Fined for declining to make a “transgender cake”

“A Colorado District Court has handed down a decision imposing a penalty on a cake-maker for declining to provide a cake designed to celebrate a ‘gender transition’, in Scardina v Masterpiece Cakeshop Inc (Denver District Ct, Co; 19CV32214, 15 June 2021).…”

– Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia on a new, yet familiar, challenge.

The Inside Story

“The values of liberal democracy overlap with Judaeo-Christian values, both of which are currently under threat. We have the latter values thanks to the Decalogue in the Tanakh, the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, and the admonitions of the apostles recorded in their letters.

These values include due acknowledgement and love for the Almighty, care of neighbour, respect for governing authorities, lifelong commitment in marriage, responsible upbringing of children, and the expectation of working to provide for the family. …”

Bishop Paul Barnett AM shares this short but enlightening paper on the origins of the underpinnings of western civilisation.

Image: Aquila Press.

Belief that sex is immutable can be a protected belief

“The view that biological sex is immutable and that a man cannot become a woman is, of course, controversial today. But in a very welcome decision, the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal in Forstater v CGD Europe [2021] UKEAT 0105_20_1006 (10 June 2021) has now overturned a previous single judge decision, and ruled that such a belief is “worthy of protection” as a “philosophical belief” under UK discrimination law.

The decision, while not based on religious belief, will have important implications for protection of religious freedom in the UK, and hopefully in other parts of the world as well. …”

– Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia shares a UK decision which coincides with Religious Freedom Weekend in Australia.

Talking Freely Podcast – Dr Rory Shiner

With Religious Freedom Weekend coming up, in the latest podcast from Freedom for Faith, Dr Rory Shiner speaks about secularism.

Other episodes of the Talking Freely Podcast can be found here.

(Image: The Pastor’s Heart.)

 

The religious freedom crisis – with Freedom for Faith’s Patrick Parkinson

“Religious Freedom is being increasingly marginalised in Australia and across the western world.

There’s freedom for worship, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience.

Australia’s Morrison government was moving to protect religious freedoms.  But all this was put on hold by last year’s pandemic.

Freedom for Faith’s Chair Professor Patrick Parkinson talks with Dominic Steele about his hopes for bipartisan legislation.

Plus there’s a call for all Christians to be involved in this weekend’s Religious Freedom Weekend.”

– Watch or listen at The Pastor’s Heart.

Can employees be ordered to support controversial views in email signatures?

“This question has been raised by a report that a Victorian council has required its employees to add a graphic to their email addresses featuring a “rainbow flag”. One employee is reported as saying:

the rainbow flag can look like moral support for identity politics or sexualities prohibited by many religions in this multicultural area

This is an important issue which will present challenges to employees of organisations which are determined to make political statements on various causes. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster looks at a question of growing importance.

Bishop of Gippsland supports Synod motion endorsing extra-marital relationships

“The Diocese of Gippsland, at its recent synod, has voted to change its own version of Faithfulness in Service, the national church’s guidelines for standards in ministry, to remove the classical definition of chaste relationships (marriage between a man and a woman) and replace it with a more ambiguous definition of ‘committed and monogamous relationship’.

The resolution came from Bishop-in-Council and was endorsed by Bishop Richard Treloar in his Presidential Address. …”

– Report from davidould.net.

See also:

Bishop Treloar’s Presidential Address, 2021. (PDF file.)

The Gippsland Anglican, June 2021. (PDF file.)

A statement from GAFCON Australia: (June 01 2021, on Facebook)

“Gafcon Australia

Please find below a Statement from Gafcon Australia concerning a resolution of the synod of the Diocese of Gippsland.

In May 2021, the Synod of the Diocese of Gippsland made the following resolution:

1. In accordance with Section 7 of the Professional Standards Act 2017 and subject to the qualification that:
– Clauses 7.2 and 7.4 of Faithfulness in Service are to be understood and applied in the context that a member of the clergy or church worker who is in a committed and monogamous relationship with another person is not to be regarded as being in breach of Clauses 7.2 and 7.4 only because that relationship does not have the status of a marriage solemnised according to an Anglican marriage rite;
– Faithfulness in Service (November 2016 version) is otherwise affirmed and adopted as the Code of Conduct for observance by Clergy and Church workers in the Diocese.

2. The registrar shall amend the version of Faithfulness in Service published on the Diocesan website by inserting the qualification below the heading “Preamble” to section 7 of Faithfulness in Service and include the following note: –
(Faithfulness in Service was qualified by this paragraph when adopted by the Diocese of Gippsland as the Code of Conduct for observance by Clergy and Church workers in the Diocese.)

It grieves the Board of Gafcon Australia that the Bishop-in-Council of the Diocese of Gippsland promoted a motion to their Synod, which amended the operation of Faithfulness in Service, the National Code of conduct for church workers, in their Diocese.

The effect of this resolution is to sanction sexual relationships outside of marriage, as the Anglican Church of Australia has received it and continues to uphold. It is regrettable that by removing the possibility of any disciplinary action against a member of the clergy or lay church worker in such a sexual relationship with another person (whether of the same sex or opposite sex) the Diocese’s Code of Conduct is now in breach of the teaching of Scripture (Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral) and the teaching of marriage that our Church upholds.

Gafcon Australia supports those Anglicans in Gippsland who are likewise grieved by this development.

From the Board of Gafcon Australia.”

Image: Diocese of Gippsland.

Facebook apparently terminates a leading cultural commentator

“If you live outside of Australia, you might not be familiar with the name Bill Muehlenberg. But he is undoubtedly one of the most prolific, learned, insightful, and theologically grounded cultural commentators in the world. And now it appears he has been terminated by Facebook.

As he wrote on May 27, ‘I am now persona non grata in the eyes of Facebook,’ although, he explains, ‘my actual crimes are still a mystery to me.’

What he does know is this: ‘Over 15 years’ worth of work with hundreds of thousands of posts, comments and articles completely erased – in an instant! Nearly 5000 contacts all stolen away from me! Stalin would be so very envious! Hitler would be jealous!’…”

– Michael Brown at The Christian Post highlights another apparent cancelling – this time of Bill Muehlenberg (pictured) in Melbourne.

Palliative Care and The Art of Dying Well

“Modern palliative care emerged in the late 1960s through the work of Dame Cicely Saunders, widely acknowledged as its founder, in the United Kingdom. She believed that caring for people requires caring about them. She combined the tradition of hospitality in medieval religious communities (hospice) with modern medical techniques for treatment of symptoms.

She studied the stories of terminally ill patients and found that their suffering involved, not just physical pain, but also had social, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, palliative care doctor Megan Best writes during National Palliative Care Week (23-29 May 2021).

By contrast:

A media release from the Australian Christian Lobby:

South Australian Parliament votes to end life during Palliative Care Week – Australian Christian Lobby.

This week is National Palliative Care Week in Australia. It is a time that the nation’s mind should be focused on supporting and caring for the terminally ill.

Instead, the South Australian Parliament last night voted to progress the physician assisted suicide bill.

Christopher Brohier, SA Director for the Australian Christian Lobby said, “It is evident that government resources are being used to further the physician assisted suicide bill.

“The Health Minister last week released an anonymous paper from Wellbeing SA arguing against institutional conscientious objection rights. The government is therefore putting itself in direct conflict with Calvary Hospitals, one of the state’s largest palliative care providers.

“The Parliament and the Health Minister must take into account the views of Calvary Hospitals,” said Mr Brohier. “The bill must be amended in the committee stage to provide for institutional conscientious objection rights.”

The ACL urged the South Australian Parliament to reject the bill or significantly amend it when the third reading vote occurs.

ENDS

The Equality Act, other symbols of a new era, and the church’s response

“Phil Ashey of ACNA’s American Anglican Council has written with customary clarity about the implications of the Equality Act for Christian life and witness in the US.

Behind the (as many see them) apparently reasonable laws to prevent egregious and unjust discrimination are assumptions contained in the Act about belief and worldview.

It is not just actions which will now be policed (for example, refusing to bake a cake celebrating a same sex wedding,), but words. It seems that to express publicly a view derived from the bible about binary genders and a heterosexual norm might become ‘legally discriminatory’. Canon Ashey shows how the definition of ‘public space’ has been widened specifically to include churches. …”

– Andrew Symes writes at Anglican Mainstream.

The Equality Act and the future of Religious Freedom in the USA

“For the past few months, American Christian commentators have watched the Equality Act (Amendment HR5) make its way through Congress.

The Act presents a serious challenge to religious freedom and directly affects the rights of Christians and other religious worshippers to express beliefs that may be contradictory to the cultural zeitgeist and are deemed discriminatory. …”

– At The American Anglican Council, Canon Phil Ashey outlines some of the challenges coming for Christians in his country – and doubtless in many other places as well.

Police arrest London preacher for saying what the Bible says about marriage

“Pastor John Sherwood was arrested in North West London on Friday 23 April 2021 and detained overnight – all for speaking about what the Bible says about marriage.

John, in his early 70s, is minister of a north London church, and was preaching with a colleague in the centre of Uxbridge on Friday, as he regularly does. After speaking on the final verses in Genesis 1, where it says that God created mankind in his own image, creating them male and female, a number of police officers appeared on the scene. …”

– Story from Christian Concern.

See an eyewitness account at The Conservative Woman.

Martyn Iles, Q and A and what it tells us about Australia today

“The Sydney Morning Herald thought this week’s Q and A was a significant cultural moment – so who are we to disagree?!  They compared it with another one in 2008 where the shibboleth question for our culture, that of homosexuality, came up. It was indeed a revealing programme – telling us a great deal about where Australian culture, politics and religion are at – and where we are heading. …

It was the appearance of Martyn Iles that was too much for some people – even before he had been on the show. …”

– David Robertson writes at AP (the national Journal of the Presbyterian Church of Australia) and gives thanks for Martyn Iles.

Related:

Excerpts from the programme may be seen here. Or the whole thing on the Q and A website (9th April 2021).

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