AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER
CONTINUOUS PRAYER WHILST THE PLEBISCITE IS IN PROGRESS
The Australian Prayer Network is conducting a season of continuous prayer through until the proposed Postal Plebiscite concludes on November 7 or the High Court declares the Plebiscite to be unconstitutional and puts an end to that process. The continuous prayer will be undergirded by our extensive National 24 Hour Prayer Watch which has been running continuously for some 17 years and which has several thousand members. Others who are not members of the Prayer Watch are free to join in prayer every day for as long as they wish and at any time of the day their schedule allows. Each week prayer points will be issued through this newsletter to prompt prayer, however we encourage each person to pray as the Holy Spirit leads them individually. Churches are welcome to use the prayer points in their Sunday bulletins to encourage prayer by all members of their congregation.
Whilst much of the activity around the Plebiscite will centre around political activism, we believe as a Prayer Network we are in a unique position to engage in the spiritual battle for our nation with the same-sex marriage issue being the vehicle through which that battle is currently being fought. We do understand that many of our members may also wish to add their hands and feet to their prayers in taking action to support the battle “on the ground”, so the Australian Prayer Network, as a member of the Coalition for Marriage, is pleased to point you to ways that you will be able to support the “No” vote in the plebiscite in practical as well as spiritual ways. For this purpose we are pleased to announce the launch of the Coalition for Marriage website at www.coalitionformarriage.com.
At that website you will be able to register for regular updates, contribute towards the fighting fund for the “NO” campaign, volunteer to assist in a number of ways and generally contribute to the campaign to preserve marriage as a permanent union between one man and one woman. It is clear this is the most important spiritual battle we have ever faced as a nation with the future of the freedom of belief and speech which we have enjoyed as Christians for more than 200 years under clear threat. If we lose this battle our long held freedoms will be lost and the Christian values which have been the bedrock of our society will be taken from us forever. Please do not underestimate the consequences of this battle, but neither fear the battle itself, but look to the One who will fight on our behalf. We can only do so much but He is able to go where we cannot, providing we do all He asks of us to defend our nation. Let us all put our shoulder to the wheel whilst also confessing our desperate need of Him and placing all our reliance on Him to secure the ultimate victory.
This week’s prayer points are:
* that God will use this time of united prayer to grow Australian Christians in their relationship with God. That our faith will grow, our commitment to God and His work in us and our nation will grow, and that we will not tire and turn back till the victory is won.
* for unity in the Body of Christ in this nation. We have a task to do together. This will only be achieved as we stay in humility, love and forgiveness, submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV) Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.)
* for the leaders in the Body of Christ in this nation, the prayerleaders, the denominational church leaders, the political leaders, the leaders in areas of education, media, health care, business, sports, arts and entertainment. Pray that each would recognize that they have been called by God to their positions for such a time as this in the nation, to choose Godliness and promote Godliness in their spheres of influence. Pray for strength, wisdom and discernment for them to do this for God’s glory to be seen.
* for the deliberations of the High Court as it meets next week to consider the case brought before it by supporters of the “Yes” case that the postal plebiscite be declared unconstitutional and struck down. Pray that God’s perfect will be done through the decision the Court reaches.
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM MUST BE PROTECTED LIBERAL SENATOR SAYS
Parliament must decide how to protect religious freedom if same-sex marriage is legalised, and cannot wait until the marriage equality postal survey is finished, the Liberal senator James Paterson has said. The Victorian senator has called for an overhaul of anti-discrimination law to allow service providers to refuse gay weddings, telling a religious freedom forum in Perth there will be no time to deal with the issue after the survey is finished. The comments escalate an internal dispute between Liberal party conservatives, including Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott, who argue that freedom of speech and religion are at issue in the postal survey, and moderates including George Brandis and Christopher Pyne, who consider the issues a distraction from the only issue in the poll: same-sex marriage.
Paterson told the Association for Reformed Political Action that denying a connection between marriage equality and religious liberty would “sidestep the difficult and complex questions this debate raises”. “There clearly is the potential for the legalisation of same-sex marriage to have flow-on effects for other people’s freedom.” He said “I believe parliament should agree to address this issue before the survey is returned. It is particularly important this work begins now, given the very short timeframe envisaged by the government between the result of the survey and the planned parliamentary vote, in the event the vote is carried.” The government has not said which bill will be used to legalise same-sex marriage if the yes vote succeeds.
Paterson called the Liberal senator Dean Smith’s private member’s bill a “good starting point” that did the “bare minimum” by allowing religious ministers to refuse same-sex weddings, but also provided protections for religious civil celebrants and religious schools and other venues. But Paterson said same-sex marriage would have “implications for people of faith who are not directly connected to religious institutions”. He warned anti-discrimination law would force private citizens who operate businesses in the wedding industry to choose between their beliefs and complying with the law. Suppliers of goods and services to gay weddings “should be allowed to make that choice without having their basic human rights infringed”, he said. Paterson called for consideration of a bill drafted by the Liberal Democrat senator, David Leyonhjelm, which would allow bakers to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding.
Conservatives including George Christensen and Cory Bernardi have long called for a right of private service providers to refuse gay weddings. Marriage equality advocates including Rodney Croome and Australian Marriage Equality spokeswoman, Shirleene Robinson, reject the removal of anti-discrimination laws which protect LGBTI Australians from being discriminated against by businesses or public officials. Paterson also called for anti-discrimination laws in Tasmania, which prohibit offence and insult based on sexuality, gender and religion, to be stripped back. “I believe it is possible for the parliament to allow both same-sex marriage and at the same time preserve the freedoms of those who have a different view. But it is a task we must first agree to take up.” The postal survey faces a high court challenge on 5 and 6 September, before survey forms will be sent out on 12 September.
Source: Compiled by APN from media reports
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CHILD ABUSE INQUIRY RECOMMENDS AN END TO SEAL OF THE CONFESSIONAL
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has recommended that the failure to report child sexual abuse in institutions should be made a criminal offence. it said that there should be “no exemption, protection or privilege from the offence granted to clergy for failing to report information disclosed in connection with a religious confession.” The recommendations are amongst a sweep of 85 legislative and policy changes proposed in a report released by the Commission, “aimed at reforming the Australian criminal justice system in order to provide a fairer response to victims of institutional child sexual abuse.” The commissioners said: “We consider it important to make clear that persons who know or suspect that a child is being or has been sexually abused should report this to police, not necessarily as a legal obligation but because it is moral and ethical to do so.
“Child sexual abuse is a crime and it should be reported to police. There should be no doubt that police are the correct agency to which child sexual abuse should be reported.” They continue: “We understand the significance of religious confession, in particular, the inviolability of the confessional seal to people of some faiths, particularly the Catholic faith. However, we heard evidence of a number of instances where disclosures of child sexual abuse were made in religious confession, by both victims and perpetrators. “We are satisfied that confession is a forum where Catholic children have disclosed their sexual abuse and where clergy have disclosed their abusive behaviour in order to deal with their own guilt. “Submissions to the Royal Commission argued that any intrusion by the civil law on the practice of religious confession would undermine the principle of freedom of religion.
In a civil society, it is fundamentally important that the right of a person to freely practise their religion in accordance with their beliefs is upheld. However, that right is not absolute. The right to practise one’s religious beliefs must accommodate civil society’s obligation to provide for the safety of all and, in particular, children’s safety from sexual abuse. Institutions directed to caring for and providing services for children, including religious institutions, must provide an environment where children are safe from sexual abuse. “Reporting information relevant to child sexual abuse to the police is critical to ensuring the safety of children. Our inquiry has demonstrated that there is significant risk that perpetrators may continue with their offending if they are not reported to police.
Reporting child sexual abuse to police can lead to the prevention of further abuse. We heard evidence that perpetrators who confessed to sexually abusing children went on to reoffend and seek forgiveness again.” In 2014, the Anglican Church of Australia changed its canon law in a unanimous vote to permit clergy to report child abuse and other serious offences disclosed in the context of a confession. In the Church of England a year earlier, following an independent review of the Church’s handling of allegations involving priest Robert Waddington, who abused children for more than 50 years, the Archbishop of York said: “If someone tells you a child has been abused, the confession should not be a cloak for hiding that business.
Source: Compiled by APN from media reports
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A STATEMENT FROM THE COALITION FOR MARRIAGE
Next month Australians from all walks of life will have the chance to vote on whether or not to change the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples. Changing the Marriage Act will have profound consequences for Australia. If we de-gender marriage, we will not be able to say ‘no’ to radical gender and gay sex education programs like “Safe Schools”. So if you are concerned about the so-called “Safe Schools” program, you must vote “No”. If you’re concerned about political correctness, you must vote “No” If you’re concerned about freedom of speech and freedom of religion, you must vote “No”. Voting “No” is the only way we can protect all our freedoms that would be at risk if Australia’s marriage law is changed. This plebiscite is a referendum on “Safe Schools”, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Unlike elections, this is not a compulsory vote, but we should all take part since it is such an important issue and the Australian public have been given the opportunity for their opinions to be expressed directly, not just through their elected members in Parliament. The Bible gives us standards for living that we teach and follow because we know it’s God’s best for people. Therefore, our church’s position is that marriage is between a man and a woman as seen in the Bible from the very beginning. Genesis 2:22-24 (ESV) says ” 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
We know that Australia will be blessed by following God’s ways so we believe that the current definition of marriage in Australian law should not be changed to include same sex marriage. This means voting NO to the question in the plebiscite. We also believe in maintaining grace, compassion and understanding for all people. When Jesus was on earth, He loved people from all walks of life. His will is that we do the same. So, we are respectful and civil to those we disagree with. We are courageous in our convictions but also wise in our communication. We pray for God’s will to be done, and for God’s kingdom to come. So let us use this opportunity to have our say, let us maintain our Christian convictions and let us love people and let God’s grace shine through us into our community. Thank you for your support.
Source: Coalition for Marriage
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LINKS TO VERY INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE VIDEO’S ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE
“YES” Campaign stoops to using “Fake News” to support its cause.
A Testimony from a child (now an adult) who grew up in a lesbian family
Why these two homosexuals oppose same-sex marriage
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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Have you visited our Web site? Australian Prayer Network