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.


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

The ‘Wrong Man’ to accuse of a hate incident

From Christian Concern in the UK:

Former police officer Harry Miller writes about his important legal case against the police for recording non-crime hate incidents. Harry explains why the police picked ‘the wrong man’ when they found him guilty without trial of a non-crime hate incident.

“Since October 2020, The College of Policing has authorised the police to record the details of school children accused of wrong-speak. Questioning gender ideology, supporting a traditional position on marriage, criticising the hijab, laughing at the wrong Charlie Hebdo cartoon, or even preaching the gospel during lunch is now subject to rubber stamping by the Thought Police…”

Read it all here.

NSW Parliamentary report supports religious discrimination law

“The recently released NSW Parliamentary Report of the Joint Select Committee on the Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020 (handed down on 31 March 2021) has recommended that the NSW government introduce amendments to make it unlawful in NSW to discriminate on irrelevant grounds relating to religious belief or activity.

The proposals supported by the Committee are a good idea and I think their recommendations (with a couple of minor reservations noted below) should be implemented. …”

— Assoc. Professor Neil Foster has the latest on NSW proposals.

Peter Jensen speaks with John Anderson

In his latest Conversations videos, John Anderson speaks with former Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Peter Jensen.

This wide-ranging and deeply personal interview is well worth your time – and is also worth sending to your friends, believers or otherwise.

What would a conversion therapy ban mean for gay Christians like me?

“As a gay Christian, I’m worried about the calls to ban ‘gay conversion therapy’.

Of course, it’s right that gay people are protected and some of the practices referred to as conversion therapy are deeply wrong. But there’s a danger that  badly-drafted legislation could make life impossible for those working in churches when gay people come to us for help. …”

– Ed Shaw writes at The Spectator.

Photo courtesy Living Out.

Vatican bars gay union blessing, says God ‘can’t bless sin’

“The Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a formal response on Monday to a question about whether Catholic clergy have the authority to bless gay unions. …”

– Report from The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 March 2021.

For background, here is the statement from the Vatican:

Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
to a dubium regarding the blessing of the unions of persons of the same sex.

Frayed about the Edges

“It is a common failing of any writer, teacher or preacher to impose one’s individual circumstances on a whole community – to assume that what one is going through, all are going through.

Nevertheless, it is a reasonable diagnosis to say that Australian society, and Western society in general, is looking very frayed about the edges. …”

– Peter Barnes, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, writes to encourage Christians to be confident in the God who reigns over heaven and earth.

Book Review: Born Again This Way

“Rachel Gilson’s book Born Again This Way is what I wish I’d read about 25 years ago when a Christian friend shared with me that she was same-sex attracted and she didn’t know what to do. Neither did I, and at the time, praying with her was the only thing I could think to do.

Fast forward to 2021 and this conversation is far more common. Today, there are a number of books on the subject of Christians and same-sex attraction. What makes Gilson’s book stand out is the way it combines a careful treatment of the topic with her own deeply personal story. …”

– At Equal but Different, Victoria Colgan commends Born Again This Way by Rachel Gibson.

What will you do when the Culture demands that you Pivot?

In his The Briefing for 2nd March 2021, Albert Mohler again warned Christians to be ready for the inevitable challenge to forsake Christ to appease the culture.

He has now expanded his comments into a must read essay:

Pivoting to Surrender: A Warning for All Christians – 4th March 2021.

“Every Christian and every Christian ministry will come to a reckoning – we must all decide here and now where we stand.

Will we pivot or will we hold fast to faithfulness and the hope of the gospel?”

VCAT Given New Powers to Investigate Christians for Praying

Sinicization is not only an agenda being forced upon the Chinese people by an authoritarian regime. We now have our own version here in Victoria as the State now subjects its citizens to new invasive and extreme laws that will strip people of basic freedoms of conscience, speech and association. Perhaps we should call it, Victorianization.

The Victorian Parliament last month passed the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020.

Under this Act, criminal charges can be laid and convicted persons may face up to 10 years imprisonment and fines of $200,000. There is also a civil avenue for people wishing to make complaints against fellow Victorians, and it’s these new powers given to VCAT that are the focus of The Age’s story.

An anonymous complaint is a sufficient reason for VCAT to open an investigation, compel you to produce personal documents and information, and force you to attend reeducation programs that will teach you what to believe about sexuality and gender.”

– In Melbourne, Murray Campbell highlights more of what is coming for the residents of that state.

‘Poorly named’ Equality Act passes US House of Representatives

“The U.S. House of Representatives passed Thursday (Feb. 25) for the second time a far-reaching gay and transgender rights proposal that opponents warn would have calamitous effects on freedom of religion and conscience, as well as protections for women, girls and unborn children. …

‘In our lifetime, there has not been such a significant attack on religious liberty’ as the Equality Act, said J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention. …”

– Report from Baptist Press.

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