“The passing of the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage has triggered a round of Australian advocates announcing that it is now ‘our turn’. We lag behind the UK, many European countries, some states in the US, and (perish the thought!) New Zealand, and we ought to get with the programme.
The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, in line with the new ALP dogma, has announced that he is introducing a private members bill into Parliament next Monday…
How could anyone stand opposed? The terms in which the pro-marriage redefinition case are stated make it sound as inevitable as the dawn, and as unstoppable as the tide. And these same terms make opposing a redefinition of marriage sound primitive and even barbaric. There are those in favour of change, we are told, and then there are the bigots.”
– Dr. Michael Jensen writes at the ABC’s The Drum.
Related: The Australian Christian Lobby lists some of the consequences of same sex marriage for the free exercise of religion.
Changing the definition of marriage has far reaching consequences. It is time to press pause and think again.”
– The Australian Christian Lobby raises a number of questions in the midst of a push for same sex marriage in Australia.
Speaking to a national meeting of Boy Scouts of America leaders, President Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, called for the B.S.A. to abandon its policy of allowing the participation of openly gay scouts, but not the involvement of openly-gay adults…
By any honest account, the policy adopted in 2013 was a compromise that anyone could see would not hold. … the B.S.A. put itself in a no-man’s land of moral evasion.”
– Albert Mohler on the predicament facing the Boy Scouts of America.
Related: Dr. Robert M. Gates at 2015 Boy Scouts of America National Annual Meeting. Watch from 08:40.
“If I had to choose only one book to recommend to someone (whether a Christian or non-Christian) who wanted to read a basic overview of what the Bible says about homosexuality and what that means for today, this is it.”
– Andy Naselli on “What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?” by Kevin DeYoung.
Update: See Kevin DeYoung speak on this topic (March 2015) at a special event at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. 63 minutes.
Related: Human Sexuality and the ‘Same Sex Marriage’ Debate, from The Sydney Doctrone Commission.
“My previous post mentioned that some books used in Special Religious Education (SRE) in NSW had been summarily banned by the Department of Education and Communities, apparently on the grounds that they conveyed classical Christian teaching about sexual morality.
In that post I said:
It is to be hoped that on review the Department will realise both that the way this was done is entirely unacceptable, and also that the content of the books concerned is not as harmful as it has been alleged to be.
One of those hopes has been realised, but the other has not…”
– at Law and Religion Australia, Associate Professor in Law, Neil Foster revisits the SRE ‘book banning’ in NSW. His comments are well worth reading in full – and be sure to follow the links.
“The United States has avoided Europe’s fate for a long time, but the churches here have finally lost the ability to coast on cultural momentum. The churches that don’t retrench around building their internal strength and coherence around orthodoxy – and that requires far more than catechesis, but it requires at least that: teaching our story to our children – and evangelizing from that position of strength, aren’t going to survive. The overculture is just too strong. The forces of atomization and desacralization are very hard to resist.
This is a reality that many Christians, Christians of all kinds, do not want to face. …
… if we believe that being winsome and likable and all that is going to earn us any points with the overculture, we are making a dangerous mistake. Assimilation is not going to be allowed absent giving up what makes Christians distinctive from the rest of the culture.”
– at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher urges Christians to prepare for the long night ahead.
“For years leading up to Ireland’s civil partnership legislation, a small nongovernmental organisation (NGO) – the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) – along with its many supporters and collaborators, worked quietly and methodically toward this day. …
In 2005, GLEN received a sizable long-term grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies that allowed GLEN to increase its organisational capacity and to pursue its ambitious advocacy strategy for advancing equality for gays and lesbians in Ireland.
The story of how Ireland’s landmark legislation was achieved for same-sex couples holds insights and lessons for any advocacy group trying to achieve legislative change…”
– This PDF document, available on The Atlantic Philanthropies website, charts how minority groups were able to achieve the goal of Civil Partnership in Ireland back in 2010.
See also: Catalysing LGBT Equality and Visibility in Ireland (PDF).
Asking questions about funding for referendum campaign – Irish Times, 9th May 2015:
“The only acceptable narrative is that this is a benign grassroots movement, because if we admitted that it is instead a slick, elite movement of highly educated professionals funded from abroad we might have to admit we were skilfully manipulated. And that could not be true.”
Editorial Comment from Anglican Mainstream, 23 May 2015:
“This is a sad day for all who have campaigned and prayed for Ireland to hold the line on keeping the definition of marriage as an exclusive covenant between a man and a woman for life.
The result is not a surprise, because of orchestrated cultural change, huge disparity in resources between the Yes campaign (backed by government, media and American dollars), and the aggressive vilification of any individuals courageous enough to speak up for historic sexual morality, the sanctity of marriage and the bedrock of biological families.”
For much of the twentieth century, especially in the South and parts of the Midwest, one had to at least claim to be a Christian to be ‘normal.’ During the Cold War, that meant distinguishing oneself from atheistic Communism. At other times, it has meant seeing churchgoing as a way to be seen as a good parent, a good neighbor, and a regular person.
It took courage to be an atheist, because explicit unbelief meant social marginalization. Rising rates of secularization, along with individualism, means that those days are over—and good riddance to them.…”
– Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention responds to a recent study on church attendance in the USA. (h/t Justin Taylor.)
“The 1950s saw large church and Sunday School attendances. The churches seemed to be flourishing. But an acute observer would have been very worried even then. The Christianity of the people was not evangelical. It was a sort of ‘common Christianity’, a ‘lowest common denominator’ Christianity. It had a strong moral emphasis; Christianity was about behaviour not belief; parents sent their children to Sunday School in the hope that they would grow up decent citizens rather than committed Christians. To be born once was enough; to be born again was excessive. The ranks of church-goers were swollen with the unsaved. The real religion was materialism.”
“There has been quite some concern in Christian circles in my home State of NSW over the last few days, over bureaucratic action to ‘ban’ some books from being used in Special Religious Education classes.
While events are still unfolding (the relevant Department has so far made no general public comment on the matter, which seems to be promised for the coming week), it seems worthwhile to set some of this dispute in legal context…”
– Neil Foster shares some much-needed background to SRE in schools at Law & Religion Australia.