Helping Christians to make a difference
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Helping Christian families to make a difference
28 August 2015
Another week of news. . .
Some of our critics think we have nothing better to do but investigate the implementation of the ‘homosexual agenda’. However, when you see all of the things happening in society on this issue, in a single week, and with today being ‘Wear in Purple’ day in schools and workplaces, we think we are right to be concerned.
Read the News Update:
26 August 2015
When Liberal MP Warren Entsch introduced his Bill to change the Marriage Act to allow two people of the ‘same sex’ to marry, his speech revealed his personal reasons for sponsoring the Bill. He spoke about the homosexual people he had met and their stories, as well as the input he received from Rodney Croome and his pro-homosexual lobby group Australian Marriage Equality.
However, it was the letter he had received the week before, signed by 106 clergy, that highlighted one of our greatest challenges.
Warren Entsch said, “I also congratulate the 106 clergy who presented the co-sponsors with a letter of support for marriage equality last week – lead by Archdeacon Fr Peter MacLeod-Miller, Rev Angus McLeay and Rev Dr Margaret Mayman”. (1)
So Mr Entsch congratulates Christian clergy who support homosexual ‘marriage’. No mention, of course, of all the Christians who oppose it.
Peter Macleod-Miller is the Rector of St Matthews Anglican Church in Albury, who has openly supported homosexual ‘marriage’, and Margaret Mayman is the lesbian minister of Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney who wrote about her support for homosexual ‘marriage’ in June 2015. (2)
Why is this a HUGE challenge?
We might think that 106 clergy is only a very tiny portion of ALL the clergy in Australia! That’s true, but they do have a significant input into the debate, especially when promoted by advocates for homosexual ’marriage’.
However, it is a huge challenge to Christians who oppose the legalisation of homosexual ‘marriage’, based on the Bible and natural law.
Because, the argument goes, if SOME Christians support same-sex ‘marriage’ and some oppose it then it must be just a personal OPINION as to whether the Christian objections to it are valid – since they all read the ‘same Bible’!
We’ve heard it before– in discussing a pro-homosexual Bill in Victoria many years ago, a Geelong MP read out a letter from a lesbian minister of religion, who said she looked forward to having her relationship recognised!
When parliament returned earlier this month, Fran Kelly, a lesbian journalist who hosts the ABC’s Radio National Breakfast program, interviewed Peter Kentley of Christian Federation, when he organised flowers to be sent to the parliament. Her very last question, in the last 30 seconds of the interview, was, “Do you accept that there are true and faithful Christians who do support same-sex ‘marriage’?” (3)
This was a very specific question, and a difficult one to answer on the spur of the moment.
A ‘Yes’ answer gave the impression that “faithful and genuine Christians” could legitimately support homosexual ‘marriage’ – again, making it just a matter of ‘opinion’.
The Letter from the 106 clergy supporting homosexual ‘marriage’
The week before Mr Entsch introduced his Bill, the Clergy for Marriage Equality group organised a Prayer Breakfast in Canberra to ‘pray for equal love’.
Margaret Mayman told the homosexual media, “The voices that are often overlooked in the current debate about marriage equality are those of Christian clergy and lay people who support the reform of the Marriage Act. From the perspective of their faith, they argue that justice and love require a change in this significant legislation." (4)
AME encourages ‘Clergy’ & ‘Christians’ FOR ‘marriage equality’
Rodney Croome’s lobby group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) has consistently set out to garner support to show that ‘Christians’ and ‘clergy’ support homosexual ‘marriage’. Back in 2012, 77 clergy wrote a Letter calling on supporters of homosexual ‘marriage’ to “show their support for marriage equality by making submissions to the Senate Inquiry and the House Representatives inquiry into same-sex marriage.”
The letter was prominently posted on AME’s website. Prior to that Christians4Equality was formed, again posted on the AME website, with some of the same clergy expressing support – such as Rowland Croucher and Matt Glover (source).
AME has even commissioned an ‘Opinion Poll’ – it suggests the ‘majority of Christians support same-sex marriage’. However, as Murray Campbell points out below, it is VERY important to distinguish between nominal and practising Christians – and this poll doesn’t distinguish!
Article by Peter Catt & Stuart Edser – supporting homosexual ‘marriage’
Another supporter of the ‘Clergy for Marriage Equality’ group is Rev Dr Peter Catt, the Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane. In 2012 he formed a group called A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia) (source).
Last week, Peter Catt and Dr Stuart Edser (who is a homosexual, a Counselling Psychologist and author of Being Gay Being Christian: You can be both) wrote an Opinion article in the Brisbane Times, expressing support for homosexual ‘marriage’.
They began the article with the claim,
“Clergy are 'coming out' for marriage equality in ever increasing numbers. This is because of their experience of working with people at the most personal of levels” and went on to write,
“Through such interaction they have seen that profound love and deep commitment is at the very essence of the human person. They also understand from science that an attribution of gay sexuality as sin and rejection of God, of being against nature and with a lifetime's non-negotiable mandated celibacy is no longer acceptable intellectually. . .”
The article went on to explain the ‘Letter’ and the meeting of the 106 clergy. They quote the opinion polls and state,
“We note that a sizeable majority of Christian people are very supportive of marriage equality.”
“Grassroots Christians can see past the hysteria and the fear campaigns and are favourably disposed to lesbian and gay people marrying their partners and not so, despite their faith, but because of it.”
Their final conclusion:
“As Christians, we say marriage equality is a good and positive thing for individuals, for couples and for society. Christian Australia is more than ready for this change.”
The authors, Catt and Edser, claim that,
“Well-known lobby groups do not remotely represent the views of Christians in Australia. In fact, there is no single group that can claim such a position.”
In response, we can say, “They don’t represent us”! Or perhaps more importantly, “They don’t represent Biblical Christianity”.
Very good response from Murray Campbell … please READ!
Following the publication of their article, Murray Campbell, pastor of Mentone Baptist Church, wrote a response, which was published in the Brisbane Times, where he highlights the problems in their article from a Biblical Christian perspective.
“Rev Dr Peter Catt and Dr Stuart Edser have offered a strange and misleading picture of the Christian faith. Despite claiming an allegiance to Christianity, their thesis has more in common with a late night 'reality' television show than with the teaching and work of Jesus Christ.
“First of all, Catt and Edser would have us believe that the majority of Australian Christians now support homosexuality and same-sex marriage. However, it doesn't take much to realise that they have been selective in their presentation of the evidence. .
Importantly, in discussing two opinion polls as to whether Christians support homosexual ‘marriage’, Murray points out the difference between nominal Christians and practising Christians, a distinction not made in the polls.
“The Bible doesn't define Christian as any persons who use the name, but those who believe in and live according to the truth revealed in Jesus Christ. At best, what this means for these polls is that one might be able to argue that the views of nominal Christians have changed over the last 10 years.”
“Second, Catt and Edser perpetuate the myth that loving LGBTI people requires us to affirm their lifestyle. Such a shallow ethic may fit neatly in the secularist mindset, but the Christian worldview goes far deeper and wider. Christians believe that it is possible to genuinely love a person whilst disagreeing with their values. In fact it is love that sometimes necessitates disagreement. . .”
Please read Murray’s article in full:
Published at The Gospel Coalition Australia:
Is Christian Australia Ready for Marriage Equality?
Brisbane Times link not working correctly:
Homosexuality: Jesus deeply loved 'the sexually broken'
Murray Campbell, Brisbane Times, 21/8/2015.
(1) Read Warren Entsch’s speech – click here.
(2) Marriage equality would be a victory for ordinary Christians, Margaret Mayman, SMH, 30/6/2015.
(3) Christian Federation urges anti-marriage equality supporters to send flowers to PM, ABC RN, 10/8/2015. Listen now tab, 7 min segment.
(2) Clergy join together to pray for marriage equality, GayNewsNetwork, 12/8/2015.
(3) 77 clergy call for marriage equality, AME, 2/4/2012. Includes list of 77 signatories.
(4) Christian Australia is ready for marriage equality, Peter Catt & Stuart Edser, Brisbane Times, 17/8/2015.
24 August 2015
The Victorian Labor government has announced that the Special Religious Instruction (SRI) program, which is currently run during class time, will NOT BE ALLOWED to be run during class time from the start of 2016, despite promising prior to the last election that they would continue to support SRI during curriculum time in Victorian primary schools.
The government’s proposal is that SRI can only be run during lunch time or before or after school – which will have a huge impact on the number of children doing the program. If run after school, it makes it more difficult for parents in collecting children, and many will not participate if they have to stay on at school. As for running it outside curriculum time, it would be very difficult to provide similar content. A ‘lunchtime program’ has always differed from a curriculum program, since children give up their ‘free time’ to participate.
The Andrews government announced on FRIDAY 21 AUGUST that they had made a decision – the announcement was hidden at the bottom of an statement about a new, compulsory course on relationships, aimed at removing prejudice, discrimination etc called ‘Respectful Relationships’. (link below)
In scrapping the in-class SRI program, the government DIDN’T consult with the key stakeholders, parents or the parliament. SRI has numerous providers, including Jewish, Catholic, Christian, Islam, Baha’i and so on. ACCESS Ministries, who conduct Christian religious instruction for SRI, asked for a meeting with the Education Minister James Merlino, and issued a Media Release. They applauded the content of the proposed ‘Respectful Relationships’ program’, but expressed concerned about the changes to SRI, that were made without consultation.
Those opposing SRI rejoiced!
Of course, Farness in Religion in Schools (FIRIS), the main lobby group opposing the SRI program in Schools, was overjoyed at the announcement – they ‘claimed victory’, and said "We won, we got what we wanted." The Australian Education Union Victorian President was also pleased at the announcement, saying that ‘state schools should be secular’.
The Greens thought it didn’t go far enough – they want it BANNED altogether!
Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik said, "While the removal of SRI from formal class teaching hours is certainly a step forward, it doesn't go far enough. SRI should be removed from government schools completely."
Opposition concerned – call on government to reverse decision
Nick Wakeling, the Opposition education spokesman (Liberal) was concerned about the decision, saying, "The Government promised Victorian families prior to the last election that the current arrangements would continue under their Government. This is clearly not going to happen as part of this announcement. We call on the Premier to reverse this decision and to deliver on what he promised Victorian families."
‘Respectful Relationships’ course
The government said they plan to run a ‘Respectful Relationships’ class instead, aimed at reducing domestic violence.
What is the new course about?
The government says, it is “to support students to learn how to build healthy relationships, understand global cultures, ethics and traditions, and to prevent family violence.”
“Respectful relationships education will be included in the curriculum from 2016 in Prep through to Year 10. It will focus on challenging negative attitudes such as prejudice, discrimination and harassment, that can lead to violence, often against women.”
We wonder what might be included in “prejudice and discrimination”!
Government Media Statement: New Curriculum Supports Students To Build Healthy Relationships And Understanding, 21/8/2015.
ACCESS Ministries Media Release: ACCESS ministries re SRI Policy Change, 22/8/2015.
- Religious instruction scrapped from curriculum, The Age, 21/8/2015.
- Religious groups warn students will leave state schools after SRI is dumped, The Age, 22/8/2015.
ACTION - Have YOUR say!
PLEASE POLITELY TELL Premier Daniel Andrews and Education Minister James Merlino what you think of their proposal.
Urge them to reverse their decision – and keep the Special Religious Education program in CLASS TIME at Victorian primary schools.
Then send a copy of your letter to Nick Wakeling, the Opposition Education spokesman.
Thank him for his comments, and express your support for SRI.
21 August 2015
From marriage to abortion, from pornography to censorship, we face many challenges in the world today. We must continue to ‘look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith’ Hebrews 12:2.
Read the News Update...
20 August 2015
We weren’t the only ones who were concerned about the outright attack on Katy Faust and her support for traditional marriage on Q & A on Monday night.
[For the Q & A program, click here for program/video/transcript)
We have always said that we need to engage honestly and fairly in the issues of the day. We’ve said that we mustn’t call people names; that we must debate issues and ideas, not vilify people; that we need to ‘play the ball, not the man’. Unfortunately the ‘other side’, whether it be the pro-abortion crowd, the ‘climate change’ advocates, or the homosexual activists campaigning for same-sex ‘marriage’, don’t hold to the same ideals – either in debate or their ‘counter protests’ on the street.
TWO important articles published in the media this week criticise the lack of tolerance from those promoting the acceptance of same-sex ‘marriage’ – one from “atheistic libertarian” Brendan O’Neill, who appeared on the Q & A panel and supported Katy when she was attacked (read our report here); the other by journalist and lecturer Jane Fynes-Clinton. They both show what has happened to civilised debate in recent years – please read them to see just how far the intolerance of ideas has progressed in recent times, especially through social media, and to be encouraged to continue being involved in having a civilised debate on vital issues…
I’ll give a couple of extracts from each article – but these two people are so discerning about what we face that I ENCOURAGE you to read both of them in FULL!
The Articles – brief highlights:
Brendan O’Neill, the editor of Spiked Online, who also appeared on the Q & A panel this week, has a feature Opinion article in The Australian.
Brendan begins his article:
“Something terrifying has happened during the past five years: a belief that was held by virtually all human beings for centuries has been rebranded as bigotry, something that may no longer be expressed in polite society.
That belief is that marriage is something that occurs between a man and a woman, or between a man and many women: the idea that marriage is a union of opposite sexes.
This was once seen as a perfectly normal point of view. Now, in the historical blink of an eye, it has been denormalised, and with such ferocity and speed that anyone still brave enough to express it runs the risk of being ejected from public life…”
Brendan also writes,
“Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, also on the Q&A panel, accused Faust of being “hateful” and talking “Christian evangelical claptrap”. Yet all she said was that marriage should be between a man and a woman and children had a right to know both their father and their mother.
The demonisation of Faust shows how thoroughly the Christian viewpoint has been turned into a kind of hate speech. Something that was a standard outlook a few years ago is now treated as a pathology.
And as a liberal — small L — I find it deeply troubling that a moral outlook can be so swiftly put beyond the pale, branded “INAPPROPRIATE”.
And I MUST give you his concluding paragraph (in case you don’t click the link to read it ALL!)
“The social impact of this illiberal liberalism will be dire. A whole swath of society — the old, the religious, the traditionalist — will feel like moral lepers in their own country, silencing themselves lest they, too, be branded scum.”
Journalist Jane Fynes-Clinton, who lectures in Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the Sunshine Coast, has a BRILLIANT article in the Courier-Mail, criticising the intolerance of the ‘pro-same-sex-‘marriage’ brigade and highlighting the influence of social media. . .
“ REMEMBER school debating? Where both sides got a turn and the other team sat listening quietly and respectfully?
We need more of that – a version for mature, hopeful, civilised grown-ups.
The current debate over same-sex marriage is one-sided, volatile, even violent.
In the movement to open up and move forward, the side that supports the prevailing laws and conventions is increasingly silenced. And it is not only same-sex marriage that features this concerning trend. In the explosive social media spaces particularly, there are now some views you are seemingly not allowed to express – and by doing so are called a bigot. Oh, the irony. . .”
Jane also says,
“In Australia, social pressure is stifling free speech – the left is very vocal and crushes any chance of a dissenting, considered view.
People are entitled to recalcitrant opinions, even if we do not agree with them.
And the gay marriage debate in public forums is in no way balanced – as seen in the abandonment of ads calling for a mature discussion about the likely outcomes of gay marriage by commercial networks and the ferocious put-down of traditional marriage proponent Katy Faust on Monday night’s Q&A program. Considered, conservative, old-fashioned views might be unpopular in the madding crowd, but they are still valid. In a free country, they deserve to be heard.
As it stands, those who dare speak in support of the current marriage laws are shouted down before they are fully expressed.
Worse, intolerance rains down on those who express those views in ways unprecedented. They are threatened, vilified, verbally roughed up.
NOW READ the articles in full…
Social pressure stifling free speech as vocal Left crushes any chance of a dissenting, considered view, Jane Fynes-Clinton, Courier Mail, 20/8/2015.
Once you read Jane’s, make sure you come BACK and read Brendan’s article!
The new dark ages, where the perfectly normal are branded bigots, Brendan O’Neill, The Australian, 19/8/2015.
POSTED on Marriage Alliance Facebook page, 19/8/2015 - click HERE.