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Dealing with current Issues
Helping Christian families to make a difference
The Australian High Court has handed down its ruling about the legitimacy of the national Chaplaincy program. The case was brought by a Toowoomba parent, Ron Williams, who objected to the Chaplaincy program on two grounds - Commonwealth funding and the impact on religious freedom.
The High Court ruled that the Chaplaincy program is legal - but the current funding arrangement by the Commonwealth is "illegal" under the Constitution.
Mr Williams argued that, since the constitution says the Commonwealth cannot apply any 'religious test" for officers of the Commonwealth, the chaplaincy program was illegal, since chaplains were 'religious'.
The High Court rejected his claim, ruling unanimously that the Chaplains are NOT employees of the Commonwealth - rather, they are employed (in Queensland) by Scripture Union Queensland. So at least this part of the ruling was good news!
On the funding issue, the High Court ruled that, since there was no legislation establishing the Chaplaincy program, then the Commonwealth acted outside its power in funding it. The Commonwealth had argued the payments were supported by the executive power given by Section 61 of the constitution, which says the executive power "extends to the execution and maintenance of this constitution, and of the laws of the Commonwealth".
The majority of the court ruled that Section 61 did not empower the Commonwealth to enter into the funding agreement for chaplaincy. [Age, SMH, Aust 20/6/2012] This ruling could have wide-ranging implications for Commonwealth funding of a range of programs - including roads! The federal government is reviewing the decision.
Scripture Union Queensland CEO Peter James noted, "The Court left open the option for the Government to continue funding either under new legislation or a grant of funds to the states and territories".
The government says they are committed to continuing the chaplaincy program. Earlier this year the government changed the scheme to include student welfare workers (announced Sept 2011, commenced Jan 2012). They also expanded the scheme to provide for an additional 1,000 schools (making a total of 3,555), with funding budgeted to the end of 2014. The additional 1,000 schools were announced by the Education Minister on May 24, 2012. Mr Garrett said that 65% of the schools asked for a Chaplain whilst 35% asked for a student welfare worker.
The federal parliament is currentlyconsidering same-sex 'marriage' - with two separate private member's Bills and Inquiries by the House of Representatives and the Senate.. The House of Representatives Committee, that is currently considering two different Bills on this matter, released its Report this week. [The Senate one is due to be published on 25 June, 2012,]
The Committee didn't make a recommendation as to whether this should be legalised. However, the Chair of the Committee, Graham Perrett (Labor), fully endorsed same-sex 'marriage' in the Foreword to the report and in his other comments in the Report. Two Labor MPs opposed the proposals, two Liberal MPs opposed it, and the Greens MP Adam Bandt supported it (of course!)
The Bills were briefly debated when they were introduced - then debate was adjourned until after the winter recess - in mid-August.
On Adam Bandt's Bill - he was the only one to speak in favour (speech).
SIX MPs spoke against it - Stuart Robert (Liberal), John Murphy (Labor), Darren Chester (Nationals), Scott Buchholz (Liberal), Shayne Neumann (Labor), Deb O'Neill (Labor).
On Stephen Jones' Bill (he is an ALP Member, but it is a private member's Bill)
Those speaking for the Bill: Melissa Parke (Labor), Tanya Plibersek (Labor), Andrew Leigh (Labor).
Those speaking against the Bill: Scott Buchholz (Liberal), Stuart Robert (Liberal).
For details of the Inquiry into these two Bills, see our campaign page - click here.
To read the Committee's Report - click here.
The impositions on free speech are increasing. Those with politically incorrect ideas are being shut down. Governments are enacting more and more vilification laws and hate speech laws.
Topher is a young man who has made short documentary films of a range of topics. His earlier films were under the heading 'Topher's Unpopular View' (on You Tube).
See his website for details of his work - www.topher.com.au
Topher (Chris Topher Field) is now making a three part series called 'The Forbidden History of Unpopular People'.
He has just completed Part 1..."Why Free Speech is worth the price".
Watch it now - link below...
This excellent film is 12 minutes long - he starts with the story of the doctor who found that washing hands between patients actually saved the lives of mothers and babies.The doctor was shunned and rejected... but we now know his ideas were true!
(Of course, as a Christian, he based those ideas on the Biblical hygiene laws of the Old Testament)
Topher follows with an impressive list of people who spoke up! He talks about vilification laws and hate speech - and then discusses the Finkelstein report that recently recommended a new (federal) Media Council to monitor and control the media (including blogs and social media!).
This is a 'MUST WATCH film - it is fast moving and cleverly made.
Watch the film - Topher asks that we watch it on 'The Forbidden History' website.
Click here to watch it now.
Topher is now preparing parts 2 and 3 (and fundraising to produce them). They cover the topics of terrible taxes and big government.
See his website for details.
Some Christians say the earth is young - they note the creation of the world as recorded in Genesis and that believe there was a global flood at the time of Noah.
Other Christians say the earth is old - perhaps because some scientists say the world is old.
In particular, theistic evolutionists say that, while God was involved in some way, the theory of evolution applies.
The important question is: 'What did Jesus believe?'
Since Jesus is the centre point of the Christian faith, this should be vitally important to us. As the Son of God, Jesus was there at the creation.
During his ministry, Jesus referred to people being there from the 'beginning of creation'. He referred to Adam and to Noah as real people, so we cannot dismiss this lightly.
The genealogy of Jesus in the New Testament (Luke 3) goes back to Adam (even saying Adam was the son of God), and points to a 'young earth'. The classical view of the church has to believe in these people as real people.
Carl Wieland of Creation Ministries, has written an important article that develops this idea:
Jesus on the age of the earth
Read it to find out what Jesus said about this important matter.
Yes, that subject again!
That's because this is the major political issue at present.
This week the IQ2 debate, held by the St James Ethics Centre in Sydney, was on same-sex 'marriage'. The side that said same-sex 'marriage' should not be legalised actually included a professor who teaches 'Queer Theory' - she wasn't using the same arguments we do for opposing the legalisation of same-sex 'marriage!
Click here to vote in their online poll (on right side of page) - "Should same-sex marriage be legalised?" Please vote 'No'!
In NSW, a Greens MP has put up a motion to 'support marriage equality' and urge the Commonwealth government to legalise same-sex 'marriage'.
The Greens in Victoria have announced, by way of a motion, that they plan to introduce a Bill to legalise same-sex 'marriage' in Victoria.
In Queensland, the new LNP government , led by Campbell Newman, promised before the election that they would repeal the Civil Partnerships Act passed last year by the (then) Bligh Labor government. Unfortunately some groups are suggesting that they could replace it with a Relationship Register. Most Christian pro-family groups are opposing that move - since Relationship Registers and Civil Partnerships are very similar (even the homosexual groups say so!) and they all undermined marriage. Ask the Premier and Attorney-General to repeal the Civil Partnerships Act - and NOT replace it with a Relationship Register!
Now is the time to get active - write to relevant state and federal leaders and MPs.
Click on the 'Contact MPs' tab for contact names and details.
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