Abortion, Obscenity and Free Speech

“Sometimes a powerful visual image is what is needed to shock us into action. But can an image be so powerful and horrifying that it becomes “obscene” and hence unlawful to use in public?

That, it seems, is now the view being taken in Victoria of a particular type of image: pictures of unborn babies who have been killed. While the decision of a Victorian court, it may be followed elsewhere in Australia. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster (Associate Professor in Law at Newcastle) discusses the decision in Victoria, and implications for free speech.

Image: Australian Christian Lobby.

How showing a picture of a dead foetus has become a crime

“Showing a picture of a dead foetus in public is now a crime following a ruling in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday which will strengthen the hand of the abortion industry lobby across Australia, warns the Australian Christian Lobby.’…

– from The Australian Christian Lobby.

Beer, Bibles and free speech in Australia

“The Bible Society of Australia has recently celebrated its 200th birthday – a significant milestone in a country whose European settlement only took place about 230 years ago. It decided to celebrate the event by way of connecting with popular Australian culture – and in a fairly secular country, a key aspect of that culture is beer!

So in a creative move, the Society formed a partnership with Coopers, a long-established but slightly “niche” brewery, to arrange the release of cans of “Coopers Light”, a low-alcohol beer, with Bible verses on the cans. (The link was all the more appropriate because the motto of the Society was “Live Light”. Coopers also claims to be “Australia’s longest living family brewery”, having been established in 1862.)

So far, so good …”

– At MercatorNet, Neil Foster recounts the disturbing tale of the “Keeping it Light” video.

Coopers outrage ‘over the top’, Liberal MPs say

“The two Liberal MPs involved in a video which sparked outrage over Coopers Brewery’s links with The Bible Society have hit back, calling the public response ‘over the top’ and the brewer’s backdown ‘spineless’. …”

ABC News report. Image: ABC.

‘Beer and Bibles: brewery cops same-sex marriage backlash’

“Coopers has been copping a bit of flack over a video produced with the Bible Society in which two MPs debate same-sex marriage. …

– Story from ABC’s Triple J Hack.

Related: 1. Press release from Bible Society. 2. A good drop for the Good Book.

Update: Coopers Brewery distances itself from Bible Society’s marriage equality video, faces backlash – ABC News.

Report of the Select Committee on Same-Sex Marriage Bill

“The Senate Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill has now handed down its formal Report (15 Feb 2017). … 

At the moment the current Government’s preferred option, a plebiscite, has been rejected by the Parliament, and the Government has indicated that in line with its election commitments, it will not be moving to a vote in Parliament on the issue.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting some areas of consensus, and flagging the issues on which there still remains substantial disagreement.”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster highlights areas for further discussion in the Senate Select Committee report.

Christian events in Australia in 2017

Steve Kryger, at Communicate Jesus, continues his helpful tradition of compiling a list of Christian events in Australia.

Here’s his 2017 Calendar.

Australia Day Honours 2017

Over at SydneyAnglicans.net, Russell Powell has a report on Sydney Anglicans recognised in today’s Australia Day Honours.

40th anniversary of the Granville train disaster

“A former Police Rescue officer who personally rescued two people from the rubble of the Granville train disaster has reflected on the tragedy 40 years ago today.

Chief Inspector Gary Raymond APM, OAM (Retired) was a young member of the Police Rescue Squad which responded to the train derailment and bridge collapse in 1977 that claimed 83 lives and injured 213 others.  Read more

Overseas Muslim marriages and Australian law

Two cases involving purported marriages under Islamic law, entered into overseas by Australian residents, have received recent press coverage.

The decisions of the courts involved seem to be clearly correct, and they helpfully illustrate some important principles of Australian law. A person whose home is Australia cannot legally travel outside this country and enter into a valid marriage with a minor, or enter into a second marriage when already lawfully married under Australian law. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster looks at the operation of Australian law and overseas marriages.

Update on 2016 Law and Religion issues and preview for 2017

Assoc Prof Neil FosterIt seems a good time of the year to take stock of the current status of some important Law and Religion issues discussed this year, and to flag some upcoming issues for the New Year.”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster provides a concise summary of some of the key issues in 2016, plus a heads-up on another Parliamentary Inquiry, this one into “the status of the human right to freedom of religion or belief“.

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