Same-sex marriage: Prime Minister sets date for postal vote

“Australians could start receiving ballot papers to vote on same-sex marriage in their letter boxes from September 12.

The Federal Government has decided on a non-binding postal ballot if the Senate refuses to approve a compulsory plebiscite. …”

– Report from ABC News.

Update: Same-sex marriage will be legal by Christmas predicts Brandis. – ABC News.

Bill fails religious protection test – Anglican Diocese of Sydney Media Statement

Anglican Diocese of Sydney
Media Statement, 6th August 2017

Bill fails religious protection test

“There are serious religious issues and freedom of conscience concerns arising from the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 being promoted by some liberal MPs” said the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney today.  Read more

Religious Freedom protections in new same sex marriage proposals: too few, too narrow

“The debate over same sex marriage in Australia has been re-ignited by news that some members of the federal governing Liberal/National Party (LNP) coalition are proposing, contrary to their party’s policy, to introduce legislation in Federal Parliament this coming week to redefine marriage to extend it to same sex couples.

In particular, press reports today indicate that a new Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 will be introduced, one feature of which is that it contains legislative protections for religious freedom, designed to encourage support of the legislation by believers.

In my view the protections to be provided, if press reports about the proposal are accurate, are far too few and far too narrow, and the proposal cannot be seen as providing adequate protection for this fundamental human right. …”

– Here is an important and very current contribution by Associate Professor Neil Foster, at Law and Religion Australia.

See also: Liberal MPs urged to “keep their promise” regarding a Plebiscite.

Chinese whispers at the ABC

“A media fracas broke out this past week over Julia Baird’s reports on the ABC about links between Christian teachings and domestic violence against women.

My personal experiences as an Anglican pastor resonated with much that Baird reported. She made valuable points about the impact of particular Christian teachings and Bible verses on some women, such as the injunction in St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians for wives to ‘submit’ to their husbands. I did not see her work as an attack on Christianity.

However Baird’s findings, which included harrowing interviews with victims of abuse, were overshadowed by disputes about a report she gave of American research findings concerning the connection between Christian faith and domestic abuse.…”

– At The Spectator Australia, Mark Durie in Melbourne looks at the ‘chain of evidence’ relied on in the ABC reports.

Also see Faith, family, violence and the ABC’s smears – Mark Powell.

“Since Baird’s article and the subsequent piece on 7:30, I have followed up on all the academic sources that she references. It really wasn’t that hard since there was only one. However, in that sole reference, a footnote led me to a number of other works. …”

Liberal MPs urged to “keep their promise” regarding a Plebiscite

“We now know that a group of Liberal MPs are planning to defy their Prime Minister and trash the election promise they made to you. They plan to cross the floor, vote with Labor, the Greens and independents to force the parliament to debate same-sex marriage.

They promised you there would be no change without a people’s vote. …”

– Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton urges supporters to pray, and to contact Liberal members of Parliament (though a contact form at the link above) ahead of Monday afternoon’s party meeting.

Four stages of ‘evangelical’ affirmation of gay marriage

“I have noticed a pretty consistent progression among those who eventually embrace gay marriage. …

It usually takes some time to move from number 2 to number 3. McLaren and the Hatmakers both took four years to make that transition. But the transition from 3 to 4 can sometimes happen very rapidly. My observation, however, is that anyone who makes it to 3 eventually makes it to 4 also.”

– Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, shares what he has seen among those who call themselves ‘evangelicals’ in the USA.

Why next week’s Liberal Party showdown on Marriage as a proxy for the soul of our nation

“A glance at today’s headlines shows that same-sex marriage is tearing our political class apart. For an issue that doesn’t even register as a concern with the average punter – it is number 16 on the priority list for the left-leaning GetUp! supporters – it is dominating politics. …”

– The Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton calls for prayer for Australia and its political leaders.

[Note: The Australian Christian Lobby and the Anglican Church League are not related. We just happen to have the same initials.]

Ready to give an answer

“Though we’re reading mixed signals from Parliament, let there be no mixed signals from the church. Though we hear rumours in Canberra of deferrals, reneging and equivocation … is our word our word? Are we ready to give an answer, even if that makes us unpopular with people we love?…”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General John P Wilson encourages Christians to be clear about what they believe, and to speak with gentleness and respect.

Enemies of Christianity declaring new war on religion

“Christians, prepare for persecution. Open your eyes and choose stronger leaders for the dark days.

I am not a Christian, but I am amazed that your bishops and ministers are not warning you of what is already breaking over your heads. …”

– Andrew Bolt writes in The Herald-Sun. (Subscription.) Image: Sky News.

I was born in a free country

“Media release July 28 2017 in response to complaints accepted by the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner.

Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sarah Bolt has informed me that she has accepted a complaint against my church, in part for things that I wrote on my blog in 2011 in defence of marriage.

No one is forced to read my writings, it is the mere fact of their existence that may prove to be unlawful.

I bear no ill-will whatsoever towards the complainant. I am however bemused that a Christian pastor can be called to account before a government tribunal for expressing Christian teaching about marriage. …”

– Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Hobart, Campbell Markum, responds publicly to correspondence from the Tasmanian ‘Anti-Discrimination Commissioner’. Read it all.

UK government’s sweeping transgender reforms

“British adults will be able to change their gender legally without a doctor’s diagnosis under government plans that will transform British society.

Men will be able to identify themselves as women – and women as men – and have their birth certificates altered to record their new gender.…”

– Report from The Australian.

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