AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER – AUSTRALIAN NEWS 12th FEBRUARY 2014
- SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN LEADERS DENOUNCE ‘COME HECKLE CHRIST’ COMEDY ACT
- MUSLIM MAN MARRIES 12 YEAR OLD GIRL IN NEWCASTLE
- DARLENE ZSCHECH DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN LEADERS DENOUNCE ‘COME HECKLE CHRIST’ COMEDY ACT
Melbourne comedian Joshua Ladgrove has drawn criticism from Christian leaders and others for one of his scheduled shows at the 2014 Adelaide Fringe Festival that critics say is an attack on Christianity. The festival runs from February 14 to March 16. The show ‘Come Heckle Christ’ is promoted as, “the perfect show for: disgruntled former Christians, those easily offended, atheists and anyone who enjoys yelling at Jesus whilst watching a dramatic re-enactment of everyone’s favourite fairy-tale: the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ.”
The publicity for a similar performance at the Melbourne Fringe Festival last year added: “Have you ever wanted to heckle Jesus Christ? Maybe just ask him a question? Throw something at his head? Well now’s your chance … one night only, improvised performance where you get to heckle Jesus Christ.” Ladgrove has prior form in offending Christians and Jesus. In a Youtube clip entitled ‘A Christmas Message from Jesus ’ posted in December 2013, he again imitates Christ and frequently blasphemes the name of Jesus with foul language.
The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, wrote to the Premier asking that the show be stopped. He also issued a letter that was read out in Catholic churches across the State, encouraging them to complain to the appropriate authorities. “I am a strong advocate for freedom of speech and supporter of the arts, but I believe this production is extremely offensive to people of religious persuasion and insulting to many South Australians. “It is entirely inappropriate for this sort of anti-Christian, blasphemous performance to be included in a public festival” Archbishop Wilson wrote.
A spokesman for the National Civic Council Jerome Appleby said that trying to stop this show was a ‘no-brainer.’ “There is a constant stream of offensive programs and events aimed at Christians these days and Christians seem often to be in the firing line and sometimes these things are best left to pass. Blasphemy, however, is something different; we felt we had to stand up and be counted.” Appleby said. The Dean of St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, Dean Frank Nelson said that the performance was in poor taste – the advert certainly is. It’s pushing the boundaries and not terribly helpful,” he said.
Dean Nelson continued “I respect the freedom of speech that we have – it’s an important part of Australian society which a lot of people elsewhere don’t have – but that doesn’t mean I agree with this.” The Dean stopped short of calling for the show to be axed. In a letter posted on a Facebook page purporting to be from Ladgrove, he says: “I would like you to know that if I bore resemblance to Buddha, Mohammed, Vishnu, or King David I would have pursued the same show idea under one of the aforementioned monikers. He adds: “This isn’t a show attacking Jesus Christ or Christianity in any way.”
The Director of the Fringe Festival, Greg Clarke, was quick to defend the show saying that his role did not include scrutiny of the 966 acts included in this year’s program. He also told Adelaide morning radio that he would stop anything that was illegal, such as the vilification of homosexuals. Jerome Appleby said that censoring only what was illegal was “a very low bar indeed.” He added: “It is not good enough that the director of the show can simply hide behind the show’s performer and his assertion that it is not blasphemous.”
Appleby went on “We’ve had Adelaide’s senior cleric define it as such and I think that Archbishop Wilson is far more qualified to make such an observation.” Appleby has started a Facebook page called ‘stoptheblasphemy’ and a petition. The Facebook page attracted over 800 ‘likes’ in 24 hours.” The Adelaide Fringe festival generates controversy on a regular basis. It relies on the financial support of the State Government as well as major sponsors like Bank SA and the Adelaide City Council. Without such funding it would not exist.
The Islamic Council of South Australia weighed in, supporting Archbishop Wilson’s call for the show to be banned. Secretary Dr Waleed Alkhazrajy said that it would be “blasphemy if a person dressed to show himself as the Prophet Mohammed.. All Muslims around the world share the same belief that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable,” Dr Alkhazrajy said. Christian groups are calling on supporters to voice their concerns and to contact:
Premier Jay Weatherill MP email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister Chloe Fox MP email: email@example.com
Bank SA email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Adelaide City Council email: email@example.com
MUSLIM MAN MARRIES 12 YEAR OLD GIRL IN NEWCASTLE
A Lebanese university student had only been in Australia for a matter of weeks when he laid his eyes on his future wife. He did not seem to mind that she was only 12-years-old. The 26-year-old stepped off a plane in Sydney last August with a student visa and the intention of furthering his education at the University of Newcastle. At a local mosque, he met a 12-year-old girl whom he would later marry during an Islamic ceremony. Police allege the accused took primary care of the young girl and moved with her to a home in Sydney’s south-west.
In this home, he is accused of having sexual intercourse with the girl 25 times between January 1 and February 4. He told police he married the girl earlier this year and does not believe he has done anything wrong. Commander of the Child Abuse Squad, Detective Inspector Peter Yeomans, said it was hard to believe such terrible offences could occur to a girl at “an obviously very tender age”. “You have to take religion and culture out if it and see it for what it is – a sexual assault of a 12-year-old-child,” Inspector Yeomans said.
“In the end it is a 12-year-old child and no matter how we look at and how he wants to sway it culturally or anything else … he has been charged with numerous counts of sexual assault,” he said. The accused tried to enroll the victim at a school close to their home but was not able to without legal guardianship. It is believed he went to Centrelink in order to become the girl’s legal guardian but a government worker reported his application to NSW Police. Child abuse squad detectives subsequently arrested the 26-year-old and took him to Auburn Police Station.
He was charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 14. The young girl was taken into the protection of Family and Community Services where she will remain until a permanent home is found for her. She has been medically examined and received counselling. It is not clear whether the girl’s father and mother were aware of the union. At Burwood Local Court the man sat silently in the dock wearing an orange, grey and white polo shirt and listened to the proceedings with the help of an Arabic interpreter. Bail was not applied and was formally refused.
The Family and Community Services Minister, Pru Goward, said she was ”horrified” by the case. ”Whatever the cultural practice, whatever the religious practice, there is no law in Australia above Australian law,” she said. ”In this country, little girls have rights and in particular they have the right to a childhood free of this sort of abuse. That is what we are here as a community to uphold.” Ms Goward said she was aware there was a large number of unlawful, unregistered marriages to under age girls in NSW particularly in western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
Source: Compiled by APN from media reports
DARLENE ZSCHECH DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER
In her blog on her website, former Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech has disclosed that she had been diagnosed with cancer following a routine mammogram. The well-known worship leader described a “whirlwind of appointments, scans and surgery,” since the diagnosis. Zschech said she came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve. “Even though the past days have been very tough at times, the Holy Spirit has brought me endless comfort and the Word of God is literally holding me moment by moment,” Zschech said in her blog update.
“My husband and children have been heroic and I can’t thank my family enough for their love and support through this. Our church leadership team have anointed me with oil and prayed with unity and authority, a band of trusted friends have helped me prayerfully and practically, and it is only now that I have felt able to share this with you. To be completely honest, this is not the kind of news anyone ever really wants to tell. However, I have seen two absolute miracles in my body thus far and I know there will be many more to come.”
She added, “It brings me no end of comfort to know that you will be praying for my swift recovery. Let’s stand together and pray for ALL of those walking through such challenges at this time. Praise God that His name is GREATER than anything we are facing!!!” Darlene Zschech and her husband are senior pastors of Hope Unlimited Church in Australia. She is also known for her many songs including “Shout to the Lord”. Please join with the many already praying for her complete recovery and healing.
Source: Breaking Christian News