Victorian proposals to further limit religious freedom rights

“The Victorian government has recently announced proposals to further limit important protections for religious freedom currently applicable to religious persons, bodies and schools in that State.

The recent proposals have been put forward as dealing with the problem of religious schools sacking gay teachers, or expelling gay students: see this comment from The Age: “Religious schools in Victoria to lose the right to sack LGBTQ staff” (Sept 16, 2021).

However, the details of the proposals hinted at in the recent “Fact Sheet” provided by the government go much further than this. …”

Read the details from Associate Professor Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia.

Victorian Government to Discriminate against Faith-Based Schools

“The past 18 months have proven difficult for all Victorians. During this time 100,000s of Victorians rely on and are grateful for the support, care, and education provided by religious organisations: from schools to counselling services, and more. Churches have continued to minster to people and offer hope where disease and lockdowns have darkened the lives of so many. During this same period, the Victorian Government has moved again and again to reduce the freedoms of religious organisations for the simple reasons: for holding beliefs and practices that align with the historical convictions of their religion. …

By the end of the year, hundreds of schools and organisations will need to decide who they’ll follow.”

– Murray Campbell in Melbourne writes of yet another threat coming from the Government of the State of Victoria.

Queensland legalises voluntary assisted dying

“Queensland will become the fifth state to legalise voluntary assisted dying (VAD) after state Parliament passed a historic bill today.

After more than two days of emotionally charged debate, the bill passed with 61 MPs supporting the legislation and 30 voting against it. …

Meanwhile, the new legislation has been described as “deeply disappointing” by the Chair of Catholic Health Australia, John Watkins.

He said the organisation had made it clear they did not want to allow voluntary assisted dying in faith-based hospitals or aged care facilities in Queensland.”

– Report from ABC News.

Call for all Queensland euthanasia amendments to be heard

“The nation’s most extreme euthanasia legislation has been tabled in Queensland Parliament and the government has declared they will end the debate at 5:45pm on Thursday 16 September – whether or not all amendments have been tabled and discussion has been allowed.

This is essentially a gagging rule. 54 amendments have been tabled. Every one of them should be allowed to be presented and considered. …“

– The Australian Christian Lobby, and a number of Queensland politicians are calling for all proposed amendments to the euthanasia legislation to be debated.

Church in Wales ‘abandons the Christian faith’

“On Monday 6 September, the Church in Wales voted to allow its clergy to bless same-sex ‘marriages’ and civil partnerships.

This was not entirely unexpected given the decline of Christian doctrine and ethics within the Church in Wales in recent years. …”

Carys Moseley at AnglicanInk looks at what the Church in Wales’ decision amounts to.

See also:

Church approves blessing service for same-sex partnerships – The Church in Wales.

Church in Wales gives ‘gospel-inspired lead’ to C of E, says Bishop of Liverpool – Church Times.

Photo: Bishop Gregory Cameron, courtesy The Church in Wales.

Debating the Church and same-sex marriage

“On Friday 3rd September, at 2.10 pm, I had a phone call from a number I did not recognise. When I answered, it turned out to be from a BBC researcher asking if I would appear on BBC1 on Sunday morning for a debate about the Church of England and same-sex marriage, in the light of the coming vote taking place in the Church in Wales.

I have been preaching in different churches, covering for vacancies, but it just happened that this Sunday I did not have a commitment.

As I have said elsewhere, when someone makes a media request like this, the first thing to say is ‘Yes’…”

Dr Ian Paul shares his experience (and video) of being interviewed on BBC TV last week. Do pray for those who stand for the authority of God’s Word.

The interview can be seen here – and this exchange calls to mind Luke 11:17.

A Profile of Moral Collapse: President Biden, Abortion, and the Culture of Death

“Almost fifty years after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains the moral issue in American public discourse and politics.

There are very few profiles in courage in American politics. This seems especially true when it comes to the defense of unborn life. The political predicament of a pro-life politician is this – the political class and the New York-Hollywood-Silicon Valley axis reward those who abandon pro-life positions and condemn those who refuse to surrender.

A particularly important profile in moral collapse now resides in the White House. The story of President Joe Biden’s slippery shape-shifting on the abortion issue is both revealing and horrifying.

Brace yourself. …”

In his latest essay, Albert Mohler looks at what happens when leaders abandon their ‘devoutly held beliefs’ for political expediency. This is not a ‘party political’ commentary, but a chronicling of one man’s moral shift, at the expense of countless unborn lives. Mohler ends with a challenge to us all.

Fighting the euthanasia debate and what if we lose?

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“What are the consequences if euthanasia is legalised?  And how do we fight the issue?

Legislation is before the Queensland Parliament and is about to come to the parliament in the UK and in New South Wales to allow euthanasia.

And laws permitting euthanasia have already been passed in Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand… there’s a bit of a sense that even if the conservatives succeed in holding out this time…  at some stage it feels like it will happen.

Euthanasia is illegal in most of the United States, although significantly it is legal in the more progressive Washington, D.C. and seven states.

Andrew Errington is Senior Minister of Newtown Erskineville Angican Church.

Megan Best is a palliative care doctor and  associate professor with the Institute for Ethics and Society at the University of Notre Dame.”

A very important optic.

Watch or listen here.

Bishop of Newcastle “Lifts Ban on Same-Sex Blessings”

“In a move that can only serve to push the Anglican Church of Australia into much deeper crisis, the Bishop of Newcastle Peter Stuart has written a Pastoral Letter where he signals his approval of clergy conducting a blessing of couples married in a same-sex marriage.

In his familiar style, Stuart does not explicitly state the change of conditions but his meaning has been clearly understood by its recipients …”

David Ould reports on the Pastoral Letter from Bishop Peter Stuart to the Clergy of the Diocese of Newcastle dated 9 August 2021.

Related:

Gafcon Australia moves ahead — plans for new Australian diocese – 19 July 2021.

Anglican bishop: ‘No-religion’ census campaign is quite ‘frankly bizarre’

“Anglican Bishop of South Sydney Dr Michael Stead says he finds it ‘bizarre’ that there needs to be a concerted campaign by the Rationalist Society, atheists and the like to try and dissuade people from saying they are religious in the census. …”

– Story and video from Sky News Australia.

Five Foundations that Lead to Compromise on Sexual Ethics

“Even if all roads eventually lead to the sexual-ethics-line-in-the-sand, they don’t all originate in the same place. It’s helpful to consider some of the different, subtle shapes Christianity can take that at first might seem benign – but will later set up a Christian for compromise.

From what I’ve observed, most deconstructing Christians who shift on sexual ethics come from a faith background that has one (or more) of these precarious foundations…”

– Brett McCracken at The Gospel Coalition seeks to help Christians stand against the tide.

John Anderson with Carl Trueman on Hedonism and the Modern Psychological Self

In his latest “Direct” interview, John Anderson speaks with Carl Trueman:

“They discuss the modern self in an age of culture wars, including the societal shift of the perception of happiness and gratification, the technological revolution, and the sexual revolution and its ties to authoritarianism.”

– At johnanderson.net.au.

(The video file on YouTube is indexed to allow you to jump to the various topics covered.)

Related:

Review: ‘The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self’ by Carl Trueman.

Catholic Archbishop of Sydney on ‘Alex Greenwich’s Kill Bill’

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher has released a statement about the assisted suicide legislation being introduced into NSW Parliament by independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich:

“There’s never a good time to introduce laws that sanction the killing of vulnerable human beings such as the terminally ill, elderly, frail and suffering. But to introduce such a bill in the middle of a pandemic and amidst lockdowns adversely affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions seems especially insensitive.

The people of NSW are currently accepting significant restrictions on their personal autonomy in order to protect those most at risk – particularly the elderly. In response to the latest wave of COVID-19, we’ve had a month of lockdown already and more is likely. Many of us have been unable to visit our elderly parents at home, in hospital or in aged care. Our sick and elderly have already suffered 17 months of increasing isolation and right now that is being intensified. Meanwhile, people are losing their jobs, businesses are going under, families are under the pressures of schooling and working from home, people’s movements are severely restricted, and depression rates are up. The last thing we need to hear from our leaders in this situation is a pro-suicide message or any suggestion that the elderly and dying no longer deserve the resources or protections given to the rest of us.

The NSW Government is rightly focused on getting us safely vaccinated and out of lockdown as soon as possible, and leading the process of social and economic recovery.

The NSW Health System is rightly focused on keeping the elderly and sick safe, and ensuring the system can cope with the increasing pressures upon it. Our health professionals do not want a bruising controversy that will further disrupt their already very pressured work environment.

In the face of our present emergency precious parliamentary time and health resources should not be diverted to other causes, and especially not to a bill that would enable a small group of highly autonomous people to make their doctors complicit in their suicide. The state-sanctioned killing of the sick, elderly and frail of New South Wales is the last thing we need right now! I call on the Government to keep us focused on the present challenges and once they have been met, let us focus on medicine at its best and not its most lethal.

Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP
Archbishop of Sydney.”

Source (PDF).

Related:

NSW assisted suicide bid must fail – Australian Christian Lobby, 15 December 2020.

Assisted suicide opposed – SydneyAnglicans.net, 08 September 2017.

Palliative Care It’s More Than You Think – Palliative Care Australia.

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