Kings Headmaster Tony George speaks about Religious Freedom

In a Kingscast Special, produced for the Kings School community, Headmaster Tony George answers questions about the Open Letter to All Members of Parliament sent on behalf of Anglican schools.

Watch the ten minute interview  – and do take the time to read the letter – it seems many haven’t. (3.4MB PDF file.)

ACT bill removing religious freedom from religious schools introduced

“As foreshadowed in the press reports noted in my previous post, the ACT Government has now introduced a Bill designed to curtail the current religious freedom enjoyed by religious schools in the Territory to operate in accordance with their beliefs.

The Discrimination Amendment Bill 2018 (ACT) is an unwise proposal and it is likely that it would be invalid as contrary to Commonwealth law. …”

Associate Professor in Law Neil Foster argues that the proposed ACT law should not be adopted.

Anglican Educators write Open Letter to MPs

“The heads of the 34 Sydney Anglican schools have written an Open Letter to MPs, calling on Parliament to continue anti-discrimination exemptions which allow schools to main their Christian ethos and mission.

‘As Principals and Heads of Anglican Schools in Greater Sydney and the Illawarra we write this public letter to all members of the Parliament of Australia.’ the letter begins. ‘There has been quite some discussion recently about the rights of faith-based schools and their current exemptions under federal anti-discrimination legislation. The debate has been polemicised as the right to expel gay students, with little evidence that this occurs, and the right to dismiss gay staff members, again with little evidence that this occurs.’…”

– Story from SydneyAnglicans.net.

ACT proposal to remove religious freedom provisions for schools

“Reports in the press note that that the ACT Government has announced its intention to ‘close a loophole’ in discrimination laws by removing the capacity of religious schools to apply their religious beliefs in staffing decisions.

The law being referred to is not a ‘loophole’, it is part of the fundamental architecture of discrimination law around Australia, with rare exceptions, and removing these provisions would not be a good idea. …”

– Neil Foster looks at the latest news – at Law and Religion Australia.

National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse — Public Statement

Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney
Public Statement

National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

The Anglican Church in the Diocese of Sydney welcomes the decision of the Federal Government to issue a National Apology to the survivors of child sexual abuse. While this apology comes in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, it is an important step for the healing of survivors, though nothing will ever rid them of the memories of past abuses.

As Archbishop, I recognise and respect the wishes of the survivors to have no leaders of institutions present in Parliament House when the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison, delivers the National Apology, nor in the livestreaming of this important event in the Opera House, hosted by the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian.

In respecting survivors’ wishes, I take the opportunity again to offer an apology on behalf of the Anglican Church in Sydney, where such abuses have happened in the past. That our Church was complicit in any way in these events, by ignoring them, disbelieving the testimony of survivors, or allowing sex offenders to continue their horrendous conduct in what should have been the safe environs of a church, is itself a matter of deep shame. While I and my immediate two predecessors have issued apologies in the past, let me reiterate my apology to the survivors of child sexual abuse, for our failure to protect them as children. While we have adopted rigorous processes to ensure the safety of children in the present, I recognise that this will not overcome the trauma that accompanies the sins of the past.

My fervent prayer is that today’s National Apology will in some measure provide healing for these wounds, raise the national consciousness of the seriousness of child sexual abuse, and enable us as a nation, and individually as citizens, to play our part in protecting and giving voice to the most vulnerable among us, for the benefit of future generations of Australians.

Archbishop Glenn Davies
22 October 2018.

– Source: SydneyAnglicans.net media release.

Conscientious Objection in the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 (Qld)

“On 17th October 2018 the Queensland Parliament passed the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 (Qld).

This law will, among other things, allow abortion on demand up to 22 weeks’ gestation, and abortion up to full term if approved by two independent doctors who agree it is appropriate taking into account all the circumstances.

Setting aside for one moment the significant objections to the primary function of this legislation in general, a major point of contention with the bill was the extent to which health practitioners are able to refrain from providing abortion services because they have a conscientious objection. …”

– In a guest post at Law and Religion Australia, Dr. Alex Deagon, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, looks at the implications of the new bill for health practitioners.

Ruddock Report: religious schools and same sex attracted students

“A media outlet here in Australia has released what it says are the 20 recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom chaired by the Hon Philip Ruddock. The Report itself was delivered to the Government in May 2018, but has not officially been released. Apparently the Government is planning to release the Report at the same time as announcing its official response.

The main issue which has generated controversy during the last week, in which there was a selective leaking of some of the recommendations, were proposals dealing with the rights of religious schools to take into account the sexual orientation of students in certain areas. The changes proposed were not radical changes to the existing law, but were presented as such when first publicised.

In this post I want to briefly set these recommendations in context and offer my preliminary response. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Assoc. Prof. Neil Foster provides some helpful background to the media reports.

Religious Freedom at Australian Universities

“I presented a paper today to a seminar at the University where I work, on the topic of ‘Religious Freedom at Australian Universities’.

It explores some of the challenges facing staff and students in this area, and explores some of the ways that religious freedom is currently protected (and where there are gaps in that protection.) I use examples from the policies framed in my local context, but similar policies and legislation would be relevant at most Australian Universities.

Others involved in this area may find the paper helpful in outlining issues and options.”

– Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia. His paper can be found here.

A Pastor pushes forward as a Drought threatens his town and his church

“The Rev. Bernard Gabbott bumped along on a road so remote the asphalt had given way to gravel, heading out to see a farmer who had been working seven days a week, straining to keep his cattle and sheep fed.

He pointed to an empty patch of earth. The farmer had plowed it to plant as pasture for his livestock, but instead, the afternoon wind kicked up clouds of dust. …

Mr. Gabbott, who is gregarious and quick to laugh, grew up in Sydney, the son of missionaries.”

This story in The New York Times is a good reminder to pray – not only for more rain, but for those who minister the gospel in the bush.

Photo: Wee Waa Anglican Church, Facebook.

See also:

Prayers encouraged for Police Remembrance Day

Archbishop Glenn Davies has written a Prayer for National Police Remembrance Day – held on Day 29th September 2018.

You may wish to use it in church on Sunday 30th September, or in your own prayers.

“Our heavenly Father, we thank you for your providential care of our world and the peace and security that we enjoy in our land.  We especially thank you for the Police Force of New South Wales.  Despite the corruption of the human heart and the prevalence of lawlessness and sin, we thank you for these guardians of justice in our society.

We pray for the members of our Police Force as they maintain law and order in our state.  Give them the courage to expose unrighteousness, wherever it is found, to pursue justice for the common good, to deal with all without fear or favour, and to act with wisdom and compassion in all their work.  Protect them from danger in their duties, shield them from temptation, and enable them to be role models for all whom they serve.

We also pray for police chaplains as they minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of our Police Force members.  May they act with compassion, wisdom and love as they support police officers in their line of duty.

We offer our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, who alone brings order to the human heart, peace to a troubled world and the hope of eternal life for all who put their trust in him.  Amen.”

Related: In April 2018, Keith Garner spoke with Anglicare’s NSW Police Chaplain, Rev Sarah Plummer for Wesley Impact! TV. Watch here.

Image: NSW Police Legacy.

Around Australia – 24th September 2018

Here are a few recent stories from around Australia which may be of interest:

After a long struggle, the Uniting Church becomes the first to offer same-sex marriage – SBS News.

Bill Hayden, former Labor leader, turns to God despite atheist past – ABC News.

Former atheist and political leader Bill Hayden baptised at age 85 – Catholic Leader.

“There’s been a gnawing pain in my heart and soul about what is the meaning of life. What’s my role in it?” Mr Hayden said.

At What Price Awakening? Examining the Theology and Practice of the Bethel Movement – Gospel Coalition Australia.

Brisbane Cathedral Pride Evensong Offers Prayers to “Erotic Christ” – David Ould.

Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Australia to be known as “GAFCON Australia”

“The AGM of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Australia has been held during the Anglican Future Conference in Melbourne.

The meeting agreed to change the public name and title to “GAFCON Australia” in order to match similar decisions in other provinces. …”

David Ould shares this and other news from the Anglican Future Conference in Melbourne.

Related:

Archbishop Davies presents proposal for NZ Anglican future (25 August 29018)

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