AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER
THE DILEMMA OF CRITICISING ISLAMIC POLITICS AND RELIGION
A recent Q & A Panel consisting of Kate Tempest, Award-winning poet and rapper; Jean-Christophe Rufin, Co-founder, Medecins Sans Frontieres; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Controversial Somalian feminist and author Heretic; Julian Baggini, Philosopher; and Emma Sky, Former adviser to the US military in Iraq – conveyed that criticising Islamic politics and religion has dilemmas. There is a political “over-sensitivity” inhibiting free debate of Islam in the wake of acts of terror, according to philosopher Julian Baggini. He said “Commentators were shying away from being too vocal in the debate.” And then this by Ayaan Hirse Ali – the world sees Muslim people through a lens of “victims and victimisation”, which made it difficult to question the religion.
Ali, who wrote the book Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, said “It is not unreasonable to call on the peaceful majority to condemn acts of violence committed in the name of their religion. We live in a world where people who identify themselves as Muslims invoke the Quran and invoke the Prophet Muhammad and go around killing people shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar’,” she said. “I think it is justified for those of us who don’t do that to ask fellow Muslims: ‘what on earth is that about?’ “That is not Islamophobia, that is not unfair, if you share the philosophy, the religion, the tradition … it is making an appeal on your citizenship, on your obligation to this community and I don’t think you should be offended by that.”
Medecins Sans Frontieres co-founder Jean-Christophe Rufin said people had a “perfect and total right” to question religion, but it should be responsible criticism. There’s a certain over-sensitivity, this idea, that superior virtue of the oppressed. “The Muslim peoples of the world are put in the category of the oppressed, which means you can’t say anything critical of them. I think there’s something of that.” There is a clear and unequivocal mandate in any free society to question religious motives, to ascertain what engages those who commit acts of violence in the name of religion and moreover, to enquire of those who are co-religionists why are they not speaking out when nauseous acts are perpetrated.
All recognise these as valid and mandated in a liberal democracy. But, and here’s the but, the politically correct sensitivities toward the Islamic belief system is housed within their own political and religious sentiment. In other words, to say anything at all, can be construed as being defamatory, insensitive, racist, bigotry, and ill-informed. This means therefore that Shire Councils are being asked to provide for Sharia Law compatible change rooms for Muslim girls. The food we purchase needs to be Sharia Law (Halal) certified in case a Muslim person wants to shop in that store. The list is endless. To voice an opinion in opposition is to bring the house down (as it were).
The Q&A Panellists identified the issues but were unable to give politicians a way through this maze as Islamic demands impinges upon every area of life, although only 1.75% of the Australian population. Other minor religious groups – the Hindus of Australia, the Buddhists of Australia, the Jews of Australia, the Greek Orthodox of Australia and the rest of them don’t place upon the whole of society such demands. Common-good markets are part of Australian life – they could be subjugated. Political parties working through these issues have to find a way to circumnavigate such dilemmas in such a way that a “common-good” is found for society. Whatever your own political philosophies there are areas that should be raised for valid discussion.
One Law for All Australians – No Sharia Law
Freedom for All – Freedom for Religious Beliefs and Freedom of Speech
Fighting Back – Defending Christian Values and Beliefs
With a Federal Election not that far off, these are being raised. As the Q&A Panellists affirmed, we live in a liberal democracy, where we can have our own view. There is growing recognition in Australia that it shows respect to a Muslim friend or associate to discuss their religious / political system (one and the same). Likewise to present a case for religious freedom / political democracy where the “one and the same” is not compatible and the social rules governing the “one and the same” are not compatible. These issues not being raised in free debate creates society tensions. There are refugees coming to Australia and New Zealand whose sole aim is to build a new life and hold their religion within the framework of their new situation.
I have friends in Auckland whose passion is to assist such people and love them for who they are and rejoice with them as they rejoice with each step of the way. There are churches in Australia engaged in the same process. The Australian ‘common-good’ question relates to these efforts. At the same time, it was revealed last week nine active terrorist plans were thwarted. Not to be aware of these things is like hiding your head in the sand and there are plenty of Biblical announcements let alone Jesus’ parables about being prepared. Common-good markets are part of Australian life – they could be subjugated.
Source: by Dr Mark Tronson – Press Service International
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BAN ON COMMERCIAL SURROGACY CONTINUES
A Federal government inquiry has recommended the ban on commercial surrogacy continue, which was one of the key arguments of a submission from the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs began an inquiry last year into international and domestic surrogacy arrangements, and took more than one hundred submissions from the public, medical and legal organisations, and community groups. The submission from the Social Issues Committee, written by medical ethics expert, Dr Megan Best and endorsed by Archbishop Glenn Davies, argued that commercial surrogacy could not be justified in any context.
“It commodifies children. Second, it exploits financially needy women, who may engage in surrogacy for profit when they would not do so otherwise.” the submission said. “Such concerns are evident in developing countries involved in the international surrogacy trade. The socio-economic disparity between commissioning parents and surrogates is often great, leading to unequal bargaining power between the two, and reports of unfair and dangerous treatment of vulnerable women in some overseas countries.” The Social Issues Committee argued that a ‘harm minimisation’ approach in developed countries had not resolved ethical issues, such as disputes arising when a surrogate wanted to withdraw from a commercial contract.
The Parliamentary report agreed that Australia’s ban on commercial surrogacy should remain in place but said State and Federal governments should work together to develop a model national law that facilitates non-commercial or ‘altruistic’ surrogacy in Australia. It said the law should ensure the best interests of the child should be protected (including the child’s safety and well-being and right to know about their origins), the surrogate mother should make a free and informed decision about whether to act as a surrogate, and that there be legal clarity about the parent-child relationships that result from the arrangement. The Diocese of Sydney submission began with a major statement on marriage, parenthood and the sanctity of human life.
“Marriage (lifelong commitment between a man and woman) is the ideal foundation for a family, whereby through the act of sexual intercourse, the child is conceived by a mother and begotten by a father, creating continuity between biological and social roles. While the vicissitudes of life can prevent this ideal from being realised, we nonetheless believe this should be the aim in the creation of new families.” The submission said “We believe that parenthood is a blessing, not a right, and that children are not commodities to be commissioned at will.” Further, it said, “We believe that human life begins at fertilisation (joining of the male and female gametes) and that it should be respected from that time onwards.”
The Diocese of Sydney submission supported developing the regulatory regime of State and Federal governments in non-commercial surrogacy, as well as legal clarity and the paramount role of the welfare of the child. “We object to surrogacy arrangements that prioritise the preferences of commissioning parents, as this promotes the model of offspring as commodity.” the diocesan submission said. “Our view of the value of the human embryo leads us to support the transfer to a uterus of all embryos created through ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies). Once a child is conceived, their life should be preserved regardless of a change of preferences by the adults involved.”
Reflecting recent controversies over international and third world surrogacy arrangements, the Social Issues Committee urged that “commissioning parents should not be able to withdraw their intention to parent, once a surrogate is pregnant.” “We believe this should be an absolute responsibility, regardless of any unexpected events such as multiple pregnancy and/or detection of abnormality in the child. The risk of this occurring is real, as illustrated by the much-publicised example of Baby Gammy in 2014.” The submission said that if the surrogate is unwilling to retain parenthood of the child, the commissioning parents should be legally and financially responsible for the ongoing nurture of any children born until they reach adulthood.
Source: Sydney Anglican News
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HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST CLAIMS SAFE SCHOOLS PROGRAM HAS BEEN HIJACKED
Editors comments: This article demonstrates that even within the homosexual and transgender community the Safe Schools program is controversial. When will our Governments wake up?
La Trobe University has suspended Safe Schools co-founder Roz Ward, as a former member of Victoria’s homosexual and transgender advisory committee warned the program was untenable because it had been hijacked by radical gender theory. Earlier Ms Ward had called for the “racist Australian flag” at state parliament to be replaced with a “red one”, prompting her to quit her advisory role with the Victorian government and sparking a university investigation. That investigation resulted in the Marxist Ms Ward’s suspension for “undermining” public confidence in the program because she continued to push ideologies that were “unrelated”. A spokesman for La Trobe University said: “We are following our normal HR procures and we will not make any further comment.”
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said La Trobe had charged Ms Ward with “serious misconduct over media commentary on her private Facebook post”. NTEU Victorian secretary Colin Long accused the university of giving in to a “media campaign”. “That La Trobe University has apparently allowed itself to be cowed into participating in anti-intellectual, anti-democratic attacks reflects the dismal state of intellectual capacity at the senior management level in some Australian universities,” Dr Long said. “We are very concerned that La Trobe University seem to think that political views should be a criterion for employment, as was the case in the Soviet Union.” The NTEU said it “considers that this is discrimination on the basis of political opinion and will be considering all legal avenues of redress”.
Homosexual rights activist Rob Mitchell — who was sacked from his Victorian government advisory role in 2014, arguing that he lost his job because he was too publicly critical of the former Napthine government for its inaction in tackling homophobia in schools — now believes Safe Schools has gone too far. “They are completely out of control,’’ he said. The Ballarat farmer was frustrated while on the government advisory committee with the slow rollout of Safe Schools and other anti-homophobia programs and was pushing for more resources and government initiatives. He said he threatened to make a bumper sticker saying that his boss — then ministerial advisory committee chairwoman Ruth McNair — was undermining the health of young people.
“The tragedy in all this is: when I was agitating for money to be put in anti-homophobia programs, the Safe Schools Coalition was what I would call a vanilla anti-homophobia program,’’ he said. “It seems to have been transformed into this queer theory sort of academic driven nonsense. As part of that process, they have lost their core constituency, which is parents of school kids. It has been completely hijacked, been derailed.” He said the program needed to be replaced and that La Trobe University was too influential in homosexual and transgender research. Mr Mitchell was instrumental in the AFL Players’ Association’s anti-homophobia campaign in 2010. “Safe Schools is now busted. The brand that is Safe Schools is now indelibly linked to this sort of out-there radical queer theory narrative,” he said.
“It’s really out there academic theory about how people construct their gender identity. This is all just academic. We didn’t sign up for this.” Mr Mitchell said. He said Safe Schools was meant to be about teaching children some people were homosexual, some were straight, some were bisexual, and they shouldn’t be abused. “Parents will get behind that and say, ‘I don’t want my kid abused at school for any reason,” he said. “If they stuck to the basics and rolled that out, they might have got a bit of resistance, but that resistance would not have got any traction.” The Safe Schools Coalition material tells teachers not to refer to students as “boys and girls”, as the terms are “heterosexist”. The program teaches that gender is not a binary male-female stereotype but about “how you feel inside” and “may change over time”.
Late breaking news: Roz Ward has since been reinstated by La Trobe University under threat of legal action.
Source: Compiled by APN from media reports
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