PARTICIPANTS IN NO VOTE TELEVISION COMMERCIAL THREATENED WITH VIOLENCE
The family of a Victorian woman who fronts a national TV campaign opposing same-sex marriage has been vilified on social media and their church threatened with violence after LGBTI activists falsely claimed they were behind an ad in the local newspaper critical of homosexuality. Heidi McIvor, her husband Julian McIvor and the City Builders Church in Sale, where they both work as pastors, have been subjected to false accusations and insults over an unattributed ad in The Gippsland Times a week ago urging people to vote against changing the Marriage Act. Ms McIvor did not pay for the ad to be placed. Nor did Mr McIvor, who is also the advertising manager at the local paper. The church has previously campaigned for traditional marriage.
The parents of two have been accused of spreading hate speech and being morally bankrupt. Their names and phone numbers have been splashed all over Facebook, resulting in Mr McIvor being hit with a steady stream of abuse. “I hope he hasn’t got children that have his DNA,” one Facebook post read. “Let’s burn their church,” piped in another. The “heinous, vile, bizarre advertisement”:, as it has been described, has been interpreted as a slight on LGBTI people, those who have used adoption services or IVF, and single parents. “When the wife’s egg is fertilised by the husband’s sperm in the marital act of love, a flash of light occurs and a baby is conceived,” the ad stated. “This is not physically possible for two people of the same sex. A baby produced has to be manufactured.”
Retired farmer Pat O’Brien, the father of Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien, has since claimed responsibility for the ad, but Ms McIvor is bracing for another round of the battle, a likely side effect of agreeing to take part in the Coalition for Marriage’s TV ad. The ad features three mothers talking about politically correct sexuality education, such as the Safe Schools program, which has been criticised for teaching gender fluidity and crossing the line between education and advocacy in the classroom. “I’m not worried about a backlash because I’m not worried about having a conversation or having a debate with anybody,” Ms McIvor said.”What does worry me though is that it seems that no one can put forward an alternative opinion about marriage without it descending into personal attacks and threats.”
Fellow campaigner Cella White has been accused of falsifying her claim that her son was told by a schoolteacher that “he could wear a dress to school next year if he wanted”. The Fairfax Media reported that the principal of the school, Frankston High in Melbourne, said Ms White’s claim had no substance. “I have never had any complaints that we advised the boys they could wear dresses,” principal John Albiston said. “We didn’t offer them that option.” Ms White last night angrily stood by her claim. “I spoke to the deputy principal, I spoke to the school chaplain, I spoke to two people from the Department of Education. I even spoke to the front-office lady,” she said. “To suggest that the school was not aware of my concerns is a lie.”
Mrs McIvor said she had conducted her own research into the Safe Schools program and was active in a Facebook group with other concerned parents. And while she’s worked on staff for various politicians in the past, including former Family First senator Steven Fielding, she insisted she was not a “political activist”, simply a “concerned mother” who wanted her children to be able to attend public school “without being indoctrinated”. While critics of the television advertisement have argued that same-sex marriage has nothing to do with the Safe Schools program, which has been defunded by the federal government but remains compulsory in Victorian secondary schools, Ms McIvor said international experience suggested otherwise.
Editors footnote: Subsequently The Australian Newspaper has reported that Victorian Mrs White did raise concerns ‘a year ago’ with the Victorian Education Department that her son was told he could wear a dress to school. The department has confirmed they then followed up the complaint with the school. This revelation from the department directly contradicts claims by the school principal the issue had not been raised with him.
Tens of thousands of Christians will next weekend celebrate traditional marriage by teaching, preaching and praying on a biblical view of marriage, on Marriage Sunday 10 September, marking the start of Australian Marriage Week. Hundreds of Australian churches across dozens of denominations, from Catholic and Orthodox through to Anglican, Baptist and Pentecostal, will take part. Australia’s most loved tennis champion and Christian leader not afraid of controversy, Margaret Court, has led the call for Christians across the country to reflect on the biblical foundations and sanctity of marriage on Marriage Sunday. “Our nation is at a crossroads but we know God is sovereign. With Marriage Sunday starting off Marriage Week, we are urging church leaders to teach and preach on God’s design for marriage but also to pray about the future of marriage, to put our faith and trust in Him,” she said.
“Marriage Sunday is an opportunity for churches to stand in unison on the written word of God and stand up for what they believe,” she said. “I have witnessed and experienced outrage, vitriol and abuse for simply believing what the Bible says on marriage,” Rev Court said, “but on Marriage Sunday, I encourage Christians to stand together without fear of being persecuted for their beliefs.” Rev Court said she welcomed calls for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting by Australian Christian Churches and the Anglican Church and reiterated that Marriage Sunday was broader than any one movement or denomination. Christian marketplace leader and founder of Christian Federation, Peter Kentley says a growing number of leaders from many different mainline denominations have recently come on board with their support for Marriage Sunday, including Anglican, Catholic, Baptist and Pentecostal.
“I have been delighted by the level of support across denominations, not only for traditional marriage but for Marriage Week and those prepared to preach, teach and pray for marriage on Marriage Sunday,” he said. He also highlighted the fact that many Australian Indigenous leaders, as well as church leaders from non-English speaking churches, have also joined the call for preaching, teaching and praying about marriage on 10 September. Mr Kentley said that the national postal vote had united Christians of every denomination, tribe, tongue and church, around marriage and Marriage Sunday and was an opportunity to strengthen God’s view of marriage. He pointed out that Marriage Week Australia had been celebrated annually for almost a decade but “by the grace of God, it happens to fall this year in a week that is extremely important for the future of our country.”
Marriage Sunday kicks off National Marriage Week which was first established. in Australia nine years ago after Dennis and Ann Outred, then national coordinators of the Alpha Marriage Course, felt God calling them to establish a week around the ancient Hebrew festivals, to encourage, honour and promote marriage within the church and to celebrate marriage as a blessing from God. “Marriage Week is all about encouraging married couples in their walk with God together, that their marriage might reflect that mystery between Christ and his church that St Paul writes of in Ephesians chapter 5” Mr Outred said. The first pilot of Marriage Week ran in Sydney in 2008 with the support of Christian broadcaster, Hope 103.2. According to Mr Outred, every Christian AM, FM, and Digital broadcaster, has joined Marriage Week now. For more information go to www.marriageweek.org.au and www.christianfederation.net.au
PRAYER POINTS FOR CONTINUOUS PRAYER DURING THE POSTAL PLEBISCITE
This week let us pray for:
* the ladies who appeared in the “NO” vote television advertisement, and their families, who have been vilified by supporters of same-sex marriage for standing up to state their concerns as to the consequences should same-sex marriage be legalised in Australia. Pray they will not back down but maintain their public position in the midst of the hate and vitriol being thrown at them.
* our National Political leaders to speak out against those using this campaign to seek to close down meaningful debate and to restrict freedom of speech and to take steps to introduce laws that will protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion should same-sex marriage be legalised.
* those supporting same-sex marriage to overplay their hand thus causing many Australians who may have voted for same-sex marriage to think again and vote “NO” in order to maintain long held and basic freedoms which we have had in our nation for generations.
Thank you to all those standing up to defend the Marriage Act. This is obviously the biggest week so far of the campaign. Both sides have gone to air with their first television commercials. As expected, our opponents have attacked our advertisement and our message. Let us be very clear. This plebiscite is a referendum on consequences. If Australia’s marriage laws are changed there will be profound consequences for schools and freedoms. Every claim in the Widespread and Compulsory commercial is true. Children in year 7 are being asked to role play being in same-sex relationships. Such a suggestion is contained on page 20 of the resource available on the Victorian Department of Education’s website. When same-sex marriage has been legislated overseas, these types of programs have become widespread and compulsory.
In Canada, Steve Tourloukis, lost a court battle seeking to remove his kids from radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education. Vishnitz Girls’ School in the UK, a private school for orthodox Jewish girls only began failing educational authority ‘equality’ standards after gay marriage was legalised. Cella White’s son’s class was told that they could wear the uniform of their choice. This is entirely consistent with the resources made available by the Safe Schools Coalition to schools including Frankston High School. Such resources include a poster of a boy in a dress below. Thank you for your continued support for the Coalition for Marriage. For now things are going exceptionally well. We are signing up and training thousands of volunteers. Our grassroots fundraising is likely setting new records for a political movement in Australia. People are rallying to the cause of protecting our freedoms. With 2 weeks to go before ballots are posted, Australia is finally having the debate about consequences it has so badly needed.
Prison Fellowship Australia is part of Prison Fellowship International. Each year a Week of Prayer is held for their ministry. This year the week of prayer will be held from Sunday 10 September to Sunday 17 September and gives an opportunity for Prison Fellowship to communicate and connect with churches and the community in order to focus on their ministry among prisoners, ex-prisoners, the families of prisoners, and victims of crime. In keeping with the vision of Prison Fellowship, the Week of Prayer reflects the threefold mission of the ministry, Transformation, Reconciliation, and Restoration.
The following themes can be used as a daily prayer focus for the Week of Prayer.
LAWYERS AND DOCTORS SPLIT OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE STANCE
The nation’s largest professional body for solicitors faces the prospect of legal action because it failed to consult its members before endorsing same-sex marriage. The row in the legal profession has flared as the Australian Medical Association (AMA) is hit by resignations over the same issue. The NSW Law Society is under fire from critics who claim they have misled the public into believing that the state’s 29,000 solicitors supported same-sex marriage. Sydney solicitor Robin Speed has given the Law Society a deadline of 4pm on September 8 to make it clear that the legal profession “is not in unison on the issue and may vote as they choose”. A prominent paediatrician has become the second medic to resign from the AMA, claiming its support for same-sex marriage “completely overlooks studies that have documented considerable long-term adverse outcomes for children raised in same-sex marriages”.
Robert Hardwick said yesterday the AMA’s position was “flawed, deceitful, unscholarly and unscientific”. “They have only referenced very poor quality, biased studies to back up their claims,” said Dr Hardwick, who is a specialist at the Sydney Adventist Hospital. His resignation comes soon after Chris Middleton, a former president of AMA Tasmania, renounced his life membership in the national body’s roll of fellows because of a lack of consultation on the issue. Mr Speed’s move against the Law Society is in response to a joint press release endorsing gay marriage that was issued on August 19 by the Law Society, the NSW Bar Association and the NSW branch of the AMA. “The last thing I want to do is take the Law Society to court, but they have now been put on notice, I hope common sense prevails,” said Mr Speed, a founder of Speed & Stracey.