Hate Speech – Vilification Laws and Threats to Religious Speech

Associate Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia

“I have presented a paper today surveying Australia laws on ‘hate speech’ and ‘vilification’, as they have an impact on religious free speech. The paper can be downloaded here…”

Here’s the link.

Call from the Presbyterian Moderator General to “Walk for Life”

“David Burke, the moderator general for the Presbyterian Church of Australia, has called on all people of Christian faith to defend the rights of the unborn by participating in ‘Walk for Life’.

Rev. Dr. Burke argued that there is a parallel with the abuse relating to domestic violence, vulnerable people such as children and people with disabilities as well as child abuse in all its forms. Burke said:

‘To my mind, one of the great unmentioned forms of child abuse is the fact that there is a capacity in Australia to kill a child still in its mother’s womb – a living human being with all its actuality and potential made in the image of God.’”

– See the video message from David Burke at AP, the Presbyterian Church’s national journal.

The Walk for Life to which he is referring is planned for September 21st 2024, 2:00pm – 4:00pm Hyde Park, Sydney. Tickets here.

From the ticketing website:

“Love Sydney exists to stand for truth and intercede for the preborn through gathering together with others who are in agreement with our mission.

As we walk, may our countenance and attitude of our faith be evident with all interactions with each other. We welcome everyone who wishes to stand for life with us in this respectful way, regardless of their faith, ethnicity, age or gender.

We ask that you not engage with anyone that is expressing their opposition to our peaceful Walk for Life event. Our trained marshals, professional security and police are all here to keep our event safe. Anyone making nuisance noise will be asked to leave.

Please remember no megaphones or signs. Our official signs will be available for you to carry while at this event. Please obey the marshals, security team and police on the walk.

Our role is simple – to stand in the gap and be a voice for the voiceless, as we cover Sydney in prayer and love.”

2024 Reconciliation Workshop and Night from Nungalinya College

From Nungalinya College in Darwin:

“NAIDOC week always falls in our term break sadly… but we are very excited to share some videos of our 2024 Reconciliation Workshop and Night! This first video is a beautiful summary of the night…”

A very encouraging 4 minute video, on the Nungalinya College Facebook page (may require logging in the Facebook).

Also see (and a point for prayer):

Nungalinya College is seeking a Principal. (Closing Date: 26th July 2024.)

“The College is looking for a Principal who will lead a Christ-centred educational vision that respects Indigenous Languages and cultures and seeks to empower Indigenous Christians at every level of the College. …”

Book Review: Plans for Your Good

“The autobiography of the former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is one of the most surprising books I have read in quite some time. I picked it up expecting him to talk about politics but it’s really primarily about God, with a personal call for the readers to consider their own position before Him.

There is a lot to take away from this book. And so I’m going to break up my review under a number of headings, with extended quotes to give the reader a better sense of what the author is saying. …”

– At AP (The online journal of the Presbyterian Church of Australia), Mark Powell reviews Plans for Your Good by Scott Morrison .

“This was definitely not the book I was expecting to read.”

Yet again, it’s also a reminder to pray for all who are in authority: 1 Timothy 2:1-4

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – ESV.

Nungalinya College seeking new Principal

Nungalinya College, the Theological and Training College for Indigenous people, in Darwin – set up by the Anglican, Uniting and Roman Catholic Churches more than 50 years ago, is looking for a new Principal.

“The College is looking for a Principal who will lead a Christ-centred educational vision that respects Indigenous Languages and cultures and seeks to empower Indigenous Christians at every level of the College. …

Closing Date  – 26th July 2024.”

Details at the College website.

‘Crunch Point’ on Religious Freedom: Catholic Schools and Hospitals May Close, Warns Anthony Fisher

“The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, has warned the church will be forced to consider closing religious schools if the government strips them of the ability to preference the employment of teachers supportive of Christian teachings.

Archbishop Fisher, one of the nation’s most senior Catholic leaders, declared more radical ­actions could be needed in ­response to the infringement of religious liberties, and raised the prospect of withdrawing educational services as happened in the landmark 1962 Goulburn school strike. …”

– Story from The Australian (paywall).

Image: Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

Hope25 Launch Video Pentecost 2024

Here’s a video to introduce Hope25.

You can learn more at the Hope25 website:

“Hope 25 is an opportunity for us to share the hope that we have in Jesus.

It is an intentional season of sharing hope in Jesus for every parish and community in the Australian Anglican Church.

We are asking each parish to commit to doing (at least) one thing to help share the hope that we have in Jesus during this season.

We aren’t going to tell you what to do, but we will provide resources and support so that each parish can act locally and contextually, sharing the hope we have in Jesus in a way that best fits your context. It may be that you have multiple different groups within your parish and a number of different events are needed to engage with those group. Or, you may choose to band together on one event, it is entirely up to each parish or community to choose.

Dates: Easter Day (April 20, 2025) to Pentecost Sunday (June 8, 2025)”

Meet Jesus: The Missiology is Right

“In 1959 the Billy Graham Association conducted Australia’s most successful evangelistic mission. Large venues, huge crowds, and compelling preaching. It was extraordinary. Six decades on, however, some features of that mission look quaint, even odd. …

It was a different world. Evangelising Australia now is a different sort of challenge. Consider the 2024 Meet Jesus campaign—the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students’ (AFES) effort to invite Australians to meet Jesus in the pages of Gospels. I think the missiology is right.”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Rory Shiner commends Meet Jesus.

Inside the hidden assumption in Albanese’s ‘misinformation’ bill that undermines its entire premise

“As Claire Lehman of the Quillet puts it: ‘In universities across the world, humanities departments have, over time, come to reject the notion that there is such a thing as objective truth.’

If they are right, there is no point in any debate or discussion about either the news or our opinions of the news. …”

– At Sky News Australia, Kel Richards points out the fatal flaw in all ‘misinformation’ legislation.

Working Together so More People Meet Jesus

“We believe that knowing Jesus changes everything. He alone can deal with our sins and failures. He is our saviour who rescued us and our friend who loves us. He is our Lord who graciously and powerfully rules all things. He is the source of our hope in life and in death. He is living and active and he is coming again as judge of all. Why wouldn’t we want other people to meet Jesus?

Across Australia a campaign is unfolding this year so that many more people might have the opportunity to meet Jesus. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Murray Capill reports on a recent gathering in Melbourne.

Related:

Australia: Meet Jesus! — Richard Chin and Rory Shiner.

Bishop Mari Emmanuel forgives his attacker and endorses freedom of speech and religion

Screenshot

For ANZAC Day, Bishop Mari Emmanuel of Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley has spoken out in forgiveness and in support of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Remembering the Sacrifice: ANZAC Day 2024

“Grant Dibden, Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force, shares the story of sacrifice about Corporal Reginald Samuel Thorn from Broken Hill, NSW.

A recently discovered letter from Corporal Thorn was sent one day prior to his sacrifice at Pozières, France.

At deaths door, Reginald Thorn’s letter shares the hope of a better place beyond the grave made available through the greatest sacrifice made by Jesus.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.”

– At Defence Anglicans.

Religious Freedom and the NSW Conversion Practices Ban Act 2024

Associate Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia:

“I have prepared a paper exploring the operation of the NSW Conversion Practices Ban Act 2024 in relation to the freedom of churches and other religious groups to continue to provide teaching and guidance based on the tenets of their faith. The Act has received assent but will not commence operation until 3 April 2025.

Overall, the Act contains much better protections for religious freedom and the welfare of vulnerable children and young people than similar legislation elsewhere. But there are some areas where it is not clear, and it will require careful consideration by religious groups, as well those interested in so-called ‘gender transition’ issues even from a non-religious background.”

Download his paper here.

Explainer: NSW Conversion Practices Ban

Anglican Media Sydney has published a helpful explanatory post on the newly passed NSW “Conversion Practices Ban Act”.

See it out for an outline of what the law means, and how church leaders have responded.

Navigating new laws on Conversion Practices: A Pastoral Approach to Compassion and Legal Compliance

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“What is permissible and not permissible under new conversion practice laws in New South Wales – with Neil Foster, Matt Aroney and Michael Stead.

Sydney Anglican Bishop Michael Stead, who chairs Freedom for Faith and Living Faith, describes the new laws as the least worst that he has seen in Australia.

Associate Professor of Law at Newcastle University and author of the Law and Religion blog Neil Foster says the law is unnecessary, but better than has been implemented in other parts of Australia.

Professor Foster supports moves to ban oppressive or violent practices that are designed to change someone’s sexual attraction or impair gender identity. However, Professor Foster says the laws (which have a criminal and civil component) can go beyond those bad things to areas where a minister is explaining the teaching of the Bible and wanting to help people to live in accordance with the bible.

Acting Minister of Watsons Bay Matt Aroney says he doesn’t think the new laws will impact his pastoral practice. Matt wants to turn down the anxiety levels. He encourages to choose thoughtfully to respond to the people in front of us with the love and compassion that Jesus has.

Matt applies the principles of his new book ‘Renovated: How God makes us Christlike’ to caring well for those Christians experiencing same sex attraction or gender incongruence.”

An important topic for ministers and churches to understand.

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