AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – 17th JULY 2013

  • 40 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE FEDERAL ELECTION
  • HOW SEXUAL IDENTITY ISSUES ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF OUR SOCIETY
  • NSW CITIZENS QUERY “PROUD SCHOOLS” PROGRAM
  • CHRISTIAN CELEBRITIES COMBINE TO ASSIST YOUTH MAKE GOOD LIFE CHOICES

     

40 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE FEDERAL ELECTION

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

When the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the election date for 14th September early in the year, it enabled organisations like our own to begin  preparations and to be ready for the election well ahead of time. Hence on that basis we called for 40 days of prayer commencing on 6th August and concluding on 13th September, the eve of the announced election date.  Since the rise of Kevin Rudd to the position of Prime Minister however that date has been overturned, but a new date not yet announced.  In response to a number of questions we advise that the 40 days of prayer will not commence until the new election date is announced.
 
If the announcement of the date occurs more than 40 days ahead of the election date itself, the 40 day season of prayer will commence 40 days prior to the actual election date.  If the announcement of the election is within 40 days of the actual election date the season of prayer will begin the day after the announcement is made and be shortened to the actual time left until the actual election date. The material, which has already been prepared, will not change (except for the dates).  If desired it can be downloaded from our website at http://www.ausprayernet.org.au/, printed off and held pending the announcement of the new election date. 
 
Once the decision is announced we will immediately begin sending the weekly prayer points out to all on our network in accordance with our original plans. We trust that any confusion over the change of dates, which of course is beyond our control, will not interfere with a powerful season of prayer leading into the Federal Election. Please feel free to tell others of this important season of prayer and have them go directly to our website to obtain the prayer material.

Source: Australian Prayer Network

 

HOW SEXUAL IDENTITY ISSUES ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF OUR SOCIETY

Editors note:  Not many of our readers will personally encounter the issue referred to in this article, however the changes that are being made to the laws and statutes of our nation will impact on how sexual identity is viewed and treated in future generations. It is for this reason we felt it important to inform our readers of what is happening on the fringes of our society that will forever change the world as most of us have known it.   

Tall, androgynous and decked out in a rainbow T-shirt, Norrie May-Welby looked a little out of place among the dark-suited solicitors. As the 52-year-old sexual equality campaigner later quipped, ”there’s not that many of us ‘odd bods’ around”. In an Australian first, the NSW Court of Appeal has given people who do not identify as male or female formal legal recognition. It overturned a ruling that everyone must be registered as a man or a woman with the registry of births, deaths and marriages. Previously this right was restricted to passports. It is also likely to be drawn upon as a guide for cases interstate. 

”This is the first decision that recognises that ‘sex’ is not binary – it is not only ‘male’ or ‘female’ – and that we should have recognition of that in the law and in our legal documents,” said Emily Christie, one of Norrie’s solicitors. The Human Rights Law Centre’s Hugh de Kretser said the court’s decision would be ”persuasive” in legal disputes in other states. ”Agencies and non-government organisations will be looking to apply this more broadly than just in NSW,” he said. In 2010, Norrie, who identifies as neuter and uses only a first name, became the first in NSW to be neither man nor woman in the eyes of the government with a formal ”sex not specified” registration. 

But four months later the registry wrote to Norrie, saying the change had been ”issued in error” and was invalid. ”It was completely unproblematic for a month – the world didn’t collapse, the sky didn’t fall in, human life continued,” Norrie recalled. ”Then it was on the front page and they suddenly said: ‘Oh, no, we couldn’t possibly do that!”’ Norrie appealed the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, but the case was dismissed. Norrie then went to the Court of Appeal, where the three-judge appeal panel unanimously declared that ”as a matter of construction … the word sex does not bear a binary meaning of ‘male’ or ‘female”’ 

The matter has now been sent back to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal which must decide on a sexless designation. The decision has both symbolic and practical significance. Unlike passports, which currently allow for someone to declare their sex as ”X”, registry documents such as birth certificates are ”cardinal documents”, meaning they create a person’s identity. They are thus recognised by government departments, courts and other legal authorities. Though the decision only applies directly to those such as Norrie who have had sex change surgery, it has potential implications for many others, including babies born with ambiguous genitalia. 

The decision also comes as the federal government prepares to pass a law that would protect lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex people from discrimination on the basis of their sexuality for the first time. Record-keeping is exempt from the bill in its current form. Ms Christie said it was too soon to tell what would happen but the judges had considered the flow-on effect of their decision on other legislation. Transgender Victoria spokeswoman Sally Goldner said the ruling was a ”step in the right direction. This ruling does respect the reality of gender diversity and that’s a good thing.” 

”From a point of view of transgender people, in particular, it does recognise the fact that people’s sense of identity can be neither male nor female and that we don’t have to fit everyone into one of two dot points because simply people are not one of two dot points,” Ms Goldner said.  The world’s first intersex mayor, Tony Briffa, said while the decision was a ”good step” for people like Norrie who are androgynous or neuter, there were still questions about how the ruling would affect intersex people who are both male and female. ”I have to consider the decision a bit further before I can determine how it will apply to intersex people,” the Hobsons Bay councillor said. 

”This decision presumably says that you can either be male, female or nothing,” Cr Briffa said. ”I’m an intersex person. I’m not nothing. I am a combination of male and female and the registrations should be accurate and give someone like me the right to have our birth certificates reflect our sex as male and female. We shouldn’t have to choose which one we are because that’s impossible and it’s not accurate.” Norrie said the decision recognised that not all people were ”unambiguously male or female”. ”I know there’s not many of us, but the law has to be for everyone.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

NSW CITIZENS QUERY “PROUD SCHOOLS” PROGRAM

A group of citizens led by FamilyVoice national president Dr David Phillips and NSW state officer Graeme Mitchell have presented copies of 3221 signed open letters to state MPs at Sydney’s Parliament House. “We conveyed to the MPs the concerns of many people in NSW about the ‘Proud Schools’ program,” Dr Phillips said. “Most Australians are concerned about  bullying in schools and support initiatives to reduce or eliminate it. “However there is concern in NSW that the Proud Schools program, currently piloted in 12 high schools, aims to prevent just one kind of bullying – so-called ‘homophobia, transphobia and heteresexism’,” Dr Phillips said. 

“On 26 February 2013, a drag queen visited Burwood Girls High School  IN Sydney and students were asked to support homosexual “marriage”, as part of a Proud Schools celebration.  We have been told that students who declined to participate were bullied by other students.  It would appear that the program may have contributed to an increase more than a decrease in bullying. “3,221 NSW residents have signed an open letter expressing their concerns about the Proud Schools program” Dr Phillips said.  

The letter documents research showing that bullies most commonly target fellow students because of their appearance (eg fat or thin) or school grades (high or low) or ethnicity,” Dr Phillips said.  “Sexuality is not even among the top seven reasons for bullying. “It is not fair to single out one small group of potential victims while ignoring much larger groups who suffer.  The open letter asks for Proud Schools to be cancelled.  It should be replaced by a program dealing with all forms of bullying.  Every student deserves respect and compassion.”

Source: Family Voice Australia

 

CHRISTIAN CELEBRITIES COMBINE TO ASSIST YOUTH MAKE GOOD LIFE CHOICES

The first Stand Tall-The Event will be held at the Knox Grammar School’s Great Hall in Sydney, on November 20th this year. It has been 2 years in the preparation, by a group of Christian sports and business people, intent upon presenting to students a real life-saving alternative to the epidemic of self-destructive behaviours they will face in their teens and 20s. The Event brings together leading young Australian Christian role models to encourage healthy lifestyle choices and to give proven strategies to “Stand Tall” and not to go with the crowd, when dangerous situations arise. 

Speakers and singers will bring this serious message to the Event in a fun, exciting format. Stan Walker ( Australian Idol winner ), Glen Gerreyn ( Young Australian of the Year 1999), sporting identities, Bethany Hamilton , Nick Farr-Jones and Paul Stevens, Olympians Tom and Elka Whalan and Eloise Wellings, popular singers Fatai V , Taga P’aa and Kara Jones and a few surprises, bring the compellingly powerful message of one’s personal value and purpose, living life to the full and using their abilities to help others. Organisers have asked for prayer support for the event from those who believe in its aims.

Source: Press Release by event organisers