This is the final Australian News for the year. We thank you, our readers, for your support and prayers throughout 2017 and wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful and enriching New Year. Australian News will resume on Monday 10th January 2018.
There’s a growing realisation that our civilisation is declining and that the marginalisation of Christianity and the undermining of family are key reasons. I am not a pessimist, it is recoverable if we pray and act. But we have to be realistic in the mean-time. And we can take hope that mainstream commentators are joining the dots between Christianity and a flourishing society. I’ve been reading The Australian’s Paul Kelly since I was a teenager but his articles of late are sounding a big wake up call. I just hope we are listening. A recent piece began by talking about “the almost certain link between the generational decline in the Christian faith as guide to the common good and the collapsing relationship between the people and the political system”. He is saying that trust breaks down when Christianity breaks down.
Further in the article he says: “The idea that our democracy is founded on core moral truths about human nature has collapsed.” This means that when we ditch the idea that human life is sacred, that the gender differences between men and women in marriage and family formation matter, our democracy itself is in trouble. Kelly goes on: “The reality is staring us in the face. Yet it cannot be spoken, cannot be entertained, cannot be discussed because there is no greater heresy and no more offensive notion than that the loss of Christian faith might have a downside.” We live in a society that no longer values truth and we wonder why things are falling apart. The church has largely sat by silently while much of this has occurred. It is worth paying the subscription to get through The Australian’s paywall to read Kelly’s article in full.
Another columnist at The Australian, Dr Jennifer Oriel also recently wrote about “the danger of losing Christ”. Disdain for truth and integrity was on display again recently when Liberal Senator Dean Smith brought on a same-sex marriage bill even though he was elected on a platform opposing change without a people’s vote first. Never mind that the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also recently had to slap down Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne for also declaring he wanted to break the Liberals’ election promise on marriage. Putting aside the treacherous politics, the idea that the party of Sir Robert Menzies could be so blind as to support a redefinition of marriage with the unjust consequences this brings to children is almost incomprehensible.
With Labor having capitulated (something that would have been incomprehensible to Curtin and Chifley) and the Liberals tearing themselves apart over same-sex marriage (can you believe it?), one has to wonder how it came to this. This brings me to US President Donald Trump’s speech in Poland recently, which touched on similar themes to Kelly’s article. One of the worst features of modern politics is the use of slurs to avoid engaging with the ideas of people we don’t like. It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially if someone has unlikable traits and integrity issues of their own. President Trump is a classic example. But his speech in Poland was one of the most important I have read from a Western leader. That it is taking a figure like Trump to say these things goes to the failure of leaders of moral character to speak.
“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” Trump asked. “Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilisation in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” These are open questions. They are questions that we at ACL have asked and answered, that is why together with you we are doing what we are doing. That secular commentators and a US President are recognising that faith, family and freedom are basic to our civilisation’s preservation and flourishing is encouraging. Trump went on to reference the Polish Pope, St John Paul II’s first mass in Poland on becoming Pope in 1979. “We want God”, the crowd chanted over and over. After 50 years of atheistic communism telling the people lies, they knew God needed to be back at the centre. There is no Plan B for a just, compassionate and free society.
Source: Lyle Shelton Managing Director Australian Christian Lobby
Editor’s note: This article is a “catch up” article held over for several months due to the amount of space that has had to be given to the same-sex marriage debate and associated issues. It is not issued as a news item but rather as an issue that needs ongoing prayer to preserve the integrity of the Christian faith in Australia.
Church leaders have accused the ABC of “inaccurate” and “anti-Christian” journalism in a report on its TV program 7.30 Report that claimed the biggest wife bashers are Christian men who “sporadically” attend church. The report quoted advocates claiming “the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it”. Critics of Julia Baird and Paige MacKenzie’s report say it failed to reveal that the US research it relied upon showed in fact that the more Christian men attended church, the less likely it was that they would abuse their spouses. The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, said “It’s unfortunate but real that the ABC is taking a distinctly anti-Christian line. Week after week we see many of the very good things the Christian churches are doing being minimised, so it’s important they are called to account as they are simply not treating us at all fairly.”
In the report, Baird said “in many quarters of the church, females aren’t allowed to preach or take on significant leadership roles, as long as women’s voices are denied within the church, domestic violence will continue”. The Anglican Church’s most senior female official, Archdeacon for Women Kara Hartley, granted the ABC an extensive interview for the program but none of it was broadcast. A source said: “I find it ironic that we were bashed over the issue of ordination of women, and our most senior ordained woman, who is on our domestic violence taskforce and who is fully up-to-date on these issues, was ignored.” Former South Australian Labor Premier and Anglican priest Lynn Arnold said: “I find it amazing that the ABC should be so selective in source research.”
In the introduction to the report, presenter Leigh Sales said: “We talk about women in Islam, but statistically it is evangelical Christian men who attend church sporadically who are the most likely to assault their wives.” Yet reporter Baird observed that “in Australia, there has never been any real research into the prevalence of domestic violence within church communities”. Although 7.30 Report did not cite any specific authoritative studies, in an online article Baird and co-author Hayley Gleeson relied on a 2008 report by Phoenix Seminary professor Steven Tracy, who wrote that “it is widely accepted by abuse experts that evangelical men who sporadically attend church are more likely than men of any other religious group (and more likely than secular men) to assault their wives”.
But 7.30 Report did not include the corollary quoted in the online article, that “regular church attenders are less likely to commit acts of intimate partner violence”. A spokesman for Sydney Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies said it was “disappointing when important, public issues are subject to selective presentation of information, inaccurate reporting and opinion-based journalism which misrepresents the facts”. “To make domestic violence part of a culture war against evangelical Christianity does no service to the women who suffer this appalling treatment,” he said. An ABC spokesman defended 7.30 Report, saying it was “not an attack on Christianity but an exploration of its intersection with issues of domestic violence, a legitimate and newsworthy subject”.
ANGLICAN CHURCH RESPONSE TO ROYAL COMMISSION INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE FINAL REPORT
The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Philip Freier, has thanked members of the country’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, for helping the Church to “confront its failings” when it comes to protecting children and responding appropriately to reports of abuse. He said that the Commission’s case studies involving branches of the Anglican Church, which included the Diocese of Newcastle, “have been shocking and distressing.” He said that the diligent work of the commissioners and their staff “must have been distressing” for them and for survivors. “Once again, I apologise on behalf of the Church to survivors, their families, and others harmed by our failures and by the shameful way we sometimes actively worked against and discouraged those who came to us and reported abuse,”he said in a statement.
Source: Press release from the Anglican Church of Australia