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.

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.

Presbyterian Church of Queensland goes into receivership

“The Presbyterian Church of Queensland has gone into receivership, raising questions about the long-term fate of its aged-care facilities, schools and other operations.

PwC Australia intends to continue all operations while it carries out a sweeping review of the church’s activities and financial position.…”

– Unwelcome news via The West Australian – and a matter for much prayer.

See also this PCQ Media Statement which gives some of the background, and a Letter to Congregation Members from the Clerk of Assembly.

‘We’ve failed the Great Commission and lost the Gospel’

On this week’s episode of The Pastor’s Heart,

“A prophetic word from the most senior evangelical leader in Australia’s Uniting Church, Stu Cameron.

Stu has published two short essays over the last week, the first diagnoses the problems in his denomination, saying: We’ve failed the great commission; Stifled entrepreneurial leadership; and most significantly, Have lost confidence in the gospel.

The second essay suggests a five fold solution: 1. Confess, Repent, Pray; 2. Obsess about Disciple-Making; 3. Release Property Joyfully; 4. Learn Humbly; and 5. Blow it all Up.

Stu Cameron is the new senior pastor of the influential Wesley Central Mission in Sydney…”

Watch or listen at here.

What Can we Learn Today from the Preaching of John Stott?

“John Stott visited Australia in January 1965, and this visit, one of many, had a profound effect on Australian preaching.

Stott gave Bible studies on 2 Corinthians at the Anglican Church Missionary Society Summer Schools in several states in Australia. Much Australian preaching at that time was on ‘a text’, that is, on an individual verse from the Bible, often without much regard to its context.

In his Bible studies John Stott was demonstrating the obvious value of preaching from passages of Scripture, and from consecutive passages of Scripture. His example had a profound impact on Australian preaching, initially transforming preaching in Anglican churches, but soon also in other churches as well. …

Under God, he was part of a revival of systematic expository preaching in the UK in the 20th Century, which was achieved through Willie Still in Aberdeen, and Martin Lloyd-Jones, John Stott and Dick Lucas in London, and has spread around the world.”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Peter Adam’s article is an encouragement for preachers and their hearers.

Image: An interview with Peter Adam at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.

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.

John Anderson announces he is available for preselection to the Senate

In a video statement on his website, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, John Anderson AO, explains why he is offering himself for preselection for The Nationals Senate ticket in NSW.

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.

How to Pastor when Sanctification becomes Illegal

“Where I live and pastor some aspects of sanctification are now illegal.

A recent decision in my home state of Victoria – in Australia – seeks to overturn this work of God’s grace. The Victorian Parliament has adopted the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020.

Amongst other things, the Conversion and Suppression Practices Bill criminalizes any prayers or conversations in which one person aims to persuade another that pursuing certain sexual activity is not the best course of action.

It’s not only illegal to pray or speak with an individual about changing their sexual orientation or gender identity – unless, of course, this change means embracing an LGBTIQ lifestyle – the law states that suppression is also illegal.

‘Suppression’ includes prayers for celibacy, and any advice that communicates sexual faithfulness to one’s spouse is a matter of holiness.…”

9Marks in the USA has published this piece by Murray Campbell in Melbourne.

When and how to obey God, not man, in Victoria?

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Harsh new rules have just been approved by the parliament of the Australian state of Victoria, banning conversion practices relating to sexuality.

The parliament has made illegal practices that have been part of Christian religion since the start of the church

What does the law say a pastor should do if asked for guidance on matters of sexuality? What does God say?  Pastors have questions on what the law says in regards to teaching in church, in small home groups and 1:1, and on how evangelical pastors respond in love to people with questions about personal sexuality. …”

– Neil Foster, Associate Professor of Law at Newcastle University, Peter Barnes, Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, and Heath Easton, Pastor of Drouin Presbyterian Church in regional Victoria, are Dominic Steele’s guests in the latest episode of The Pastor’s Heart.

Collision of laws: the impact of Commonwealth law on the Victorian CSP law

“The Victorian  Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic) (which I will call the “CSP” law for short) passed the Upper House on 4 Feb, 2021. As I write it seems not to have yet received the Royal Assent and become an ‘Act’ but that will no doubt happen soon. The government has signalled that the legislation will not come into operation for another 12 months (see the final sentence in this article.)

My previous posts (see here for the most recent) have expressed grave concerns about the effect of the law on religious freedom and specifically on the freedom of parents and others to encourage children to live in accordance with Biblical standards of sexual behaviour. It is astonishing that the Bill was rushed through Parliament in the face of concerns also being expressed by the Law Institute of Victoria, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). (See this excellent post from Murray Campbell noting these issues.)

There are, it seems, very few legal avenues available to challenge the many problems created by this law. But in this post I want to suggest one which may be available…”

– Associate Professor in Law Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

Prohibiting Prayer in Australia

Carl Trueman comments on the new Victorian legislation –

“This provision is clearly not based on any coherent metaphysical objection to the practice of prayer. If the legislators believe God exists, they presumably believe that he is wise enough to ignore such prayers if they are indeed truly harmful. And if they do not think he exists, then it seems reasonable to assume they would regard such prayer as a rather pointless, even nonsensical, exercise.

If the policy is not metaphysical, it nevertheless reveals one of the aspects of the new identity politics…”

– Read it at First Things.

Where to From Here? – Victorian Law

Here’s a pastoral letter from the Rev. Dr Peter Barnes, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia –

“To the congregations of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, February 2021

The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill has now passed through both houses of the Victorian parliament. It forbids any attempt to change or suppress, or induce any person to change or suppress, his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. Prayer or counselling designed to change a person, even at that person’s request, is prohibited. In short, this means that sexual preference is protected by law, as is any person’s gender preference. Homosexual sex is not permitted to be called ‘sin’, and a male today can claim to be a female tomorrow.

What is the Church to do? Two things come immediately to mind:

It is our task to keep on keeping on, to proclaim and to live out so far as we can the gospel of Christ which has been entrusted to us.

May God give us all wisdom and strength in Christ,

Peter Barnes

Rev. Dr Peter Barnes, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.”

from the Presbyterian Church of Australia, Tuesday 9th February 2021.

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