Protecting religious freedom after “Yes”

“Outrage has erupted in the press and in Parliament over the Exposure Draft of a Bill designed to implement a possible “Yes” vote in the same-sex marriage survey.

Senator James Paterson, a Liberal Party member who personally supports same sex marriage, has released a Draft Marriage Amendment (Definition and Protection of Freedoms) Bill 2017 designed to effect this change, but also to provide protection for the religious freedom of those whose faith will not allow them to approve it. But the Bill has been excoriated as ‘legalising homophobic discrimination’ (Senator Hinch, in a question to the Attorney-General, Senate Hansard, 14 Nov 2017, p 21 of draft proceedings), and as a ‘licence to discriminate’ (Senator Wong, as reported by the ABC.) …”

At Law and Religion Australia, Associate Professor Neil Foster looks at proposed legislation and what might happen next.

University student dismissed for expressing Biblical view on homosexuality

“A recent UK court decision upheld the decision of University authorities to remove a student, Felix Ngole, from a post-graduate Social Work course, because of views he had expressed in a public social media forum about the Bible’s view on homosexuality. …

For Australian readers, it is … a salutary reminder that when the law on marriage changes, it becomes harder to protect religious and other freedoms.”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Associate Professor Neil Foster highlights the case of Felix Ngole, and examines the legal judgments made.

Christianity and the Dark Side — What about Halloween?

“Over a hundred years ago, the great Dutch theologian Hermann Bavinck predicted that the 20th century would ‘witness a gigantic conflict of spirits’. His prediction turned out to be an understatement, and this great conflict continues into the 21st century.”…

– Albert Mohler addresses the issue of Halloween.

Before we allow Euthanasia, look who the Dutch have killed

“Have Victoria’s politicians, half way to legalising euthanasia, looked at what’s happened in Holland?

Here are some very troubling cases – plus interviews with the brother of an alcoholic who had himself killed, and  a woman with tinnitus who also had herself killed just three weeks later. …”

– Last night’s Bolt Report on Sky News Australia looked at the disturbing Dutch experience of ‘euthanasia’. via The Herald Sun.

Provoking Discrimination

“Words come and go depending on the times. Recently I heard a man say that he thought with the fall of the Berlin Wall the word ‘Marxists’ would not be heard again. ‘Anarchist’, ‘anarchy’ are words we are familiar with but I am surprised to see a growing trend of wearing it as a badge of honour. And it is these kinds of words that help me appreciate a word like ‘discriminating’, ‘discriminate’ and ‘discrimination’. …”

– Bishop of Armidale Rick Lewers looks at the use of a loaded word.

The beauty of normal boring liturgy

“A visitor to our church came up to me at the end of the meeting last Sunday and said to me, ‘That was great, where I go to church we don’t normally do that.’

‘Normally do what?’

I asked, casting my mind over what element of the church service was out of left field or could be considered something unconsidered.

‘Read the Bible. Longer bits of it.’

‘You mean the Bible readings?’

‘Yes. Where I go, they don’t do that.’…”

– Stephen McAlpine has a challenge for your church.

Now teaching Christian doctrine at a church school is ‘extremist’. Move over Monty Python.

“Are you sitting comfortably in your ‘safe space’? Do you have your ‘trigger’ alarm ready? Then we shall begin. There is a shocking story coming out of darkest Kent. The Christian equivalent of an Islamist madrasa is being set up in a normal decent English school, teaching children hateful and extremist ideology.

These extremists have been spouting hate, abuse and according to one small group of parents, causing their children to be ‘exposed to potentially damaging ideology’.

One concerned parent shared their trauma with the press:

‘No one minds Nativity plays and Bible stories but considering most of the parents at the school aren’t practising Christians I think the feeling is that it’s all too much.’ …”

– David Robertson, minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee, writes at The Wee Flea on the latest ‘anti-extremist’ development in the UK.

See also these comments from ‘Archbishop Cranmer’.

Lyle Shelton National Press Club Address

The Australian Christian Lobby has published an abridged version of Lyle Shelton’s address to the National Press Club in September 2017.

You can also watch the full address at the link. (Image: ABC TV.)

Anglican Communion News Service smears GAFCON and manipulates Archbishop of Canterbury

“You’d think, wouldn’t you, that you could trust the news reports which emanate from the official Office of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

You’d hope, wouldn’t you, that the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) might issue factual statements of reliable and verifiable truth, as all good reporting should be, instead of tinted opinion with a tainted political agenda, as all journalism so often is. …”

– “Archbishop Cranmer” takes a close look at a story promulgated by the Anglican Communion News Service.

Related: ‘Archbishop Welby “taken aback” by Las Vegas prayer criticism’ – ACNS.

Review of NT discrimination law — guest blog

Associate Professor Neil Foster writes,

“The Northern Territory government has released a discussion paper called Modernisation of the Anti-Discrimination Act (Sept 2017). It invites comments by 3 December 2017. You can almost get the tone of the paper from the title! After all, who in this fast-changing age could oppose anything called “modernisation”? But there are a number of concerning recommendations and comments made from the law and religion perspective, and there are some real doubts whether the proposals properly reflect religious freedom principles.

My colleague Dr Alex Deagon from QUT has graciously provided a guest blog post in which he outlines his comments on two major concerns with the proposals to amend the Act. Those who are interested in the interaction of discrimination law and religious freedom should find them very helpful, and may wish to make their own comments in response to the discussion paper. There are other controversial proposals in the paper which may be the subject of future posts. …”

– Read it all at Law and Religion Australia.

“The Conversation” and impacts of same sex marriage

“Two pieces in the Australian online forum ‘The Conversation’ today make misleading statements about the possible impacts of the recognition of same-sex marriage in Australia, and warrant some response.

One article suggests that there is no doubt that churches will still be able to decline to solemnise same-sex marriages. The other is a ‘fact check’ on assertions about the mandatory nature of ‘safe schools‘ programs following such a change. In my view both pieces are likely to mislead. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Associate Professor Neil Foster responds to two articles published in The Conversation today. (The first article was also republished by the ABC.)

Faithfulness to Christ against the odds: the Anglican Communion and the global sexual revolution

“Global Anglican leaders will gather to meet in Canterbury in early October for a summit meeting. Most of them come from contexts where the Anglican church is continuing to teach and promote the biblical Gospel of repentance and faith in Christ for salvation, and the historic Christian understanding of sexuality and marriage. A few Provinces, with most of the wealth and power, are dominated by a leadership wanting to promote a different form of Christianity that is more acceptable to the secular West.

The last Primates meeting, in Canterbury January 2016, only made these divisions clearer. The majority of Primates resolved then to work together to continue the important work of the Anglican Communion, but required TEC to withdraw from full involvement, as they had violated the ‘bonds of affection’ by continuing to pursue their revisionist agenda, of which acceptance of same sex marriage was the latest example. But the TEC leadership, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion Office, interpreted things very differently. …

Primates from the Global South and their advisors due to attend the meeting in Canterbury should not be in any doubt that the ground has shifted since the fruitless efforts of years gone by to discipline TEC for their revisionist actions which have torn the fabric of the Communion. …”

— The Rev. Andrew Symes at Anglican Mainstream makes clear what next week’s Primates gathering in Canterbury is about.

Please do pray for the Primates, especially that they will be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Photo: The 2016 Primates meeting.)

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