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.

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”.)

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.

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.

‘No change to religion in Queensland state schools’

“There had been no change to religious instruction policy in Queensland schools said education Minister Kate Jones.
Ms Jones said the Palaszczuk Government supported religious instruction in state schools in consultation with parents…”

– Part of a media statement from the Queensland Government.

For background – see this earlier opinion piece from Murray Campbell:

“In the school playground, children talk about everything and anything: what they watch on television, who is eating what for lunch, their favourite sporting players and what bands they’re listening too, and what they’re hoping to do on the weekend. But if the Queensland Education Department have their way, the one topic children will not be allowed to speak about is Jesus.

In our click bait media culture, it is sometimes hard to discern real stories from the dubious, but sure enough, this story is legitimate.

The Queensland Education Department have undertaken to inform schools that children are not to discuss Christianity outside formal Religious Instruction classes.

and also this story from, Christmas cards, Jesus talk to be discouraged in ‘inclusive’ Qld schools.

“Christmas cards and Jesus talk may be quashed in Queensland school yards after a review into religious instruction by the state’s education department. The Australian has today revealed that the move to discourage Christianity references in the state’s school yards comes as part of a bid to crack down on “junior evangelists” who may be imposing their beliefs on non-Christians. …”

Bill Muehlenberg at CultureWatch writes (28 July 2017):

“This hastily released statement is really about two things: damage control, and sleight-of-hand government-speak. There was a huge public backlash about this, with petitions circulating, letters being written, and MPs being contacted. So the Labor government had to move quickly.”

Photo: The Hon. Kate Jones.

ABC ignored church’s ‘positive story’

“A senior female Anglican leader has expressed ‘disappointment’ that her ‘positive’ story in fighting domestic violence was ignored by the ABC in its controversial TV program claiming Christian men who go to church occasionally are the worst abusers of women.

Sydney diocese Archdeacon for Women Kara Hartley was ­interviewed for more than an hour by ABC journalist Julia Baird for the report on 7:30 that aired on Wednesday night, but none of her comments were aired.…

Archdeacon Hartley’s remarks came as the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, ­revealed he had, on request, provided the ABC with extensive comments for a related online essay by Baird and co-author ­Hayley Gleeson. But not only did Baird and Gleeson not publish any of his remarks, they falsely reported he had not responded.

Only after the diocese made an official complaint to the ABC did it amend the article yesterday.”

– Story from The Australian. (Photo courtesy Sam Law.)


A summary of major public statements from Diocesan Leadership on the issue of Domestic Violence – Anglican Diocese of Sydney.

Domestic Violence: A starting point for answers – Kara Hartley, The Australian Church Record.

Bolt Report editorial, 20 July 2017. – Sky News via The Herald Sun.


An Unholy Row – ABC TV Media Watch, 24 July 2017.

Religious Freedom Protection in Australia — 2017 update

Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia writes:

“I recently presented a paper surveying general religious freedom protections available in Australia, based on a similar paper I presented in 2015 but updated with some more recent developments. The paper can be downloaded here. …

Hopefully the paper will be a useful resource in this area.”

Freedom laws needed

“The Diocese of Sydney, along with a number of other Christian groups, has called for special legislation to enshrine freedom of belief as a ‘positive right’ in Australia, rather than as a negative ‘exemption’ to other legislation.

The call came in a submission to the Federal Government inquiry into the ‘protection and promotion of the human right to freedom of religion or belief worldwide, including in Australia’. …”

– Report from Russell Powell at

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