Call to pray for Australia

The Bishop of South Sydney, Dr. Michael Stead, has written to all Senior Ministers in Sydney diocese, asking them to encourage their congregations to pray for our nation, especially for the 21 days leading up to the Federal election on May 18 –

“Christians across a wide range of denominations are joining in 21 days of prayer, commencing this Sunday (28 April). Each denomination will do this in their own way. …

In particular, people are being encouraged to pray for the following 4 things.

  1. Pray that God would rule over this election that righteous leaders would be elected to govern this nation in truth and justice because, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice.” Proverbs 29:2.
  2. Pray God’s blessing upon all our current parliamentarians and leaders, including their families and all the candidates of all the parties standing for this federal election. 1 Timothy 2:1-3.
  3. Pray for a multiplication of prayer and unity across the Body of Christ in Australia that people will wake up to the dangers facing our nation and respond in prayer. Ephesians 5:14.
  4. Pray for a Spiritual Awakening for Australia, Revival and Transformation for our nation and the proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16.

The organisation behind the Canberra Declaration have prepared 21 daily devotionals, for optional use. People who wish to can register to receive a daily email here – https://canberradeclaration.org.au/prayer/election-2019.”

What’s Next? Confidently Preaching Christ. Saturday 4th May.

Archbishops Ben Kwashi (GAFCON General Secretary) and Foley Beach (GAFCON Chairman) will be in Australia for the Gafcon Primates meeting in April.

Following the meeting they will be speaking and answering questions at Moore College in Sydney on Saturday 4th May, and in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth on the following days.

Their topic is: What’s Next? Confidently Preaching Christ.

You can use the links above to register for the events, and to see a message from Bishop Richard Condie.

Reflections on the Israel Folau affair

“Celebrity rugby player Israel Folau is in a complicated legal position. He shared a ‘meme’ on social media site Instagram recently, the text of which was: ‘Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You – Repent! Only Jesus Saves.’

To this he added his own personal comment: ‘Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.’ …

His remarks were not well-received by many members of the public, and in particular by the peak bodies in rugby. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster offers some comments on the latest news relating to Israel Folau.

‘Folau Sacking is Religious Discrimination’

Here is a media release from the Australian Christian Lobby* –

“The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed deep disappointment with Rugby Australia over plans to sack Israel Folau just for stating his beliefs.

We continue to stand with Israel Folau and support his right to express his beliefs,” said ACL’s managing director, Martyn Iles.

‘Far from being homophobic, Israel Folau’s social media post was very inclusive – drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters – is a list which includes everyone, affirming the Christian teaching that all are equal in our need of salvation.’ …”

– Read it all at The Australian Christian Lobby.

Related: Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union statement regarding Israel Folau.

* The Australian Christian Lobby and the Anglican Church League have the same initials, but are separate organisations.

(Photo: PlayersVoice.)

The outrage mob is out to get Folau

“The outrage mob is out in force following rugby star Israel Folau’s latest social media comments.

The mob wants to more than disagree with Folau’s opinion, as is our right in a free society. It wants to ban him from expressing it, which is totalitarian. …”

– Morgan Begg,a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, writes in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Related:

Israel Folau to be sacked by Rugby Australia over homophobic comments – ABC News.

What the hell, Australia? – David Ould.

See also earlier posts – mainly from April 2018, including a media statement, at the time, from Archbishop Glenn Davies:

“The way Israel Folau is treated will be a test of Australian Rugby’s ‘inclusion’ policy.

Israel Folau should be free to hold and express traditional, Biblical views on marriage and sexuality without being penalized – just as other players have spoken out with their differing views. …”

The 2019 Federal Election and Religious Freedom issues

Freedom for Faith Executive Director Michael Kellahan writes,

“The long awaited election has been called for 18 May. …

All the parties voice a commitment to religious freedom. What we need to know though is how this stated commitment will find expression at law. We have written to the parties asking a series of specific questions which will help you understand their positions heading into the election. We will publish a table of their responses.”

This article from Freedom for Faith board member Professor Patrick Parkinson discusses the key religious freedom issues. “Religious Freedom after Ruddock”:

“With the federal election campaign just around the corner, it would be understandable if people of faith were confused about the stance the major political parties take on religious issues, particularly given the differing responses of these parties to the Ruddock Report on religious freedom, which was completed in May 2018.”

High Court upholds abortion buffer zone laws

“In an important decision on free speech issues, the High Court of Australia, in its decision in Clubb v Edwards; Preston v Avery [2019] HCA 11 (10 April 2019), has upheld the validity of laws in Victoria and Tasmania prohibiting communication about abortion within 150m of an abortion clinic.

The decision may have serious implications for free speech about other issues on which religious believers have deep-seated convictions contrary to the general orthodoxy of modern Australian society. …”

– Associate Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

See also:

Kathy Clubb’s storyAustralian Christian Lobby.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – David Ould.

Dr. Stuart Piggin to speak on Australia’s Christian heritage

In an event in Parramatta on Monday 1st April, Professor Stuart Piggin will speak on the key influence of an evangelical Christian worldview in the shaping of Australia.

See Family Voice Australia for details and registration.

(See also, The Fountain of Public Prosperity – Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740–1914, by Stuart Piggin and Robert D. Linder, from Monash University Publishing.)

Chaplains to be banned in ACT public schools

“Chaplains will be banned from Canberra’s public schools from the end of the year in a move that goes beyond federal Labor policy to allow a choice of religious or secular workers. …”

– Report from ABC News.

Religious ‘vilification’ not unlawful in NSW

“In an important decision on religion and free speech in NSW, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled today in Ekermawi v Nine Network Australia Pty Limited [2019] NSWCATAD 29 (15 Feb 2019) that it is not a breach of the law in NSW to make offensive comments about a religion.

However, the case involved some difficult issues of law, and while the outcome seems correct, it may foreshadow a restrictive approach to free speech in other cases in the future…”

– Assoc. Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

Never mind the naysayers: Franklin Graham’s visit is good news for Australia

“US evangelist, the Rev. Franklin Graham, has begun his Australian tour. From 9-24 February, he is holding a series of evangelistic rallies in Perth, Darwin, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney. Rev. Graham is the son of the late evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham (1918-2018), and his Australian tour is timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of his father’s epochal 1959 crusades in Australia.

Throughout his public ministry the forthright evangelist has courted controversy for his frank pronouncements on contentious issues. His occasional wading into the political fray has raised the ire of many, both inside and outside the church, yet his visit to Australia this month is good news. …”

– David Furse-Roberts writes at ABC Religion & Ethics.

Senate committee report on “Religious Schools and Discrimination” bill

“The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has now (Feb 14, 2019) tabled its Report on the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018, a Private Senator’s Bill introduced last year by Senator Wong with the support of the ALP. (The background to the Bill can be found in previous posts on this blog, starting here, the most recent of which was here.)

The recommendation of the majority is that the Bill not be approved, and instead that the Bill and related issues “be referred to the Australian Law Reform Commission for full and proper consideration” (para 3.86). …

However, in the current Parliamentary situation in Australia at the moment … it is worth noting the dissenting ALP senators’ report.”

– Assoc. Professor Neil Foster provides an update on the Senate committee report on the proposed “Religious Schools and Discrimination” bill.

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