Before you vote

“… I need to inform the church on recent events, and then I add my own plea based on the conviction that now is a critical moment in the life of our nation. Clearly, we have moved into a post-Christian world, and we expect this not to be reversed soon. But this doesn’t mean Christians lay down and roll over.

Because I was out of the country, on my invitation our Clerk signed letters on behalf of the PCA to Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten asking a series of searching questions ranging from religious freedoms in general, to employment in Christian Schools and holding to biblical views on marriage. The letters contained the same eleven probing questions, but couched differently according to the track record and previous statements made by each leader on particular subjects. They were co-signed by several evangelical churches and Christian schooling groups.

Yesterday, we received a reply from PM Scott Morrison. I encourage you to read the letter yourself …

No reply has been received from the Labor Party, except an automated confirmation that our concerns have been forwarded to their Campaign Team. …”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General John P Wilson shares the responses (so far) to the letter from Christian leaders to Mr Morrison and Mr Shorten.

Read it all, with the attachments linked to that post.

Religious Freedom and the Federal Election

“Australia goes to the polls in a Federal election on May 18, 2019.

It seems worthwhile to note, for those interested, some recent information about the views of the major political parties on religious freedom, and to report an important study of public opinion on the topic. …”

– A new post from Associate Professor Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia.

Standing with Israel Folau and religious freedom

“Archbishop Glenn Davies and the chair of the Religious Freedom Reference Committee, Bishop Michael Stead, have been pushing for assurances on religious freedom as the election campaign enters its final stages.

Concern about the issue has been heightened by the actions of Rugby Australia in sacking star player Israel Folau for a Christian message on Instagram.

Bishop Stead first raised concern soon after the controversy began when he told The Australian newspaper last month ‘If a rugby player can be sacked by doing nothing more than posting on his social media page what is essentially a summary of the Bible then it’s a signal to the rest of us that we better keep our mouths shut.’…”

Read the full story from SydneyAnglicans.net. (SBS image.)

See also this SBS report.

Israel Folau decision may set a course for the future

Christians across Australia have been given a message, ‘don’t commit social blasphemy’ and ‘be careful if you choose to use the Bible’. …

Lest we conclude that this story will soon be forgotten as a blip on the cultural radar, Rugby Australia’s stance may well soon find legislative legs. The Australian Labor Party (as the Greens have already done) have announced that they are considering expanding ‘anti-discrimination legislation to shield gay and transgender ­people from harmful speech if elected, in a move that has alarmed lawyers and free-speech advocates.’…

– Murray Campbell writes about what seems to be coming – and how Christian believers should respond.

Workplace Laws “a Test of Faith”

“Christian leaders have warned that workplace codes of conduct could force Australians to leave their faith ‘at home’, after Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison hid behind employment law in their comments on rugby union star ­Israel Folau.

Michael Stead, chair of the religious freedom reference group for the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, said he was frustrated that Mr Morrison and Mr Shorten characterised the dispute between Folau and Rugby Australia during Wednesday’s leaders debate in Canberra as a matter of workplace law. …”

– Story from The Australian. (Subscription)

Related:

Israel Folau’s case prompts Australian religious leaders to pen letters to Scott Morrison, Bill Shorten – ABC News.

A dangerous precedent for religious freedom in Australia

Here’s a media release from the Australian Christian Lobby:

Israel Folau Has Done Nothing Wrong 

The Australian Christian Lobby continues to stand with Israel Folau and maintains that he has a right to express his beliefs.  

“The decision by Rugby Australia means that quoting a bible verse is now considered a high-level breach against their code of conduct,” said ACL managing director Martyn Iles.

“This is a dangerous precedent for religious freedom in Australia.”

“According to RA, the very act of quoting a bible verse, which is believed by millions of Australians who profess a Christian faith and attend church regularly, is incompatible with being a rugby player.”

“This marginalises and silences a large portion of Australians who believe that sin is real, hell is real, and salvation in Jesus Christ is the equal answer for all, regardless of our identity or background.”

“All Australians should know that they are free to express their beliefs which form part of their identity without fear of being unfairly censored or discriminated against.”

Mr Iles said Israel Folau’s case clearly highlights the importance of religious freedom in Australia.

“We have been seeing the creep of compelled speech and slow removal of freedom for people of faith for some time now. It will fall to the next government to make sure that millions of Australians are allowed to continue to live out their beliefs without fear of discrimination.”

The Australian Christian Lobby will shortly launch a campaign to ensure the rights of millions of Australians for whom religious conviction is fundamental to their identity are protected.

Source. Photo: Players Voice.

Key questions on religious freedom: Freedom for Faith asks the major parties

Freedom for Faith has done voters a great service by asking both the major parties seven key questions on religious freedom.

(The views of minor parties were also sought, though they declined to respond.)

You can read the Executive Summary, and then scroll down for the full article. Well worth passing on to interested friends.

Federal election 2019: ‘Labor’s bid to ban anti-gay speech’

“Labor will consider expanding anti-discrimination legislation to shield gay and transgender ­people from harmful speech if elected, in a move that has alarmed lawyers and free-speech advocates. …”

– story from The Australian.

Related:

How Labor Will Impose the Queer Revolution – Quadrant Online:

“In December 2018, the ALP voted on the national platform they will take to the federal election. Among a suite of policies to advance the cause of LGBT rights, it included a statement of strong opposition to the deplorable practice of ‘conversion therapy’. On the face of it, there should be nothing alarming in this…”

What’s Next? Confidently Preaching Christ.

Archbishops Ben Kwashi (GAFCON General Secretary) and Foley Beach (GAFCON Chairman) are in Australia for the GAFCON Primates meeting which has just concluded.

After speaking in Sydney on Saturday 4th May, they will travel to Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth – details at GAFCON Australia.

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

The Drive to reach Australia

“We all want to reach Australia with the gospel. We want to see our friends, family and colleagues come to know and love the Lord Jesus. That’s a rallying point that we can all get behind.

And yet, at present, we’re facing an increasingly uphill battle. The average church size is no more than 70 across Australia, and ‘No Religion’ is now the fastest growing category of belief in Australia (ABS Census). What’s more, 56% of Aussies say they don’t even know anything about their local church. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Andrew Heard announces the launch of Reach Australia, and passes on news of their first conference.

The critics are wrong: religion has a place in the classroom

“There is much misinformation about special religious education, or SRE, in NSW public schools, propagated primarily by those who are anti-religion and have an ideological agenda to force their views onto the majority of Australians.

Yes, the majority. Despite Australians becoming less religious, the latest census data tells us that 70 per cent of Australians still identify with a religious faith. …”

– Murray Norman (CEO of Christian SRE) writes in The Sydney Morning Herald.

(Photo: ICCOREIS.)

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.”

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