AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER
- THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY IS NOT WELCOME IN NEW ZEALAND
- FRANCE REJECTS A THIRD GENDER CATEGORY
- OUTRAGED CANADIAN PARENTS SHUT DOWN TRANSGENDER PLAY AT THEIR SCHOOL
- THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND MOVES TOWARDS ALLOWING SAME-SEX WEDDINGS
- FRANKLIN GRAHAM HOSTS CONFERENCE ON PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS WORLDWIDE
- MODERN DAY SLAVERY THREATENS WEST AFRICAN REFUGEES
THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY IS NOT WELCOME IN NEW ZEALAND
No one will deny the bias in the media against traditional marriage supporters. Same-sex marriage advocates seem to get a pass and boost in almost every outlet. In New Zealand, one government board has taken this to a new level. The New Zealand Charities Board has recently decided that they will strip Family First NZ of its charity status, because they advocate for the traditional family. It is a low-blow, but not one that should come as a surprise. For years, the board has made no secret of its disdain for Family First NZ. The board’s move to deregister Family First as a charity goes back to 2013 when it told the group: ” We do not consider that the Trust continues to qualify for registration as it has an independent purpose to promote and protect the traditional family and this is not charitable.”
However, with NZ’s recent legalisation of same-sex marriage, Family First was made a target for daring to oppose the politically-correct norm of the day. Co-incidentally, this decision followed the legalisation of same-sex marriage in New Zealand, which Family First had opposed, sponsoring a petition against the redefinition of marriage in 2012. The group fought deregistration and the Wellington High Court in 2015 told the board to reconsider. In his decision Justice Collins recognised the strength of Family First’s argument that its advocacy for the concept “of the traditional family is analogous to organisations that have advocated for the ‘mental and moral improvement’ of society.” The board was told by Justice Collins that “Members of the Charities Board may personally disagree with the views of Family First, but at the same time recognise there is a legitimate analogy between its role and those organisations that have been recognised as charities.”
What the government board failed to offer was a clear explanation on why now the board has rescinded on its own decision to grant Family First a charity status. As FF’s National director, Bob McCoskrie, pointed out, it is not Family First that has changed, but the board’s personal views on what constitutes a “charitable organisation,” and the hypocrisy of demoting Family First but not its opponents. Family First gained approval as a charity 11 years ago. It has passed two audits, one as recently as 2010, and has made no change to the nature of its operations over years. “It appears that only the opinion of the government organisation overseeing charities has changed,” says Mr McCoskrie. Currently registered as charities, and apparently not under threat of losing that status, are three groups that opposed Family First during the same-sex marriage debate: QSA Network Aotearoa, Waikato Queer Youth, Rainbow Youth Incorporated.
Also basking in official approval are the Humanist Society of NZ, a crusading secularist group, and a slew of human rights groups dealing with controversial issues, including other gay and transgender rights organisations. Apparently it’s OK to lobby for new ideas about human beings and the way they relate to one another, but not for the tried and tested ones on which societies currently depend. In demoting NZ Family First from a charitable status, the government board is making the statement that promoting the family is incompatible with being charitable. In doing so, they establish a precedent towards precluding al faith-based organisations from providing charity altogether. It is a simple fact that in countries where same-sex marriage is legalised, opposing it becomes criminalised, and opposers become unprotected victims.
Even here in Australia, we see blatant resentment for those who support traditional marriage. Penny Wong’s own words on the subject indicate that she equates opposing same-sex marriage with homophobia. She has stated that “opponents of marriage equality already use words that hurt.” If we are going to worry about words that hurt, surely telling traditional family supporters that their cause is unworthy would employ ‘hurtful’ words? It is beyond dispute that stable families are good for society, taxpayers pay less on services, the physical and mental health of children is given its most protected setting, and the family is the only functional social unit that promotes and enables population stability, just to name a few. The same-sex marriage agenda is paving the way for the government to get involved in family life in order to promote a politically correct ideology over the good of the society.
Source: Marriage Alliance Australia
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FRANCE REJECTS A THIRD GENDER CATEGORY
France’s highest court last week rejected the notion of a “neutral” gender. The ruling upheld a lower court’s decision denying a French citizen with a sex development disorder the right to use “neutral” as an official gender. The Court de Cassation, France’s supreme court, ruled that the distinction between male and female was “necessary to the social and legal organization, of which it is a cornerstone,” and that the recognition of a neutral gender would have “profound repercussions on rules of French law” and necessitate legislative changes, according to Agence France-Presse. The plaintiff, a 65-year-old psychotherapist from eastern France known by the pseudonym Gaetan Schmitt, was assigned male at birth despite having intersex genitalia. Schmitt is married to a woman and has an adopted child but claims to be neither male or female.
In 2015, a family affairs judge in Tours ruled in Schmitt’s favour, but an appeals court overturned the ruling last year. Schmitt’s attorney, Bertrand Perier, called the high court ruling a “missed opportunity,” in an interview with The New York Times. “I don’t see why France’s social or legal organization would necessitate gender binarism.” Perier said Schmitt was raised as a boy because his mother wanted a son. “Gaetan is neither a man nor a woman. They do not feel like a man or woman. They cannot become a man or woman. And they do not want to become a man or woman,” Perier said, referring to Schmitt with a plural pronoun. Only a few countries, including Australia, Nepal, India, and New Zealand, have a legal third gender. Other countries allow parents to delay declaring a gender for babies born with a sex development disorder, but only for a limited time.
Schmitt plans to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. But even if that court reversed last week’s ruling and affirmed the family affairs judge’s declaration that Schmitt should have right to use a “neutral” gender because of a sex development disorder, the ruling would still link gender to biology. Some activists say that is unacceptable and are pushing for laws like New Zealand’s, which allow transgender and cross-dressing people, in addition to those with intersex genitalia, to also use a third category “gender diverse” as their legal gender. But gender is inherently biological, according to a scientific study released earlier this year that found more than 1,500 sex-specific genes throughout the body. The study by Moran Gershoni and Shmuel Pietrokovski at the Weizmann Institute of Science was looking for an explanation for the prevalence of certain diseases in men and women.
They found many genes are expressed, or copied out to make proteins, differently in men and women in many more ways than previously imagined. “Overall, sex-specific genes are mainly expressed in the reproductive system, emphasizing the notable physiological distinction between men and women,” the report, published in BMC Biology, said. “However, scores of genes that are not known to directly associate with reproduction were also found to have sex-specific expression (e.g., the men-specific skin genes).” In addition to 1,559 sex-specific genes, Gershoni and Pietrokovski found over 6,500 genes with significant sex-differential expression. These sex-linked genes were found not only in reproductive organs and the mammary (milk-producing) tissue, but also the skin, skeleton, heart, brain, lungs, and stomach, among other areas.
For example, they found genes that were highly expressed in the skin of men related to the growth of body hair and genes highly expressed in women related to fat storage. They also found a gene mainly expressed in the brain of women that scientists think might protect the female neurons from Parkinson’s, a disease with a higher prevalence and earlier onset in men, and a gene expressed in the liver of women regulating drug metabolism, providing molecular evidence for the known fact that men and women process drugs differently. The study said more research is needed to understand how the differences between men and women cause disease and change the way each sex responds to treatment.
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OUTRAGED CANADIAN PARENTS SHUT DOWN TRANSGENDER PLAY AT THEIR SCHOOL
A Catholic school district is facing backlash for cancelling a play about gender identity aimed at 5- to 10-year-olds. The play is called “Boys, Girls and Other Mythological Creatures” and it’s the newest controversy in an ongoing saga surrounding gender identity and transgenderism. The show was booked for five elementary schools in the Niagara Catholic School District in Ontario, Canada until school officials raised concerns and cancelled the showings. “I fear these cancellations may be based on misinformation, grown out of fear, intolerance, transphobia, homophobia and misogyny,” wrote Jessica Carmichael, the artistic director of the Carousel Playhouse. Produced by the St. Catherine’s-based Carousel Playhouse, the play centres on an 8-year-old boy named Simon who believes he’s really a girl named Simone.
“In the play, Simon(e) feels boxed in by the restrains of gender,” Carmichael wrote in a letter posted on the playhouse website. Simon dresses like a girl and plays with Barbie Dolls in the show, something the Catholic school district believes is not appropriate, especially for children as young as five-years-old. The school district released a statement claiming that the play “was not originally presented as a play about gender identity.” However, LGBT activists defend the play, saying it meets Canada’s Ministry of Education’s guidelines regarding sex education for elementary school children. The curriculum states: “It is also critical to student success to create an atmosphere in which students of all body shapes and sizes, abilities, gender identities and sexual orientations, and ethno-cultural, racial and religious backgrounds feel accepted, comfortable and free from harassment.”
Clinton Somerton of Campaign Life Coalition praised the Catholic board for its actions. “Pope Francis condemned attempts to indoctrinate children into gender ideology, expressing outrage over such sexual propaganda saying, ‘Today children are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her gender. And this is terrible!'” Somerton said. “So the Niagara Catholic School Board was wisely following the Pope’s guidance by protecting its students from the psycho-sexual molestation of the theatre group’s propaganda-in-a-play.” Some parents are upset that schools are facilitating conversations about gender and sex that should be left between parents and their children. “What other new ways will people come up with to force this propaganda on our kids? Enough is enough,” says Tanya Granic Allen, mother of four and executive director of a parents’ rights group Parents As First Educator.
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THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND MOVES TOWARDS ALLOWING SAME-SEX WEDDINGS
The Church of Scotland has taken steps to allow its ministers to perform same-sex weddings, after debating a report in its General Assembly. The report, put forward by the influential Theological Forum, acknowledged that the Bible condemns same-sex acts but claimed Scripture was framed by cultural context. Marriage was redefined in Scotland in 2014, but individual churches are not required to participate in same-sex ceremonies. Rev. Prof Iain Torrance, Convener of the Theological Forum said everyone in the Assembly was on “a spectrum of interpretation,” and suggested there was no theological reason not to allow ministers to conduct same-sex weddings. A series of amendments put forward by supporters of Biblical marriage were defeated.
The Kirk will now conduct legal research to determine how same-sex weddings in churches can be allowed. But the report was not without opposition. Rev. Dale London, a Church of Scotland minister in Angus, said that homosexuality was against the Word of God, and that “We cannot call good what God has called evil.” A spokesman for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland said: “many people in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland will be deeply saddened by today’s developments in Scotland, which we believe is at variance with the traditional Biblical understanding of marriage between one man and one woman.” Rev. Mike Goss spoke against changing the Kirk’s doctrine when the report was released in April. He said at the time that “same-sex relationships are not what God has planned for us as human beings.”
He added that no one was without fault, even in heterosexual relationships, but that “we don’t bless that which is wrong and that has got to be key in terms of the Gospel.” The report acknowledged that “conservative arguments” are based on the Bible’s recognition of sexual immorality, including same-sex acts, as sinful. But it justified its decision on the grounds that “Scriptural condemnations of same-sex sexual activity were framed in cultural contexts very different from our own.” The report did concede that no change should take place unless freedom of conscience is upheld for ministers or deacons who object.
Source: Charisma News
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FRANKLIN GRAHAM HOSTS CONFERENCE ON PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS WORLDWIDE
Leading evangelist Franklin Graham addressed persecuted Christians from over 130 countries gathered for the first-ever World Summit in Defence of Persecuted Christians and explained the “real reason” why so many people throughout the world are being killed, tortured and imprisoned for their faith in Christ. Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, delivered a keynote address during the opening session of the World Summit in Defence of Persecuted Christians at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. on May 10, 2017. Graham welcomed Christians of all denominational and cultural stripes who travelled from all over the world to the summit on behalf of his father, the 98-year-old Billy Graham.
“This conference is not an ecumenical effort to unite Christians through theology or organizational means. This summit intentionally includes people from many denominations and traditions,” the 64-year-old Graham said. “As it has been said, the persecution of one Christian, affects us all.” “I would like to remind all of us that no one has suffered more than our Lord Jesus Christ,” Graham added. “May the story of the Lord Jesus Christ and His suffering for us be the focus of the primary message of this conference.” As the conference aims to allow persecuted Christians from every corner of the globe to share their stories of persecution and tribulations, Graham took time from his speech to highlight for an ovation the family members of some of the 20 Coptic Christians beheaded by the Islamic State on a beach in Libya in February 2015.
The publicized footage of their beheadings helped millions realize the horror that many of their brothers and sisters are facing around the world at the hands of anti-Christian extremists. “Tragically, this is not an isolated incident,” Graham asserted. “Today, our Christian brothers and sisters in many countries are facing persecution and martyrdom on an unprecedented scale. In fact, throughout the world the number of Christians facing hostility, persecution and even death is greater than at any time in history.”
Source: Christian Post
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MODERN DAY SLAVERY THREATENS WEST AFRICAN REFUGEES
Desperate West African migrants are fleeing joblessness and violence, hoping for a better life in Europe. They sometimes pay exorbitant fees to smugglers to get to Libya, the nearest launch pad for Italy. Few realize that Libya in its current lawless state may well be the end of their journey and their lives. Slavery is rampant in Libya and is practiced openly. The UN agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports, “The situation is dire.” Betrayed by ruthless smugglers, kidnapped off of the streets, sub-Saharan migrants are exploited by money-hungry Arabs. Some are sold; others are imprisoned. Escapees describe squalid conditions in prison, little food, and always forced labour. Captors regularly call home demanding a ransom. Men whose ransoms are not quickly paid are executed. With meagre food and unsanitary conditions, the death rate is rampant. What started as a dream and hope for a better life and future ends for many in slavery or death. The IOM has repatriated 1,500 people in the first three months of this year.
Please pray for:
* the IOM as it addresses the terrible sin of slavery being perpetrated in Libya. Pray God gives them creative ideas in stemming the tide of vulnerable refugees as well as repatriating as many as possible. Pray too that those involved in the slave trade that there plans would be thwarted.
* the victims of slavery to acknowledge their helplessness and cry out to The Almighty God for help and salvation (The Bible, Psalm 23 ).
* Christians around the world to become knowledgeable and concerned about those treated inhumanely. Pray for Christians to raise their voices in prayer to God, asking Him for divine intervention to stop this terrible atrocity.
Source: Windows International Network
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