Helping Christians to make a difference
Dealing with current Issues
Helping Christian families to make a difference
More news on a wide range of issues… with our Prayer Focus last week, we’ve included news from the past fortnight…
Read the Update:
Senator Cory Bernardi asked, in a speech in parliament in 2012, whether other groups would also advocate to gain ‘marriage rights’ if homosexual ‘marriage’ was legalised – he mentioned people arguing for polygamy (marriage with more than two people), and bestiality (those arguing for legal relationships with animals).
He was criticised by many in the left-leaning media and political sphere, and resigned from his shadow parliamentary secretary position - but, of course, he was right to ask the question. If we expand the definition of marriage to include two men or two women, then why not expand it to include MORE than two people!
Last week, during the US Supreme Court hearings on homosexual ‘marriage’, Justice Alito asked that same question. What if “a group consisting of two men and two women apply for a marriage license. Would there be any ground for denying them a license? What would be the ground under the logic of the decision you would like us to hand down in this case? What would be the logic of denying them the same right?”
Justice Alito then went on to ask about siblings wanting to get ‘married’… if homosexual couples can ‘marry’, then why not siblings… (see more detail below)
Ryan Anderson from the Heritage Foundation attended the US Supreme Court last week to hear the oral arguments in the first of the cases about homosexual ‘marriage’.
In an excellent report (in full below), Ryan reports that many of the Judges were very hesitant to endorse homosexual ‘marriage’. Whilst some of the Judges are more conservative and might be expected to oppose homosexual ‘marriage’, Ryan notes that some of the less conservative judges also expressed severe reservations.
Ryan also did a short 11 minute interview with Summit Ministries’ Aaron Atwood, where he spoke about some of these key points – click here to listen:
Before giving you the FULL article, I’ve highlighted some of the key comments from Ryan’s detailed selection of ‘best portions’ of the hearing!
Justice Stephen Breyer noted that marriage has been between man and a woman for thousands of years, even in societies that didn’t discriminate against homosexuals, and questioned why nine unelected judges should be making ‘policy’ rather than the citizens and their elected representatives.
He said, “Why cannot those states at least wait and see whether in fact doing so in the other states is or is not harmful to marriage?”
Justice Samuel Alito asked where it might end – if two men or two women could ‘marry’, then why not more than two people? He asked if a foursome would also claim the ‘right’ to ‘marry’. He went on to mention ‘siblings’, which brings up the whole issue of incest.
Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed out that thinking marriage is the union of a man and a woman “has been with us for millennia. And it—it’s very difficult for the Court to say, oh, well, we—we know better.”
Chief Justice John Roberts noted that “Every definition that I looked up, prior to about a dozen years ago, defined marriage as unity between a man and a woman as husband and wife.” So he pointed out: “you’re not seeking to join the institution, you’re seeking to change what the institution is. The fundamental core of the institution is the opposite-sex relationship and you want to introduce into it a same-sex relationship.”
Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out that no country had re-defined marriage before 2001, so it was a recent innovation. He also spoke about the harm to religious freedom if homosexual ‘marriage’ was mandated by the Supreme Court as a ‘constitutional requirement’.
Ryan’s conclusion: “Thankfully, the Constitution doesn’t require the redefinition of marriage—and hopefully the justices will say as much.”
In-Depth: Key Questions and Remarks From the Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Marriage, Ryan Anderson, Daily Signal, 29/4/2015.
Tuesday’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court were excellent. There were so many good points made about what marriage is and why redefining marriage would cause harms.
This litany of harms stands in stark contrast to the outrageous lower court rulings that had declared no rational basis to state marriage laws defining marriage as it always had been in America: a union of husband and wife.
Most importantly, it was clear that the nine Supreme Court justices do not have any greater insight on ideal marriage policy than do ordinary American citizens. And the Constitution itself is silent about it.
So the justices should uphold the authority of citizens and their elected representatives to make marriage policy in the states.
Here are some of the best portions of Tuesday’s arguments.
4 May 2015
In the midst of considering a wide range of seemingly ‘negative’ issues, it’s important that we stop and reflect on the GOOD things – such as MARRIAGE!
Whilst this report looks at the positive benefits of marriage, it admittedly does so by comparing the respective outcomes of marriage and cohabitation.
Read and file it, so you can refer to the ‘statistics’ in conversations with others!
In recent years, the number of people cohabiting rather than getting married has increased. Sometimes cohabiting relationships are short term, sometimes they lead to marriage and increasingly, some people choose just to live together and not marry at all. We promote the importance and benefits of marriage, noting that God lays out marriage as the foundation for human relationships in His Word. However, it is useful to compare the outcomes of marriage over cohabitation – for men, woman and children - and consider the important benefits to society of people marrying before having children.
Marriage is longer lasting…
One of the important benefits of marriage over a cohabiting, de facto relationship is that it lasts LONGER, and thus provides more stability. It is often difficult to obtain statistics… due to the lack of data on ‘living together’ relationships, the progression from cohabitation to marriage and so on. However, it is clear, using data from Australia, the UK and the USA, that marriages DO last longer – and of course that has a huge impact on the welfare of children, the financial stability of families and so on.
In this report, I start with some data from Australia – mainly dealing with the breakdown of relationships, rather than the effect on children, published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. This is not recent, but it provides an important understanding of the trends in Australia. Following that are recent reports comparing the results of marriage and cohabitation on CHILDREN (and parents) in the UK and the USA.
Firstly, in the UK, the Marriage Foundation has recently published a number of studies comparing the effect of marriage and cohabitation – the cost to children of family breakdown, the importance of marrying BEFORE having a first child and the impact on income of staying together.
Finally, the American College of Pediatricians has conducted a study of the effect of cohabitation on the men and women involved, and also the effect on the CHILDREN.
1. Australia – Marriages last longer than de facto, cohabiting relationships
The Australian Institute of Family Studies, a government institution, cites HILDA data from 2001 in a major study Diversity and change in Australian families: Statistical profiles, published in 2004. In Chapter 10 Cohabitation, on Page 122, they state,
“Cohabiting relationships are more likely than marriages to break up. For example, Figure 10.6 shows that in the early 1990s, 40 per cent of cohabiting relationships of women had ended within five years of commencing the relationship. Over the same period just 12 per cent of marriages ended within five years of marriage.”
In 1991, an article from AIFS, using data from the Australian Family Formation Project, stated,
“Twenty-five per cent of de facto relationships lasted 12 months, around half ended after two years and three- quarters had ended by four years.”
1 May 2015
Homosexual ‘marriage’ continues to be a big issue, with Labor’s Tanya Plibersek suggesting that all Labor MPs be FORCED to vote in favour of it – thankfully there has been a huge backlash from Labor MPs, and Labor leader Bill Shorten has now opposed her proposal (although he personally supports homosexual ‘marriage’! (Media report here).
It’s also a huge issue in the USA - this week the US Supreme Court began hearing evidence regarding several court cases that are pushing the Supreme Court to rule on whether same-sex ‘marriage’ is a constitutional right – a decision is due by June 2015). The first case is called Obergefell v. Hodges.
A key factor in the debate is the effect of homosexual parenting on children.
We’ve often reported on the adverse effects of homosexual ‘parenting’ (a lot of those studies are posted on our ‘same-sex parenting’ webpage. We’ve noted that much of the research has been done by homosexuals, and they have often used ‘self-select’ methods where participants are invited to give their own perspective.
THIS report highlights another flaw – in one data, set, used by four of the studies, 27 of the 44 couples classified as ‘same-sex’ are actually opposite-sex couples. Of course, this skews the results!
In the USA, several organisations that oppose homosexual marriage have provided amicus briefs to the Supreme Court, with evidence supporting their position. Of course, groups supporting homosexual ‘marriage’ have also put in amicus briefs.
However, being able to EASILY COMPARE and analyse the contrasting positions is vital.
That’s why the following short paper, by MARRI, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute in Washington DC, is BRILLIANT.
[MARRI was founded in 2010 as a daughter organization of the Family Research Council (here and here.]
To UNDERSTAND the arguments and counter arguments on this issue, and how the so-called evidence of those supporting homosexual ‘parenting’ is REFUTED, PLEASE READ this REPORT… which is posted BELOW.
MARRI has taken TWO of these amicus briefs – where social scientists argue for two different conclusions about the effects of same-sex parenting.
The first, written by the American Sociological Association (ASA), SUPPORTING homosexual ‘marriage’, claims that there are no differences between children of same-sex parents and children of opposite-sex parents.
The second brief, written by the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) et al., OPPOSING homosexual ‘marriage’, claims that children of same-sex parents suffer substantially worse outcomes than children of opposite-sex parents.
Naturally, we agree with the second one!
MARRI’s comparison agrees – stating, “In conclusion, the ASA positions are disproved by evidence and its criticisms overcome by data, method and logic. The ACP et al. dismantled the entire body of the ASA’s purported “social science consensus”… By contrast the ACP et al. makes strong, supported, and methodologically sound arguments demonstrating that children of same-sex parent families fare significantly worse than children of opposite-sex parent families, in all the measured outcomes.”
In addition to highlighting the regularly reported flaws, MARRI contributor Paul Sullins points out in his research that the data used for several studies relied on by the ASA actually "miscode opposite-sex couples as same-sex couples". He corrected the data and re-analysed the studies - which of course gives VERY DIFFERENT results!
MARRI has done extensive analysis of various ‘studies of homosexual ‘parenting – click here.
The Amicus Brief from the American College of Pediatricians – click here – 58 pages.
In two amici briefs before the Supreme Court for the hearing of Obergefell v. Hodges, social scientists argue for two different conclusions about the effects of same-sex parenting. The first, written by the American Sociological Association (ASA), claims that there are no differences between children of same-sex parents and children of opposite-sex parents. The second brief, written by the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) et al., claims that children of same-sex parents suffer...
29 April 2015
For many years, we have supported the ‘International Day of Prayer for Madeleine and All Missing Children’ and asked all of you to pray for all children who are missing, abused and exploited.
Full details of the Prayer Day – and a suggested Prayer – are included BELOW.
About Madeleine McCann. . .
It is now 8 years, on Sunday 3 May, since Madeleine McCann (then 3 years old) disappeared whilst holidaying with her British family in Portugal.
The organisers of the Day of Prayer have provided the following information and a suggested Prayer…
Official Flier - click here.
A message from the Australian co-ordinator, Dr Reina Michaelson…
The 7th International Day of Prayer for Madeleine McCann and all missing, abused and exploited children will be held on Sunday 3 May 2015, exactly 8 years after Madeleine tragically disappeared.
Every day news of the horrendous crimes committed against innocent children by those in positions of trust, power and authority dominate the headlines, as well as the corruption in high places that has served to cover up these crimes for decades.
But your prayers are resulting in miracles year after year:
* kidnapped children escaping their captors,
* missing children being rescued from captivity and slavery,
* closure for grieving parents who can finally lay their beloved children to rest,
* perpetrators being held accountable for their crimes,
* victim-survivors being given a voice and having the opportunity for justice after being silenced for decades,
* a global awakening of the truth regarding the reality of criminal pedophile and child pornography networks...
Sometimes we feel powerless because it seems that the evil is overwhelming, but there is POWER in our PRAYERS. So please join us in prayer again this year and watch as God delivers more miracles on behalf of our beloved children.
And remember, we are God's instruments here on Earth. If we allow Him to work through us we CAN change the world for our precious children.
Please share this Invitation as widely as you can (please see the attached Official Invitation and below for the text).
With love and prayers,
International Day of Prayer for Madeleine and all missing children
Please join the Madeleine Prayer Circle (MPC) and thousands of people worldwide as we unite together in prayer for Madeleine McCann and all the missing, abused and exploited children in our world.
This will be the seventh International Day of Prayer for Madeleine and All Missing Children and it will be held on Sunday 3rd May, 2015, exactly eight years after Madeleine McCann disappeared from her holiday apartment in Portugal.
Our prayer is for God’s divine protection and perfect peace to be with all children who are the victims of our broken world, and that we will, as God’s appointed custodians of this world, strive to make it one that is worthy for our precious children.
"Again, I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matthew 18: 19-20
Please pass this invitation on to your church, prayer group colleagues and friends around the world. Our previous Days of Prayer have resulted in more than 200,000 people worldwide praying together for these precious children … Please join us.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us... (Eph, 3: 20)
We pray Lord God for your divine protection and perfect peace to be with Madeleine McCann and all missing children around the world. We pray that no matter what circumstances each precious little child is in, that they will never be alone, that You will always be with them and that they will never be separated from Your perfect love. We pray this with thanksgiving, knowing that each and every little child is cherished by You, and that no matter what their circumstances, nothing can separate them from Your precious love (Romans 8:37).
Lord God, we pray that You will create the circumstances for the imminent release and safe return of all missing children to those who love and care for them. Where a miracle is needed we ask You for that miracle, knowing that where things may be impossible for Man, nothing is impossible for You (Matthew, 19:26). Where children have been hurt we pray for Your healing and inner peace; where the truth has been hidden we pray for Your revelation and justice. For the children who are no longer in this world, we grieve for such devastating loss but we thank you that Your kingdom is theirs (Matthew 18:2-4).
We pray that Your peace be upon their loved ones. We pray that Your mercy and grace will bring healing to the broken and the broken-hearted and that they will experience the tenderness of Your unfailing love. May the knowledge of the joyful reunion that awaits them in Your Heavenly Kingdom give them courage, strength and hope.
Lord God, we say a special prayer for all the children who have been born, abducted or trafficked into organised networks that abuse children for their own evil purposes, including cults, institutions, pedophile, prostitution and pornography networks. These children are so precious to You; You know even the very number of hairs on their heads (Luke: 12,7), and yet so often in our world they are unseen, unheard, and unknown. We pray a special prayer for each and every one of these children today; we pray that they will know we have not forgotten them, and we will stand up for them. Above all, we know that You will stand up for them as You are faithful and true (Psalm 46).
Lord God, today we commit our lives to You and ask that You use each and every one of us as Your instruments, in whatever way You will, to create a world where all children are loved, protected and cared for (Matthew 10:42). We pray these things in the Almighty Name of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.