Our friendships are shattering

“Don’t trade Jesus’ truth for friendship. The greatest need for people in our lives is not our friendship, but Christ. The greatest need is not peaceful and quiet relationships, but Jesus’ saving death.

Yes fight hard to keep your relationships, but never at the expense of truth, or by keeping the kind of silence that communicates ambivalence about the truth. …”

– Campbell Markham at Crossroads Presbyterian in Hobart (reportedly the subject of a complaint to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission) writes about the tragic breakdown across the country, and the choices facing Jesus’ people.

Related: Push to change Tasmanian anti-discrimination laws rejected ahead of same-sex marriage vote – ABC News.

Albert Mohler on the Australian Plebiscite

In his daily commentary, The Briefing, for 17th August 2017, Albert Mohler speaks about the Australian plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

Worth hearing an outsider’s perspective.

Related: ABC offer helpline to staff distressed by same-sex marriage debate – Nine News.

Marriage Resources for the postal plebiscite

Australia will soon have a postal plebisciite on whether to change the definition of marriage to enable same-sex marriages. Here are some resources –

The Coalition for Marriage

The Coalition for Marriage is coordinating the campaign to oppose changes to the Marriage Act.

The Diocese of Sydney is a lead partner in the Coalition for Marriage, joining with over 80 organisations in support of the campaign to defend Australia’s man-woman definition of marriage. If you would like to support the Coalition for Marriage, you can sign up as a volunteer or provide financial support.

What has God Joined Together?

The Diocesan booklet entitled What has God Joined Together? is available online.

It explains God’s pattern for marriage, why it is best for society as a whole, and the negative consequences of same-sex marriage.

Last Chance to Register for the Postal Vote on Marriage

If you have moved house, or recently become eligible to vote in Australian elections, you need to update your electoral enrolment by 24 August 2017 to participate.

You can go to the AEC website to check or change your registration, or register online. More information and the relevant links are also available at the Coalition For Marriage website).

A popular vote is the best way to go, but arguments for gay marriage don’t hold up

“Ask yourself what is the most decent and respectful thing to do: is it to endorse this change that the gay lobby is stridently insisting upon; or is it to question whether a few years’ agitation should unmake a concept of marriage that had stood for many centuries and has always been regarded as the rock upon which society is built?

Ask yourself what’s more likely to maintain respect for marriage and to reinforce the notions of constancy and selflessness that sustain all lasting relationships: an ongoing recognition that marriage is a union of one man with one woman, preferably for life and usually dedicated to children; or changing marriage so that it can mean any two people who love each other? …”

– The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP, explains his thinking. Originally published in today’s The Australian, and also on his website.

Changing the Marriage Act could change the country

“Before Australians start voting in the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite next month — assuming the High Court allows it to proceed — the Turnbull government has a vast amount of work to do. It must detail how it would protect freedom of religion in the event of a change to the Marriage Act.

The proposed Marriage Act Amendment Bill released by five Liberal MPs on August 6 falls far short of doing so. …”

— Editorial from The Australian, 14th August 2017. (Subscription.)

A Prayer for the Plebiscite

Dr David Peterson has written this prayer you may wish to use. We reproduce it here with his kind permission:

Loving Father, your Son the Lord Jesus Christ affirmed your purpose for marriage when he declared that, ‘a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.’

What you have joined together, we dare not separate.

We pray that, as the proposal for same-sex marriage is discussed in our country, your voice will be heard.

Even though other countries have legislated for same-sex marriage, we pray that this will not happen in Australia.

As the postal plebiscite takes place, we pray that many would think carefully about the implications and that the majority would reject the proposal.

Help us to show love and care for those who are same-sex attracted, but deliver us as a society from undermining your purpose for marriage.

We pray these things for your glory and in your Son’s name. Amen.

Rights clash looms in SSM debate – Essential reading

“While the flawed postal vote plebiscite has provoked furious rival responses, the pivotal problem is just emerging — the failure in any draft bill by Coalition or Labor MPs to fully protect religious freedoms once same-sex marriage is legislated. …

Beyond the campaign lies the great dilemma. The proposition is lethal — that it would constitute a historical betrayal of the values of the Coalition parties if they “backed” a bill post-plebiscite on same-sex marriage that exposed individuals and institutions to retaliation for their beliefs because the government failed to strengthen Australia’s woefully inadequate laws on religious freedom and protection. …“

– See this must read opinion piece by Paul Kelly in The Australian. (Subscription.)

The New / Old way our Culture pressures us to Conform

“As Christians we take comfort in laws governing free speech and protecting freedom of religion. But pleading conformity to the law means little when a society has shifted to a culture of shame and honour. …”

Tim Challies addresses the answer to the shame Christians are tempted to feel.

Irish Same-sex marriage vote: How a Minority achieved a Majority

how_a_minority_achieved_a_majority(Originally posted 24 May 2015.)

“For years leading up to Ireland’s civil partnership legislation, a small nongovernmental organisation (NGO) – the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) – along with its many supporters and collaborators, worked quietly and methodically toward this day. …

In 2005, GLEN received a sizable long-term grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies that allowed GLEN to increase its organisational capacity and to pursue its ambitious advocacy strategy for advancing equality for gays and lesbians in Ireland.

The story of how Ireland’s landmark legislation was achieved for same-sex couples holds insights and lessons for any advocacy group trying to achieve legislative change…”

– This PDF document, available on The Atlantic Philanthropies website, charts how minority groups were able to achieve the goal of Civil Partnership in Ireland back in 2010.

See also: Catalysing LGBT Equality and Visibility in Ireland (PDF).

Related:

Asking questions about funding for referendum campaignIrish Times, 9th May 2015:

“The only acceptable narrative is that this is a benign grassroots movement, because if we admitted that it is instead a slick, elite movement of highly educated professionals funded from abroad we might have to admit we were skilfully manipulated. And that could not be true.”

Editorial Comment from Anglican Mainstream, 23 May 2015:

“This is a sad day for all who have campaigned and prayed for Ireland to hold the line on keeping the definition of marriage as an exclusive covenant between a man and a woman for life.

The result is not a surprise, because of orchestrated cultural change, huge disparity in resources between the Yes campaign (backed by government, media and American dollars), and the aggressive vilification of any individuals courageous enough to speak up for historic sexual morality, the sanctity of marriage and the bedrock of biological families.”

Why marriage should be between a man and a woman

” ‘On the issue of marriage I think the reality is there is a cultural, religious, historical view around that which we have to respect. The party’s position is very clear that this is an institution that is between a man and a woman.’

If I told you that was a quote from Cory Bernardi, Lyle Shelton or worse, that oft condemned unreconstructed traditionalist Tony Abbott, would you consider it just more evidence of their homophobia? Many commentators would. It seems right now no one can make any statement in favour of marriage without being condemned for being a ‘hater’ or ‘bigot’.

However, the statement doesn’t come from Mr Bernardi, but from that other strong-minded senator from South Australia, Penny Wong. …”

– Read the full article by Michael Kellahan, executive director of Freedom for Faith, at The Sydney Morning Herald. (Subscription.)

See also: Churches lay out plebiscite fears for PM, The Australian. (Subscription.)

The Anglican Archbishop of ­Sydney, Glenn Davies, and leading Catholic officials have written to Malcolm Turnbull demanding that any proposed bill on same-sex marriage be released before Australians are asked to vote on the issue. …

“This timeframe is inapprop­riately short, particularly given there remain a number of un­resolved questions concerning the postal plebiscite process,” ­Archbishop Davies wrote.

John Anderson on what’s happening in Australia over the same-sex marriage plebiscite

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson spoke about his very real concerns for Australia – on ABC News.

Well worth watching – on YouTube. (9’30”.)

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