Martyn Iles: The Bell Is Tolling

From ACL, a timely warning about where our society is heading in regards to the freedom of Christians to be Christian.

 

 

Scripture seldom commands us to do anything directly in relation to the State.

A rare exception is found in 1 Timothy 2, where Paul urges us to pray for those in authority – “for kings and all who are in high positions…”

But it’s not just prayer in general. It is prayer for a specific thing – “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

This is prayer that the governing authorities might grant us to live in peace, even as we live godly lives.

Paul is saying we should pray for religious freedom.

In our own nation religious freedom is on the ropes. As Christians, we are less free to live godly lives than we were a year ago.

Many small changes have come along over the years, but the same-sex marriage law was a decisive moment.

The law on marriage used to tell us not only what marriage is, but that gender is ordered a particular way, sexuality is directed towards a particular end, and family is structured around both gender and biology. It was a heteronormative foundation for society. It taught us a great deal about human relationships.

The law on marriage now tells us something quite different about all of these things. Gender does not matter, sexuality is fluid and open-ended, family is whatever we say it is.

But it’s worse than that.

The great English common lawyer Sir William Blackstone wrote that, in an English legal system such as ours, laws are “rules of right conduct.”

Note that – they are rules. Not mere suggestions. Not symbolic. Not flexible. They are rules… And they are rules concerning what is right and what is wrong.

It is accurate, therefore, for me to say that the law on marriage now tells us that gender must not matter. Sexuality must be fluid and open ended. Family must be a flexible idea.

As Christians, we have a collection of convictions about marriage, creation and the human person which are contrary to the new rules.

We have a collection of beliefs that are, strictly speaking, against the law.

Can such beliefs be declared as true and the alternatives false in our preaching?

Can we declare the same thing in our conversations with others?

Can we create institutions and businesses that not only codify these beliefs, but conduct all of their activities in accordance with them? What about Schools? Campsites? Charities?

Can we be fit and proper people to live in society without suffering disapproval or even persecution? To hold qualifications? To teach in schools? To work in corporations and governments?

ACL’s work in the field of religious freedom indicates that the answer is increasingly uncertain.

A Tasmanian pastor is currently fighting a Supreme Court case to preserve his freedom to write blogs on marriage and distribute Christian literature in the street.

A Western Australian couple are fighting for the right to become foster parents after the agency told them it would be “unsafe” to place young children in their care because of their Christian convictions on human sexuality and gender.

A CEO was summarily dismissed for expressing his opinion on the Safe Schools program at work when challenged by a colleague.

Teachers, university academics, students, public servants and professionals across the nation are being placed under suspension, discipline and are even being sacked for their beliefs.

Faith-based schools are being sued by transgender activists because their policies reflect the belief that God made us male and female.

All these and more are cases receiving aid from the ACL.

Without very robust religious freedom protections, Christians are now sitting ducks. Our beliefs are against the law and it will become increasingly obvious with time.

Now is the time to do something about it. The window of opportunity is fading fast.

It is worth noting that Paul and Timothy could do little more than pray. They did not live in a democracy where political action was possible. They couldn’t vote, campaign, speak to their MP, or run for parliament.

But Paul set us an example for action by making the most of the scant opportunities to speak truth to power when they came his way.

The Lord told Ananias concerning Paul that he would speak to kings.

By Acts 23, Paul is speaking to Governor Felix and in Acts 26 he is telling his testimony to King Agrippa. No opportunity was wasted.

God has given us a great gift: the freedom that comes with life under democratic rule.

We live in an age where we can all make representations to our rulers, either directly or through lobbying platforms that unite and amplify our voices like ACL.

If Paul had contemplated the possibility in his time, I am certain he would have told us to both pray and act.

That is why I am asking you to do three things:

  1. Pray for your religious freedom;
  2. Be ready to engage with our religious freedom campaign once the Ruddock Review is publicly released;
  3. Donate to our end of financial year appeal.

Let’s not squander our gift of freedom whilst we still have it.

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Why You Shouldn’t Watch Shows Like “Married At First Sight”

I have always hated the show “Married At First Sight” because it really demeans the nature of marriage, but then at the place where Australian society has got to that probably doesn’t matter that much. It seems that there are a significant number of people who haven’t cottoned on to the fact that “reality television” has nothing to do with reality at all.

From the ABC:

Married at First Sight’s Davina devastated about ‘death threats, abuse’ after ‘villain’ portrayal

Davina Rankin sitting at a cafe with a drink in hand

She’s one of the most hated women on Australian television right now, and Married at First Sight’s Davina Rankin is still dealing with the pain of death threats and cruel comments she received online.

But with close to 320,000 Instagram followers, the 26-year-old businesswoman from Brisbane said she planned to use her public profile to raise awareness around the issue of cyberbullying, and would soon meet with the Queensland state Labor MP Dianne Farmer to discuss the issue.

“I barely got out of this whole ordeal alive, I can’t even imagine what it would be like for younger boys and girls who have to deal with this alone,” Rankin told the ABC.

That ordeal she refers to is Rankin’s portrayal on the Nine Network’s popular reality television series which has been airing for several weeks.

‘This was a guy I’d only known for a week’

Rankin was paired with Ryan on the show, but took a liking to Dean, who was matched with Tracey.

Dean and Rankin “secretly” agreed to leave their respective partners to pursue a relationship, but at the last minute Dean changed his mind.

“It’s just crazy because people believe so much,” Rankin said.

“They genuinely believe I had an affair on my husband. This was a guy I’d only known for a week, we’re not boyfriend and girlfriend, let alone husband and wife.

“And if it was such a ‘secret’ why were there cameras in my face the whole time?”

Cue Rankin’s social media being flooded with messages and comments about her being a “homewrecker” and “every slander word you can imagine”.

“I’ve had people tell me they would punch me if they saw me on the street … death threats.

“I feel like if I go to the shops, all of those people that have commented on a meme about me are going to be there,” Rankin said through tears.

Read the rest here, then come to your senses and avoid all “reality” shows.

Avalanche Delayed

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Today is The Day that the whole world has been awaiting for literally millennia.

The first day that same sex, no sex or any other two people can marry in Australia (apart from the ones that already did- see note below) was expected by the ABC and the other leftist media to launch a flood of excitement.

AM covered the Great Day with its usual class and lack of irony awareness. They interviewed two same sex couples, one of whom was “married” in a ceremony in Perth a couple of minutes after midnight. So nobody in Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra could be bothered making a point apparently.

The major part of the broadcast was given over to a male couple who think it’s all a jolly good thing and they are getting “married” in February- a whole month after the flood gates have been opened. And apparently Partner 1 was much keener than Partner 2 and had to get him drunk to get him to agree, which could potentially be a breach of the Marriage Act.

So the big news item on the first day of gay marriage is, well, not much is happening. So not the groundswell of demand that the activists predicted. No doubt by the time we get to the evening TV news the ABC will have found a few more and there will be the items on Saturday night as the first weekend of the brave new world unfolds. By then maybe one fifth of a thifteenth of a percent of all the people screaming for this thing will have got “married.”

Can’t wait for January 9th 2019 when the divorces start to filter through.

BTW we already had a gay “wedding” before Christmas when a couple who had already planned a celebration and had people coming from overseas gained permission to shorten the usual one-month notice period. And we have already had our first gay “divorce” when a pair “married” under British law and living in Australia were able to get “divorced” immediately after Australian law recognised their “marriage” and hence could legally “divorce” them.

Wonderful.

 

 

Economic Stupidity

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One of the things I really loathe about the place our society has sunk to is that people -often so-called “experts”, politicians and commentators- say stupid things and nobody challenges them.

On Wednesday the stupidest comment that I heard, and there were many in the category, was that legalising gay “marriage” will boost the economy by $1 billion per year. They quoted unnamed “economists” but I would say most of them would be Year 11 students.

Even if you take the quote at face value, and there was no evidence that this number was anything other than plucked out of the air on the spur of the moment, a billion dollars is nothing in our economy. Last year the Australian GDP was about a trillion dollars, so even a billion dollars increase is next to nothing, a rounding error (0.1% of the total). Compare this to coal which last year we exported over $56 billion.

But here is the stupid part of the figure. Most, if not all of the $1 billion that will now be spent (and we have no information about how accurate that figure is), would have been spent anyway. It is not money that suddenly appeared from nowhere. Yes, people in the wedding industry will get a boost, but that will be at the expense of other sectors of the economy. We all know that if you have to spend money on one thing you can’t spend it on another thing.

The annoying thing is that nobody ever questions these figures, whether handed out by politicians or unnamed sources. Don’t believe anything you hear in the media, especially when somebody is boosting their pet cause.

The Same Sex Marriage Vote

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We had our say, and the nation overwhelmingly voted “Yes” to same sex marriage. I am disappointed but not surprised.

What should Christians make of this?

Firstly, it should be a wake up call for anyone who maintains that Australia is a “Christian country.” It is not, and 60% of the population showed that they are not in favour of a strictly Christian society. Interestingly, the electorates where there was a majority “No” vote were those with a larger than average immigrant population- both Middle East and Asian.

Secondly, it should be a sign to the church that we need to be more intentional in missions. That is, we must take the message of Christ to the streets, to the workplace, to our neighbourhoods. There will be a temptation to withdraw from the public square, to sit in our comfortably padded pews and hope that nobody notices. Instead we need to get out and win hearts, minds and souls to the kingdom.

Thirdly we need to prepare for persecution for our beliefs. By that I don’t mean that Christians will be thrown into prison for being Christians. No it will be much more subtle than that. Human Rights Tribunals and other quasi-judicial bodies will prosecute individuals and groups who oppose the dominant narrative. If you dare to state that marriage should be between a man and a woman in any context other than a place of worship you may soon be liable to a complaint. If you think that is unlikely, consider the Bishop of Tasmania who was forced to appear before that state’s tribunal for publishing a booklet explaining the church’s position on marriage and supporting the current legal definition of marriage.

Finally we need to pray as never before. We must pray for our friends and neighbours to receive the gospel. People have been rejecting God for a couple of generations now and that trend is not showing any signs of being reversed. We live in a society that is increasingly narcissistic, because it is made up of people who think they are gods. We must repent of our own self-centredness and give ourselves anew to serving God and God alone.

 

Bill Muehlenberg: Marriage and History

There have been many despicable lies told by activists about the nature of marriage lately. One of these is that marriage takes many different forms in different societies. As Bill Muehlenberg points out, these are exceptions. The overwhelming natural form of marriage, in every society around the owrld and throughout history, is one man and one woman.

 

Marriage and History

Oct 7, 2017

The current marriage wars are so very odd for so many reasons. Until just recently the ideological left was vigorously insisting that marriage is just a piece of paper; that marriage is an oppressive and outdated institution; and that marriage is artificial – a relatively recent social construct.

Today however the left in general and the homosexual activists in particular are demanding the right to marriage, claiming it is the most important thing there is. So which is it? Is it just a waste of time or is it a necessity? Of course we know the answer to this already.

Marriage has never really been wanted by most homosexuals, and it is only the symbolic effect – plus the power and control that goes with it – that they seek through the redefinition – and thus destruction – of marriage. But all that I have documented in great detail elsewhere.

But let me look more closely at just one of the charges thrown around by the marriage attackers – at least up until recently. The claim that marriage and family are relatively recent inventions – often claimed to have originated in the US in the1950s! – deserves a response.

The simply answer is this: heterosexual marriage – the union of one man and one woman – is a historic and universal institution. The evidence for this is overwhelming. So all that I can do here is cite a number of experts who have done very thorough studies of such matters.

With so much material to choose from here, I have to be rather selective. But all the full quotes and references for this – and much more – are found in my book Dangerous Relations. Let me begin with family law expert Lynne Marie Kohn who stated, “Marriage was not invented, codified, or planned by human government. Rather, human government gave the stamp of approval to a design already manifested, honoured, maintained, and flourishing.”

 

Read the full article here

Gay Marriage Nothing To Do With Freedom of Speech

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Bill Muehlenberg: Affirm Traditional Marriage and You Can Lose Your Job for “Hate Speech”

Sep 19, 2017

Let me cut to the quick: if you dare to question the radical homosexual agenda, or if you dare to publicly defend what the institution of marriage has always been about, chances are very good that you can lose your job, be fined, or face other heavy-handed penalties for your views.

All over the West today free speech, religious freedom, and the democratic process itself are under direct attack. And overwhelmingly those stomping on our freedoms are the activists from the homosexual lobby and their many and various supporters.

The way things are going, I really need to write a book featuring all those who lost their jobs for daring to stand up for heterosexual marriage. Oh wait – I already did this. The first chapter of my 2014 book Dangerous Relations features not one, not two, but 165 cases of pink persecution.

They come from a 34-month period (January 2011 to October 2013) and feature just some of the cases of people losing their freedoms, being kicked out of a job, fined, or even jailed – all for the “crime” of insisting on the usual understanding of marriage, and refusing to bow down to the homosexual juggernaut.

And these were certainly not all of the cases that took place during this period. And of course not every case of this kind gets a wide public hearing, as the ones I reported on did. Thus I think it is safe to say that we now have many hundreds – if not thousands – of occurrences of this happening.

Not a day goes by when some poor soul who thought living in a free democratic society meant he could speak out on things that matter – including the historic understanding of marriage – has found himself on the receiving end of rainbow repression.

And in some places things are now this bad, but homosexual marriage has not even been legalised yet. Just imagine how much worse things will get if and when it is! Australia is one such nation, where the rainbow activists have been on a search and destroy mission, targeting anyone who dares to disagree with their radical agenda.

I have heaps of examples of this already documented on my site. Well, it is a new day, so we of course have plenty of new examples to include in this ever-expanding list of victims of the pink mafia. Let me offer just three more of them.

The first involves a small business owner in Canberra who has just fired one of her staff members. Was he caught stealing company goods? Did he seek to molest a customer? Did he trash the joint in a drunken rage? Nope, he did something far, far worse: he actually said he affirms heterosexual marriage.

Yes that is now such an horrific offence that you can lose your job over it. Try telling this guy nothing changes when we seek to redefine marriage. It has not even been legally changed here yet and we already have people losing their jobs! Wakey wakey folks!

The shop owner, Madlin Sims, wrote this on her FB page (I slightly edited one word):

Today I fired a staff member who made it public knowledge that they feel “it’s okay to vote no”.
Advertising your desire to vote no for SSM is, in my eyes, hate speech.
Voting no is homophobic. Advertising your homophobia is hate speech. As a business owner I can’t have somebody who publicly represents my business posting hate speech online.
1. Its bad for business
2. I don’t like sh*t morals
3. I don’t want homophobes working for me, especially in an environment with children.
It’s not okay to vote no. It’s not okay to be homophobic. This isn’t a matter of opinion or even religion. It’s a matter of the love & livelihood of real human beings. Freedom of speech is there for a reason and so are consequences.

Wow, did you get that? To support traditional marriage is “hate speech”! Affirming male-female marriage is “sh*t” morals! If you say marriage is about one man and one woman you are being “homophobic”! And the real howler is this: “It’s a matter of the love & livelihood of real human beings.”

Um yeah, try telling this real human being who just got fired what this love is all about, and how it impacts one’s livelihood! Usually the leftists are the first to scream about unfair dismissals and authoritarian bosses running roughshod over workers’ rights. Um, just where are all these lefties now? As Martyn Iles pointed out:

This woman has sacked a contractor for using an “it’s ok to vote no” frame on Facebook. She has a problem, though…
1) Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT) s13 — “It is unlawful for a principal to discriminate against a contract worker… (b) by not allowing the contract worker to work or continue to work”
2) Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT) s7(1)(o) — “political conviction” is a protected attribute.
It appears that what she has done is plain illegal.

My second case is not much better. One person actually rented a plane to sky write the words “Vote No”. For daring to do that all hell has broken out. They are now after his head, and he is now likely hiding in fear of his life! One news item puts it this way:

The electoral watchdog has received complaints about the “Vote No” skywriting over Sydney on the weekend not being properly authorised. A grassroots campaigner against same-sex marriage commissioned a pilot to write “Vote No””Vote No” in the sky four times on Sunday, a day after the anti same-sex marriage campaign launched nationally.
The skywriting, which was not organised by the key “no” case group Coalition for Marriage, attracted much discussion on social media, and the website from which it was crowdfunded was inundated with comments. The Australian Electoral Commission has received a number of complaints regarding the skywriting.

But get a load of all the love and tolerance he is now getting:

Social media users quickly began circulating the company’s contact information, abusing them for taking on the job. One message said the business owner is an “a***hole”. Another post said it was “probably the end of your business”.
One text message to the business owner read “you really are a sh** human. You’re definitely the biggest piece of sh** in Australia today. Probably tomorrow too. Hope you’re proud of yourself. Don’t be surprised by the hate coming for you. Titt for tatt, it’s only fair, right? You stupid, ignorant, remorseless, pathetic, old, LOSER”.

My final case involves a church that had the audacity to actually affirm two-thousand years of Christian social teaching on this issue:

A billboard outside a Brisbane church has sparked outrage ahead of the same-sex marriage vote. The Bellbowrie Community Church posted the sign: “God designed marriage between a man & a woman”. It was condemned on social media, and critics took to the church’s Facebook page to object.
“Hopefully there are churches in the area that cater to ALL Christians and not just the ones who fit in the narrow minded view of this “Church of God”. I’m sure Christ would be very disappointed in your view of Christianity,” one post said. Others started taking to the church’s review section and posting one-star reviews.
“A closed-minded group which overtly discriminates against members of our valued community and their (very reasonable) quest for marriage equality,” one woman wrote. Cartoons of same sex couples and sailors waving rainbow flags were posted in the comments under unrelated posts by the church.

So let me get this straight: now churches cannot even state publicly what the Christian view of marriage is without the haters and frenzied mobs coming out in force? I repeat: if things are this bad now, can you imagine how much worse things will get if faux marriage is legalised here?

And yet the other side keeps pushing the same old mantra that nothing changes when we change marriage. There will be no negative repercussions, they keep insisting. They are lying through their teeth and they know it. As just one of a kazillion examples, just yesterday lesbian activist and sister of Tony Abbott Christine Forster said the same thing.

She claimed on Sky News that homosexual marriage would have zero impact on free speech. She claimed that “there is nothing about changing same-sex marriage laws to allow same-sex couples to marry that will have any impact whatsoever on people’s ability to speak freely about their religion and their beliefs.”

Sure Christine, sure. Try telling that to the guy who just lost his job, or the skywriter facing the wrath of the militants, of the Queensland church subjected to so much hate and abuse. Try telling them their ability to express their beliefs – whether religious or not – will not be put at risk.

www.news.com.au/finance/work/at-work/its-not-okay-to-be-homophobic-canberra-contractor-sacked-for-vote-no-facebook-post/news-story/4ed027f47b5810e87036450054a8b6dd
au.news.yahoo.com/a/37132053/same-sex-marriage-no-case-skywriting-triggers-complaints/
www.couriermail.com.au/questnews/southwest/same-sex-marriage-supporters-critical-of-brisbane-church-billboard/news-story/240c1a37342c85ee0d50ecea0e6f2513?nk=6b87ac2934e63127b3027c05d2a15a8e-1505782321