AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER
- BLUEPRINT FOR A BRAVE NEW GENDERLESS SOCIETY
- BIBLE LESSONS SHOULD BE A MUST FOR ALL STUDENTS SAYS CHRISTIAN ACTIVIST
- RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REVIEW SPARKS FLOOD OF SUBMISSIONS
The Northern Territory Attorney-General’s Office has released a Discussion Paper that reads like a wish-list for the radical gender theorists who want to now eradicate men and women. In inviting public comment on various proposals to ‘modernise’ the Anti-Discrimination Act, Attorney-General Natasha Fyles commented in her media release that: “Territorians want and deserve to live in safe, vibrant and inclusive communities, and modernising the Territory’s Anti-Discrimination Act is key to delivering that.” The changes proposed are rather more radical than this bland statement might suggest.
It appears to promote policies that would: considerably extend powers for the Anti-Discrimination Commission; pick out particular groups with ‘protected attributes’ for special protection; strip religious groups (notably schools) of existing exemptions; remove freedom of assembly from anyone who does not have a protected attribute; punish all who ‘offend’ or ‘insult’ the prevailing politically correct orthodoxy. If enacted, these proposals would ensure that religious schools could not continue to prefer employees who agreed with their religious beliefs. At the moment, religious schools can choose employees who adhere to the tenets of the faith, thus allowing them to maintain their distinctive character.
The discussion paper makes it clear that changes would make it unlawful for religious schools not to employ someone that identifies as LGBTI. Unashamedly advertising these limitations on the internationally recognized human rights of freedom of association, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression, the Discussion Paper represents an grab for the legal high ground as a public benefit: Removal of these exemptions would make the system fairer by ensuring people of certain attributes have the same opportunities under the Act. It would also ensure that cultural and religious bodies are more accountable for their actions and more inclusive.
Promising modernity, the Discussion Paper sets out a blueprint for a genderless society in which the human person is redefined without reference to biology and the disassembly of the nuclear family is approved in law: It is proposed that the terms ‘man’ (a member of the male sex) and ‘woman’ (a member of the female sex) should be removed from the act. Instead, ‘gender identity’ becomes a protected attribute, so that the gender diverse may benefit from more extensive legal protections. “Discrimination” in access to assisted reproductive technology should be removed, so that anyone who wishes to may access this “service” and create a child.
Incredibly, the complex ethical questions regarding the best interests of that child are not even mentioned. A child’s right to a mother and father is entirely subsidiary to the question of ensuring that adults have equal access to assisted reproductive technology. Everyone in the Northern Territory will be able to live in a “safe, vibrant and inclusive community”, as long as their particular forms of diversity appear on the list of specially protected attributes. Those with diversity of opinion are unlikely to qualify.
Source: Australian Christian Lobby
Australian students should be required to study the Bible as part of a well-rounded education, regardless of their religious background, according to American investor and Christian activist Chuck Stetson. Mr Stetson, a founder of the Bible Literacy Project that promotes the academic study of the religious text, said the Bible was the origin of many modern Western values and should form an essential component of any young person’s education. “I argue that if you don’t have knowledge of the Bible you can’t understand the English language, literature, history, art, music or culture fully,” he said at a recent Sydney forum.
“This is not about religion; we don’t get devotional, not in public schools. This is about learning the basics so we have students that can decode words and phrases, so many of which we get from the Bible. If you’re not, you’re not getting a full education. And that’s unacceptable.” A guest of New Hope Capital, which was established to bring together entrepreneurs and humanitarians to invest in projects that will benefit society, Mr Stetson has travelled across the world promoting the work of his organisation, whose textbook is used in more than 640 public high schools in 44 US states.
Despite calls for religious schools to be stripped of their rights to hire or fire based on their ethos, Mr Stetson said Australian policymakers appeared interested in the Bible being taught in all schooling sectors. Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Kevin Donnelly, who also spoke at the event, said while secular critics argued that there was no place for Christianity or the Bible in public school curriculum, the arguments in favour were overwhelming. The humanities and social sciences curriculum, through the civics and citizenship strand, allows for the study of Australia’s Christian heritage. But the states and territories set their own curriculums and approach to religious education.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Bible was a “key text” that has had a “fundamental impact on the Australia we live in”.”Christianity’s history and place in Australia is already part of the national curriculum, making some study of the Bible entirely consistent with adherence to the expected curriculum,” he said. “The states and territories, who apply the curriculum in their jurisdictions, need to ensure students develop the expected understanding of Australian values and beliefs, including the historical and modern role of Christianity as well as other faiths of influence.”
Source: Compiled by APN from media reports
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Malcolm Turnbull has granted an extension to the panel conducting the religious freedom review, set up after the legalisation of same-sex marriage and led by Philip Ruddock, and it will now deliver its report on May 18. It had originally been expected to report on March 31, but Mr Turnbull said “the number of submissions has made this impossible. The response from individuals and organisations has been unprecedented, with more than 16,000 public submissions received,” the Prime Minister said in a statement. “In light of the volume of submissions, I have agreed to this extension to ensure that the Panel has adequate time to carefully consider the issues raised.”
The review is being conducted by an expert panel led by former Liberal frontbencher Mr Ruddock. It was established during the same-sex marriage debate to assuage concerns about the impact a change in the Marriage Act would have on religious freedom. Mr Ruddock, in his role as the last attorney-general of the Howard government, introduced the 2004 amendment to the Marriage Act which defined it as a union between a man and a woman. He recently served as the federal government’s special envoy for human rights and has strong connections to Australia’s multicultural and religious communities.
Source: Compiled by APN from media reports
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