Defending Liberty in a Perilous Age

“Consider the fact that religious liberty is now described as religious privilege.

By definition, a privilege is not a right. It can be revoked or redefined as circumstances may dictate. It can be withdrawn or subverted by the courts in the name of liberation and justice. And, in our day, privilege is suspect in the first place – an embarrassment to be identified and corrected. …”

Albert Mohler writes of the collision of the secular age and religious liberty – focussing on the American context.

Speaking for the C of E on sexuality

“There was a bit of a furore last week, caused by the publication of a letter sent by William Nye, who is General Secretary to the General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council, to The Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC).

The letter had been written and sent last October, in response to a request from TEC for reactions to their plans to revise the liturgy of their Book of Common Prayer removing gender references in their marriage rites.

The publication of the letter provoked a strong reaction in a letter to the Church Times from 126 clergy and laity, as well as two further letters from Giles Goddard and Anthony Archer.

It is worth reading carefully what William Nye actually says, since it is not obvious from the responses that everyone has done so. …”

– Ian Paul does take a closer look at the letter.

Among other things, he also answers the claim, by critics of the letter, that the ‘majority of Anglicans’ want the Church’s doctrine changed. He says, “in order to make the numbers work, it turns out that you have to allow people to self-identify as Anglicans, rather than ascertain whether they actually participate in Anglican worship or are members of their local Anglican church.”

Dear @Channel9, Help me out and cut the family-targetted soft porn

“Dear Channel 9,

We’re both adults. We need to talk.

Because we’re adults we’ll start by not pretending about where we’re coming from.

I’m a Christian and an Anglican minister at a cathedral. You’re in the business of making money off advertising by promoting TV shows that you think will be popular. …”

– David Ould writes an open letter to the Nine Network on their promotion of an upcoming series.

Our Religious Freedom campaign — from Barnabas Fund

Take the time to explore Barnabas Fund’s Our Religious Freedom website.

It includes resources such as the Turn the Tide booklet (PDF), which gives a good summary of the issues and helpfully documents some of the key developments threatening religious freedom in Australia.

As well, you can sign the Petition to the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives –

“We the undersigned call upon the Australian government to ensure full, permanent and adequate protections of religious freedoms:

the freedom to worship; to read Scriptures in public; to interpret Scriptures without government interference; to choose or change one’s faith; to preach and try to convince others; to establish places of worship; and the freedom from being required to affirm particular beliefs to study, stand for election, hold particular jobs (except where there is a genuine occupational requirement such as chaplaincy posts), or give parental care to a child.”

You can also download the printed petition sheet.

California set to enact legislation barring sale of any books expressing orthodox Christian beliefs on sexuality

In today’s issue of The Briefing podcast, Albert Mohler examines extremely disturbing legislation passed yesterday by the State of California General Assembly.

This is an important episode with plenty of relevance for Australians, given the current discussions on religious freedom and freedom of speech. Listen here.

Related story from the National Review.

Scotland’s Little Pink Guards

“If the Israel Folau incident gives us an insight into how our ‘liberal’ elites seek to bully Christians into accepting their doctrines, then what has been happening back home in Scotland to the Church of Scotland minister Mike Goss gives another. …

When SSM was passed (in the name of tolerance) we warned that one of the consequences would be the marginalisation and demonisation of those who upheld the traditional Christian position – and of course, we were mocked and abused as extremists for suggesting such a ridiculous idea.…”

– David Robertson writes at The Wee Flea.

The Folau case is a public relations disaster for Qantas and Rugby Australia

“What has happened to Israel Folau indicates that the inclusion and diversity programs run by Qantas and Rugby Australia seem to be, to coin a Trumpsim, ‘fake’ initiatives.

Moreover, the exposure of the attempts to gag Israel Folau has created a public relations disaster for Qantas and Rugby Australia. …”

– Commentary by Spiro Zavos at The Roar. (Link via SydneyAnglicans.net.)

Related: Israel Folau – Heretic or Hero? – David Robertson.

I’m a Sinner too

“People’s lives are not for me to judge. Only God can do that.

I have sinned many times in my life. I take responsibility for those sins and ask for forgiveness through repentance daily.

I understand a lot of people won’t agree with some of the things I’m about to write.

That’s absolutely fine. In life, you are allowed to agree to disagree.

But I would like to explain to you what I believe in, how I arrived at these beliefs and why I will not compromise my faith in Jesus Christ, which is the cornerstone of every single thing in my life.

I hope this will provide some context to the discussion that started with my reply to a question asked of me on Instagram two weeks ago. …”

– Israel Folau shares his story at PlayersVoice. (Photo: PlayersVoice.)

Related: The Bible and Same-Sex Marriage – Dr. Lionel Windsor.

Beware of speaking the truth – the Conditioners will be on your case

“In his 1943 book, The Abolition of Man, Christian apologist C S Lewis describes the dehumanising effects of replacing transcendent truth and morality with the preferences of secularist educators, whom he calls ‘the Conditioners’. His prophetic warning is surely vindicated by the case of a mother threatened with prosecution for objecting to a boy being taken abroad to lose his manhood through transgender surgery. …”

– Read it all at Conservative Woman. (Image adapted from tdaxp.com.)

How 40 Days for Life fought and won against a UK city council wanting to ban pro-life witness

“40 Days For Life is a Christian pro-life campaign group which aims to end the scourge of abortion by praying outside abortion clinics and offering women an alternative to aborting their unborn child.

Holding placards which read ‘Pray to end abortion’, ‘Pro woman, pro baby, prolife’ and ‘Pregnant? Need help? Ask’, volunteers pray quietly for an hour or more, and the vigil is maintained for 12 hours per day for 40 consecutive days until Palm Sunday. …”

– At Life Site, John Edwards recounts the way a local council tried to silence free speech under the ‘Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act’ of 2014.

‘I’m on about Jesus’

“Archbishop Glenn Davies has put the furore over an Instagram post by star Rugby player Israel Folau in context, saying all people should turn to Jesus. …”

Read it all at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Related: Two Ways to Live – the choice we all face.

Rejection by C of E has driven LGBT people to suicide, says Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool

“A senior Church of England bishop has said some LGBT people have been driven to harm or even to kill themselves as a result of ‘pain and rejection’ caused by the church.

Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, also likened the struggle to persuade the Church of England to be truly welcoming and inclusive to LGBT people to the fight against slavery.

Speaking at the launch of the Ozanne Foundation …”

– Story from The Guardian.

A very helpful book in thinking about all this is Rosaria Butterfield’s 2015 book Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ. (Also as an AudioBook.)

Reviewed at The Gospel Coalition:

“When it comes to same-sex anything, the church can appear awkward and clumsy. As the pressure mounts, we Christians fumble around with our Bibles, unsure of how to connect the truths in God’s Word to cultural discourse or personal struggles.

The church would be hard pressed to find someone better than Butterfield to help us make sense of our uncertainty. Once a tenured English professor, she approaches the issue of sexuality with notable scholastic rigor; her theology is profound. Once a committed lesbian, she empathizes with those in the grips of same-sex attraction; her compassion abounds. In her new book Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ [20 quotes], we benefit from both.”

See also:

Analysis of Bishop of Liverpool’s Speech at Ozanne Media Launch – Julian Mann.

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