“Grafton Synod indicates rejection of both National Constitution and Bishops’ Agreement”

“The Synod of the Diocese of Grafton, which met this last weekend, has passed a number of controversial motions and heard a question which indicate a walking away from aspects of the national church constitution and the recent Bishops’ Agreement. …

the Synod debated asking the General Synod to introduce same-sex marriage and blessing liturgies. That motion, as expected, was passed along with a number of related matters. What surprised some delegates at Synod was that the following motion was comprehensively defeated:

27. Standard of Worship and Doctrine

That this Synod affirms the authorised standard of worship and doctrine of the Anglican Church of Australia as set out in the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of the Constitution.

The motion was defeated in a vote by houses with approximately 2/3 of the delegates voting against.”

– David Ould has a report.

‘Smear campaign’: Why Aussies are giving Israel Folau their money

“The managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby says Australians are pouring money into Israel Folau’s GoFundMe appeal in fear of their rights around religious freedoms. …

‘Israel Folau has today been accused of greed, playing the victim, and being in a conflict of his own making. All three accusations are false,’ the Australian Christian Lobby MD wrote on Facebook. …”

– Story from Yahoo! Sport.

In his weekly video, ‘The Truth of It”, published 19 June 2019, the Australian Christian Lobby’s Martin Isles read a long excerpt from Israel Folau’s ‘controversial’ sermon in which he allegedly ‘targeted transgender youth’. What did he actually say?

Update: ‘Israel Folau’s campaign shut down by GoFundMe, donors to be refunded’ – ABC News.

“Sacked Wallaby Israel Folau’s attempt to crowdfund for his legal action against Rugby Australia has been shut down by GoFundMe, which will refund all money raised to donors. …”

How might Folau’s court case impact religious freedom?

“A victory in his case would be helpful as sending a message that believers have the freedom to speak in accordance with their faith, even when saying something that offends. And perhaps in persuading employers that they should not try to rely on over-broad “codes of conduct”. …

If he loses his case, it will in my view send a message to corporate Australia that they can require uniformity of opinion on controversial topics. It may lead to further restrictions on what Christians can say in public.”

The Gospel Coalition Australia speaks with Associate Professor Neil Foster about the decision by Israel Folau to begin legal proceedings against Rugby Australia.

‘Israel Folau launches extraordinary attack on Rugby Australia’

“Just days after Israel Folau launched legal action against Rugby Australia the fallen rugby star has hit out at the entire RA board.

In a scathing letter that has been published by The Daily Telegraph, Folau has demanded answers on how intimate details of his Code of Conduct hearing, which was meant to be private, came to fall into the hands of prominent rugby journalist Jamie Pandaram.

Ironically that letter has now made its way into the hands of The Telegraph and been published for all to see. …”

– Story from News.com.au.

Folau test case expected to set a precedent for workplaces

“A senior Sydney Anglican Bishop wants Wallaby Israel Folau’s unlawful dismissal test case to challenge whether workplace code of conduct agreements impinge on employees’ expression of religious beliefs.

Bishop of South Sydney Michael Stead, said religious leaders were closely watching the Folau case in the Fair Work Commission which he said had implications for workplaces nationally. …”

– Story from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Further reflections on the Israel Folau affair

“In a previous post I commented on the events surrounding celebrity rugby player Israel Folau’s posting on social media of a meme stating that various groups of sinners, including ‘homosexuals’, were destined for hell unless they repented and put their trust in Jesus Christ. He was immediately threatened with dismissal by his employer, Rugby Australia (‘RA’), a threat subsequently implemented through an internal tribunal finding that he was guilty of a high level breach of the RA ‘code of conduct’.

It seems an appropriate point to comment on recent developments and to clarify what it seems Mr Folau’s legal options are. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster, Associate Professor in Law, looks at some of the options which might be available to Israel Folau, should he wish to pursue them.

Folau’s faith compelled him to shout a warning: repent

“Folau’s employment looked so unfair to him that he bypassed their internal appeal process as pointless and announced his intention to test them in the courts. So Rugby Australia now will either lose the court battle or lose its major sponsor. It has already lost its best player.

This is no storm in a tea cup: this is central to Australia’s character as a nation and raises three questions:

Let’s tackle them. …

He is drawing attention to the fact that classical Christianity is certainly about judgment, but it is also about sacrifice and forgiveness. For 2000 years Christians have been calling it “good news” because the news that God loves you despite your behaviour and offers forgiveness can only count as very good news, indeed.”

– Kel Richards writes a very helpful article in The Weekend Australian. (Subscription.)

Stalin stalks the church school classrooms

“As a curate in the mid-1990s I used regularly to teach the Bible to the children at the Church of England primary school in the parish. I could not have imagined then that the spectre of Stalin would one day stalk the classrooms of church schools. …

If a future historian were to chronicle the destruction of British democracy, Mr Parker’s letter of resignation as a Church of England vicar to the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, would be an important historical document:…”

Julian Mann reflects on the experience of the Rev. John Parker with the transgender advocates.

(Image of John Parker from Christian Concern.)

Vicar resigns as primary school imposes transgender ideology

“A Church of England primary school has taken the unprecedented step of allowing a child to transition from a boy to a girl in the school without informing parents until the day of the transition or putting any agreed policies and procedures in place. A rare audio recording has also revealed how the school brought in controversial trans lobby group Mermaids to train staff and governors. …

The Christian Legal Centre is supporting the courageous Rev. John Parker who resigned as a governor after his concerns were ignored and silenced.”

See the video from Christian Concern.

See also:

“After his worries were dismissed by the bishop, Mr Parker quit the church where he had been a vicar for 14 years, and also the school after seven years as governor.”

– from The Daily Mail, via Anglican Mainstream.

Uniting Church threatens to split over liberal same-sex marriage stance

“The Uniting Church is facing growing unrest as conservative factions push for it to reverse its decision to allow ministers to perform same-sex marriages.

Multiple conservative movements have been gaining force since the church last year gave ministers the right to perform the ceremonies.

conservative worshippers claim they are being disciplined and isolated for participating in networks like the Assembly of Confessing Congregations.

Members of the Campsie Uniting Church in New South Wales said they were barred from the church and left to worship on the footpath. …”

– Story from ABC News.

Earlier, related, stories.

(Photo: Dr. Deidre Palmer, Uniting Church President.)

Statement from Israel Folau — 17 May 2019

Media Statement by Israel Folau – via Medianet.

Please attribute the following statement to Israel Folau following the termination of his contract by Rugby Australia earlier today:

“It has been a privilege and an honour to represent Australia and my home state of New South Wales, playing the game I love.

I am deeply saddened by today’s decision to terminate my employment and I am considering my options.

As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression. The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word. Upholding my religious beliefs should not prevent my ability to work or play for my club and country.

I would like to thank my wife Maria for her love and encouragement to stay true to our beliefs. We have been humbled by the support we have received from family, friends, players, fans and the wider community.

Thank you also to those who have spoken out in my defence, some of whom do not share my beliefs but have defended my right to express them.”

ENDS

(Photo: Players Voice.)

4 Urgent Conversations Australians need to have after Folau

“The Israel Folau saga has uncovered an urgent need for Australians to have conversations about the sort of society we want to live in.

When Folau first posted his controversial Instagram post, there was an immediate reaction from many cultural commentators, demanding he step down. Rugby Australia, his employer, was only too happy to agree. But as time has passed and emotions have cooled, there seems to be a growing backlash against Rugby Australia’s actions toward Folau. And I don’t just mean from Christian or conservative voices. …”

– Akos Balogh writes at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

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