AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER
- SAME SEX MARRIAGE DEBATE HOTS UP AS RUDD CHANGES SIDES
- GAMING CRITICS URGE TOUGHER STANCE FROM PRIME MINISTER
- NEW SOUTH WALES PARLIAMENT VOTES DOWN ASSISTED SUICIDE BILL
SAME SEX MARRIAGE DEBATE HOTS UP AS RUDD CHANGES SIDES
Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has shifted his position on same-sex marriage in a dramatic reversal of his long-held public position. After what he calls a difficult personal journey, the former Labor prime minister says he has concluded the secular Australian state should recognise same-sex marriage, while religious institutions should be legally allowed an exemption maintaining their historic position that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman. His conclusion ignores the fact that same sex marriage proponents will not accept religious institutions being given an exemption from performing same sex marriages.
Christian leaders have been swift in challenging Mr Rudd’s decision and reasoning. Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said Kevin Rudd’s sudden change of mind on redefining marriage ignored the consequence of robbing children of their biological identity through same-sex surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technologies. “What Kevin Rudd has failed to consider is that marriage is a compound right to form a family. Marriage is not just an affectionate relationship between two people regardless of gender. “Marriage has always been about providing stability and biological identity for children wherever possible” Mr Shelton said.
“What Mr Rudd has not considered is whether or not it is right for children to be taken through technology from their biological parent so that ‘married’ same-sex couples can fulfil their desires.” Mr Shelton said Mr Rudd had also ignored the fact that this inevitably means parents will have their children taught the mechanics of homosexual sex in school sex education classes, something that would surely follow the redefinition of marriage. “The so-called ‘marriage equality’ debate has been conducted by slogans without proper consideration of the consequences. Kevin Rudd is the latest to fall victim to shallow thinking on this issue,” Mr Shelton said.
“Mr Rudd’s announcement that he supports same sex marriage will be a huge disappointment for Christians and leaves their hopes for the preservation of marriage clearly with the Coalition and Christian-based minor parties. “Any notion that same sex marriage can be legislated with protections for churches not to conduct the service is naive in the extreme,” said Mr Shelton. “The UK legislation claiming to do the same was not even through the lower house when gay activists announced they had no intention of honouring that because in their view it allowed the church to discriminate against them.
“Any same sex marriage legislation will create vulnerabilities for the church and even more so for individual Christians who don’t have its institutional weight and legal identity,” Mr Shelton said. “Wherever same sex marriage or equivalents have been legislated Christians have been pursued by activists. Christian businesses have been closed down, public servants and even pastors hauled into court and fined for exercising their conscience,” Mr Shelton said. “No government has the right to create these vulnerabilities for the church-going 20% of the population in order to allow the 0.2% who will take advantage of this to redefine marriage,” he said.
“Mr Rudd seems intent on burning bridges with a constituency which has long given him the benefit of the doubt,” Mr Shelton said. “Something is either true and demands our support, or not. The truth doesn’t change with popular opinion, to which he seems to be responding. If this is an attempt to wedge Julia Gillard, it will cost Mr Rudd the last of his following in the Christian Constituency,” Mr Shelton said. “His views on homosexuality and changing the definition of marriage are not in line with orthodox Christian teaching.” Over 50 of Australia’s most prominent church and denominational leaders signed a statement against it in August 2011.”
Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen has challenged Mr Rudd’s statement. Dr Jensen says his comments “do not grapple sufficiently with the question of what marriage is and what it is for”. Mr Rudd claims that after a conversation with a political staffer who he described as a ‘god botherer’, he came to the conclusion that “church and state can have different positions and practices on the question of same sex marriage”. Mr Rudd believes the Church should be legally exempted from any requirement to change their historic position and practice that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman”.
Dr Jensen said “I have always enjoyed my conversations with Mr Rudd on all sorts of subjects. He is an interesting and thoughtful man. On this matter, however, I am unconvinced.” The Archbishop said “His discussion of the bible is historically shallow and he may be too confident about the state of current research” – referring to claims by Mr Rudd that children in same-sex relationships suffer no disadvantage. But Dr Jensen said the main issue was that the statement and thinking outlined by Mr Rudd did not fully grapple with marriage and its intention.
“Equality is not the issue. The consummation of a marriage by a man and a woman is unique and cannot be replicated. The precious differences between men and women, likewise cannot be replicated in any other bond”. Dr Jensen went on to say “Marriage is too important for all of us – it is not a church-state issue – to redefine it for the sake of an illusory equality. What cannot be done should not be attempted”. Muslim and Jewish leaders have also expressed support for the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman. Prime Minister Gillard and Opposition Leader Abbott maintain their positions against same-sex marriage.
Source: Compiled by APN from information from various sources
GAMING CRITICS URGE TOUGHER STANCE FROM PRIME MINISTER
There has been a significant victory for disgruntled television viewers, with live betting odds to be banned during sports broadcasts. The days of the bookie spruiking his latest odds from the sidelines during the footy are over, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard stamping out gambling advertising during live broadcasts. Ms Gillard has demanded broadcasters voluntarily agree to the measures or the federal government would fast-track legislation to enshrine them into law. The broadcasting industry body Free TV Australia has indicated that won’t be necessary, promising to submit a revised code to the Australian Communications and Media Authority within a fortnight.
But Free TV called the proposed restrictions “unprecedented”, and has asked for all broadcast media to be treated equally. Under the proposal, all promotion of live odds by gambling companies and commentators would be prohibited during live broadcasts of sport. All other generic gambling ads, which don’t refer to odds, have also been banished to designated commercial periods before and after the game, and during match breaks like quarter time and half time. Banners and sponsorship logos for gambling companies will also be banned, while bookies like Tom Waterhouse must not appear on commentary teams and cannot spruik on or near the match venue.
But South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon wants the government to go further, saying banning live odds wouldn’t fix the problem, as they only make up five per cent of all gambling ads. Families wanting to watch a match would still be “bombarded” by gaming ads before and after the games, as well as during the breaks, he said. “That’s why the best way to fix this problem is not to have gambling advertising during sporting games,” he told reporters in Adelaide. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said families could go back to watching sport without having gambling ads “shoved down their throats”.
Ms Gillard said, like many Australians, she’d become frustrated by the increasing presence of gambling during live sport and decided a change was needed. “From the moment that the players step onto the field, from the moment that they leave the field, there will be no live odds,” Ms Gillard told reporters in Sydney. The coalition, having proposed earlier this month legislating a ban on live odds, accused the government of simply playing catch up. But the NRL seemed pleased with the proposals, stating it didn’t want betting seen as the primary focus of the game.
“Fans, and particularly young fans, should not be subject to excessive promotion of betting during matches,” NRL chief executive Dave Smith said in a statement. Ms Gillard said she considered a blanket ban on all gambling ads during sports broadcasts, but took into account that broadcasters still needed revenue to air the games. However, anti-pokies advocate and independent MP Andrew Wilkie said banning live odds was a “tiny step” and also urged tougher action. While applauding the prime minister, he said a legal loophole meant gambling ads could be shown during sports when they were banned from other programs viewed by children.
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has welcomed the Prime Minister’s crackdown on the promotion of betting odds during sports broadcasts. ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the television industry’s proposed curbs to live odds promotion should be extended to include a total ban on all gambling advertising before, during and after sporting broadcasts. This was the main recommendation in ACL’s submissions last week to Free TV Australia and the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA). “It is not healthy for children to be socialised into gambling through sports betting advertising,” Mr Shelton said.
“So many parents are keen for their kids to be active in sport because it has always been a teacher of positive character values such as perseverance and teamwork. The encroachment of gambling into sports broadcasting undermines this.” Mr Shelton noted that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had earlier this month said if the Coalition was elected it would ban live odds promotion during sports broadcasts. “It is great to see bi-partisan support for the option of legislation as the television industry does not have a good track record in enforcing its voluntary codes.”
Source: Compiled by APN from information from various sources
NEW SOUTH WALES PARLIAMENT VOTES DOWN ASSISTED SUICIDE BILL
Another euthanasia and assisted suicide bill has been was decisively defeated – this time in the Upper House of the New South Wales’ State Parliament. The private members bill was introduced by Greens MLC, Cate Faehrmann, who adopted the title of the original Northern Territory Bill that passed back in 1995, and which was overturned by the Federal Parliament nine months later. The “Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill 2013” was principally an assisted suicide bill with the ‘option’ of euthanasia if the patient was found to be unable to take the drugs for themselves.
A number of politicians had raised off-the-record concerns that Faehrmann’s bill was primarily a publicity stunt. Faehrmann will resign from the State Parliament shortly to contest for a seat in the Senate in the September 2013 Federal Election for the Greens in New South Wales. Legislators overwhelmingly rejected the bill, with 23 votes in favour to 13 against. There were also five abstentions plus one non-vote due to a resignation. An earlier motion to move the bill off to a committee of inquiry was rejected with similar numbers. The motion was seen as a ploy to keep the bill alive for a while longer in the face of certain defeat.
Labor MP Greg Donnelly said, “This was an arrogant and blatant attempt to keep the Bill alive. No prior consultation was given to members of the House about this amendment, or whether or not they might be interested in such a move.” While debating the bill in parliament, Mr Donnelly urged legislators to read a book by a prominent Canadian anti-euthanasia activist entitled Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, written by Alex Schadenberg.” “The book has been provided to most members in this House, as part of the provision of information by the organisation Hope: Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.”
During debate over the bill there were veiled and not-so-veiled attacks on religion by supporters of legalizing assisted suicide. However, it was still unusual that a member of parliament should accuse the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney, The Rev. George Pell of “misleading and downright mendacious tactics” in the bishop’s letter to parliamentarians of the 8th of May. The Hon. Dr John Kaye MLC went on to attempt to refute the cardinal’s four main objection to the legislation, before stating, “I suggest he (the cardinal) is lying to the people of New South Wales and he is lying to his flock. I remind Cardinal Pell of his obligations, particularly under James 1:26 not to tell a lie.”
The sponsor of the legislation, Cate Faehrmann also launched a personal attack on the director of the UK group CareNotKilling, Dr Peter Saunders. Saunders’ replied in his blog, saying, “She (Faehrmann) lambasted my blog in order ‘to demonstrate to members the type of tactics used to discredit voluntary assisted dying schemes in operation overseas. “Cate Faehrmann may be passionate about euthanasia but it is a very serious thing for an MP to mislead parliament, especially in introducing a bill. “I am asking her to retract her accusation of ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’, to issue an apology and to correct the errors and omissions in her published speech.”
Meanwhile another euthanasia/assisted suicide bill has been introduced in South Australia. At the time of writing this article yet another debate is underway in the South Australian Parliament. Anti-euthanasia campaigner Paul Russell says that there is still a great deal of ignorance amongst many MPs about the problems with euthanasia laws. “The South Australian Branch of the Australian Medical Association has now condemned this bill in the strongest terms in two letters to members of parliament and yet there are still those who flirt with the idea of state sanctioned killing,” he said. Russell said he remains confident that, like in NSW, the SA bill will also fail.