to the "mid-1990s" to find a statement on homosexuality by Louie Giglio - after all, that is around 17 years ago!
2. Secondly, what does President Obama really believe?
We know that he now supports same-sex 'marriage' and abortion. . .
However, sometimes what he says does not match his beliefs.
Last week, Cameron, our Resistance Thinking co-ordinator, posted this insightful video prepared by the March for Life organisation. The video features statements from President Obama.
Click here to watch the video on Resistance Thinking.
An amazing protest rally was held in France last weekend. Conservative estimates put the number of people in the hundreds of thousands. The BBC reported that the organisers estimated there were 800,000 people whilst police said the figure was closer to 340,000. Even at this lower figure, which many commentators say is far too low, that is a HUGE turnout by the French people!
What would it take to get that many people protesting on the streets in an Australian city?
The people were protesting against the proposal by Francois Hollande, the socialist President of France who came to power in May 2012, to legalise same-sex 'marriage' and adoption in France. Prior to his election he promised to pass the law by mid-2013. The draft law was approved by the French government in November 2012, and is expected to be put to into the Parliament during January. The government also plans to remove the words 'mother' and 'father' from the legal code, replacing them with 'parent'!
Despite the huge protest, President Hollande is unmoved - he says his government will push ahead, with plans to introduce the law to parliament on 29 January.
Brian Brown, President of the National Organisation for Marriage (based in the USA) was in France at the rally. He said it was the largest rally so far against the government's proposals, and that some people carried placards reading ""Une papa, une maman pour TOUS les enfants! — which means "A dad, a mom for ALL children."
See NOM's photos of the rally - click here.
Interestingly, some homosexuals are opposing the move to legalise same-sex 'marriage'.
NOM reports that the website homovox.com has posted their comments. They were first published in "unofficial translations published by Robert Oscar Lopez at American Thinker.
Robert describes himself as the 'son of a lesbian' - we circulated his own story last year.
For example, one of these homosexual men is Jean Pier: a 49-year-old self-described homosexual filmmaker...
His comments are posted at NOM.
He says, "I am a documentary author for TV and I'm homosexual. I have to wonder, "who's this law for?" I say to myself, "Is it made for homosexuals?" I live in Provence and I work in Paris. I know very few homosexuals who wish to marry beyond the PACS (civil unions) they already have. In fact, the number of people in PACS unions in France, couples of the same sex, is minimal. Therefore, who's this law for? If it's for the 5,000 people who live in the district of Le Marrais, then it's just a militant act. But behind it all, it must be a question of the child. I've had this business of freedom and equality. Then I pose this question: What of the freedom and equality of the child? The child won't have its equality vis-a-vis its friends in school. Its peers may have divorced and blended families, but they have, at least, a father and mother."
He concludes, "Finally, when I look at this proposed law, I conclude that it's a law for gays, but not for homosexuals. I do not want to support it."
The Church of England in the UK recently moved further in accepting homosexuality by allowing clergy who are living in a same-sex 'civil partnership' to become Bishops. This move again threatens to split the Anglican Communion worldwide.
In 2005, the Church of England’s House of Bishops decided to allow their priests to be in a same-sex ‘civil partnership’. The church maintained that the priests could be in a ‘civil partnership’ so long as they were “celibate’. Of course, many sections of the Anglican Communion around the world were very upset by this move, seeing it as an endorsement of homosexual relationships. After all, what does ‘celibate’ mean for a same-sex couple? And who is going to monitor and enforce those conditions and check to see if these priests were really ‘celibate’?
Giles Fraser, a Church of England priest who supports homosexuals being priests, actually said recently in The Guardian that if priests in a same-sex civil partnership are asked by the “bedroom police” if they have a sexual relationship, they can lie.
He wrote, “So do sexually active gay priests or bishops have a moral responsibility to tell the truth? Actually, I think not. I'd go further: In this situation, they have a moral responsibility to lie."
So much for truthfulness and integrity!
Up until now the church has not allowed Bishops (the next level up from priests) to be in a same-sex ‘civil partnership’. The question had arisen regarding the appointment of Jeffrey John as a Bishop but this had not been allowed.
But the House of Bishops recently released a statement (initially in a document on Dec 20, 2012 and then confirmed in a statement on Jan 4, 2013), stating that clergy who are in a same-sex ‘civil partnership’ would be eligible to be Bishops – again, they have imposed this rider about sexual practice, requiring priests to be ‘celibate’: “living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality."
Many Anglicans around the world have expressed deep concern about this move, and oppose this further liberalisation of church policy – the Archbishops of Kenya and Uganda have released statements, as has the Church in Nigeria. This move has caused even more divisions in the Anglican Communion.
We are very concerned at the Church of England in the UK further moving away from God’s teaching on sexual morality, which places intimate, sexual relationships within marriage between a man and a woman for life.
What happens when a denomination doesn’t rely on the absolute authority of God’s word?
Like a house that is built on sand, it is without a foundation. Jesus exhorts us to build our house on the rock – on God’s word. (Matt 7: 24-27)
Having had a great week at the Creation Ministries Supercamp this week, we're even more conscious of how important it is to believe God and His Word, the Bible.
When we shift from that position we are in trouble. We need to rely on God’s Word, from the account of God’s creation in Genesis to the final chapter of Revelation.
- Statement by Bishop Nazir-Ali (former Bishop of Rochester), Christian Concern
- A STATEMENT BY ARCHBISHOP ELIUD WABUKALA, Archbishop of Kenya – on behalf of GAFCON. “….The decision by the Church of England’s House of Bishops, just announced, that clergy in Civil Partnerships can be eligible to serve as bishops will create further confusion about Anglican moral teaching and make restoring unity to the Communion an even greater challenge….”
Peter reflects on the new year, and the need to follow God, not man...
As 2012 comes to a close, one thought is on my mind above all others – and it isn’t retirement!
No, it is, ‘Where is the world and, even more importantly, the church, going to head in 2013?’
The answer is quite simple, if we listen to ‘the Jury’ (that is, the people) - the answer, quite bluntly, is, ‘Down the sewer’. Because, if we do not look to the ‘Judge’ the Creator of Heaven and Earth and all that is in it, we are gone; there is but only one way and that is down - down to the lowest common denominator of ‘man’.
As the Lord said through Jeremiah the Prophet (Jeremiah 17:5-9), “Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (NKJV)
So, if we rely on ‘the Jury’, rather than on God Himself (the Judge) we are really in trouble.
Sadly, in my humble opinion, (and I say that because I certainly do not claim to be a prophet), it is to the ‘jury’ that so much of today’s church has turned, and consequently so has our government and almost every government in the Western World.
Yet, we must listen to the ‘Judge’ in 2013 and beyond, and not the Jury.
The Judge, in His love and through His mercy, has shown us the way – from Genesis through to Revelation He has spoken – if we deny any part of His Word we become the ‘Jury’, choosing our own way, and our wicked hearts will inevitably lead us astray.
The battles we face have all been fought – the victory was won on the Cross. Truth was nailed to a tree because the jury decided, and today Truth is again being nailed to the tree of death by the jury.
As the articles we sent out before Christmas, by Murray Macleod-Boyle, pointed out, there are only two sides and we are on one or the other. If we follow the jury (our hearts and/or the people) we go against God.
This, I believe, is the great challenge of 2013 - Will we follow the Jury or God?
The answer to that question will determine what happens concerning marriage, what happens about the culture of death, in fact what happens about every issue we face as a nation, as a church, or personally in our own lives in 2013. Who will we serve – the jury or God?
I can only answer for us, in our house – to the best of our ability we will endeavour to serve God before any man. What you do is your decision.
We may not change the world – that is up to God who still controls the nations, the environment, the world, and the whole cosmos. We can only determine, by our individual decisions, whom we will serve.
Will it be ‘The Jury’ (man)? If that is our choice it will drag us, the church and the nation further down the slippery slope. Or will we choose God, the ‘Judge’, who, despite the battles that will rage all around us, will give us personal peace? While the world exists in its current form, that is the only peace we can be sure of.
So, please, choose this day whom you will serve in 2013 - the jury or God.
Just in case you’re wondering what prompted this message, it came to me during the night, as a result of an ongoing email ‘conversation’ with a young man who says he is a Christian and who is struggling with his homosexual thoughts and feelings.
I stated that homosexuality is neither genetic nor innate and his response was, “the Jury is still out on that”.
As I pondered on that statement, and not for the first time I must admit, the answer came – it is not the Jury we must listen to, it is God.
God has already spoken, but all too often we don’t want to hear what He says, we want another, easier, or less definitive answer, and while we can say ‘the Jury is out’ we can avoid the truth.
This is not just the excuse for the person struggling with homosexuality; it is an excuse we all like to use one in way or another. Satan’s first question to Eve in the Garden of Eden gave us that ‘excuse’, and he is still giving it to us today – ‘Did God Really Say?’/ While we hang on to that question we have an excuse, an escape clause led by our hearts.
But God DID really say? From the beginning of time God spoke and it was and He has spoken through His Word about every decision or issue we or the church or the world faces.
Evolution is the ‘big daddy’ of all the ‘Did GOD really say?’ questions that have, especially in recent times, led us away from the Truth because “the heart of man is inherently wicked”.
We want there to be an ‘undecided jury’ so that we don’t have be held accountable.
But God spoke and it was – HE is the Truth, He is the only way.
He has not left us with an undecided ’Jury’ for 2013, but with the TRUTH.
WE must choose this day – the last day of 2012 - whom we will serve in 2013: God or the undecided Jury that is still pondering that question, “Did God really say?”