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September 2018

MY ANGEL IS NO CENTREFOLD

By | Feature Articles

What do Metallica’s James Hetfield, a church pastor and a group of college students have in common?  They’re part of an unlikely alliance raising awareness of the damage pornography is doing. After the death of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, pornography made its way out of the shadows and into the spotlight.  Public response was divided: some saw Hef as a champion of sexual liberation, while others slammed the mogul for destroying lives.  It’s rare that someone’s death divides society so dramatically, but when it comes to the founder of a multi-million-dollar pornography empire it’s no surprise.

Which is why I was shocked when I found the middle ground taken by a church pastor.  And not just any pastor.  It was Craig Gross, the founder of anti-porn movement XXXchurch.  Gross’s entire career is based around the concept that “Jesus Loves Porn Stars”, and he has spoken to countless people in the sex industry about the dangers of pornography and how to overcome addiction.  If anyone was going to glory in this hit to the Playboy Empire, I would expect it to be him.  Gross had taken his own tour of the Playboy mansion years ago and had heard from an inside source that Hef kept a copy of Rick Warren’s faith-based book The Purpose Driven Life beside his bed.

It gave him the congenial respect to post this in response to Hefner’s death: “I don’t know if Hef is looking down on us right now or not, but my faith is just big enough to hold on to the hope that this brilliant mind who started at Esquire and went on to build an empire was smart enough to pick up that Christian book on his shelf and possibly could have found his true purpose.”  Gross’s choice to reach out to those affected by Hugh Hefner’s death rather than dispense morality-based judgment is the calling card of a new generation of anti-porn crusaders.  And while crusaders may sound like strong language, it’s appropriate.

Because this fact-based movement, which listens to people’s stories, observes how porn changes the brain, damages relationships and harms children, believes they are fighting what could be the most damaging drug of our times: pornography.  As in the magazines you used to sneak out of your parents room as a kid.  Except now porn isn’t just in print: it’s online.  And technology has exacerbated porn to the point where it is more efficient, violent, cheaper and more accessible than ever before.  This means young people are increasingly accessing porn, the median age they first see it is 11, and boys aged between 14–17 years are the most frequent under-age consumers of porn.

But porn isn’t just damaging the lives of children, it’s also impacting adults.  In 2006, a study found that 82% of 18–49-year-olds looked at pornographic magazines, 84% viewed pornographic films, and 34% viewed pornography online.  Experts anticipate this has risen in the last decade.  “As porn becomes more violent and degrading, so do the real-life requests of boys and men,” Michelle Brock told Relevant Magazine, reflecting on what she learnt after creating the anti-porn documentary Over 18.  One mum in tears, told us her 14-year-old daughter had been asked by several guys in her class for naked pictures of herself which would then get traded between boys during recess.”

Filmmaker Justin Hunt heard about even more tragic behaviour in children when he was making his film Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly.  Narrated by Metallica front man James Hetfield, the cultural significance of the film is almost unprecedented.  “[Porn is] getting down to very, very young kids and it’s poisoning the roots of community and of family and of society,” Justin tells Warcry.  “We’re not just talking about what the actual act of doing or watching pornography is doing, but how it ripples out.  With technology, a lack of public education, more porn as they get older, then they get into relationships and they expect it to be like that and it’s not.

Then the family falls apart, and it all goes back to way back to when they were looking at porn as kids.”  Addicted to Porn documents the thoughts of experts famously for and against porn, and how porn is perceived by people across the globe.  Notably, it also delves into a heart-wrenching case study of a mother whose marriage to her sweetheart fell apart due to his life-altering addiction to pornographic content.  “She began to explain to me the depth of her husband’s addiction, he wanted to poke his eyes out, because when he looked at her, she felt the projection of all these naked women on her,” Justin shares.

This is a human issue. You don’t have to have a certain set of beliefs to acknowledge that you can’t be pro-porn.  “Previously I couldn’t fathom that would be a reason someone would get divorced, it just became very apparent that this was doing damage, and someone needed to step up and do something about it.”  Pastors, musicians and directors aren’t the only ones stepping into the ring to take on porn, young people around the world have also taken on the fight.  Fight the New Drug, a non-profit, non-religious movement started by a group of college kids in 2009, uses science, facts and personal accounts to educate people about the harmful effects of pornography.

They are adamantly “pro-love and pro-healthy sex” which is why the facts they share are so compelling.  “We want to educate as many people as possible so that they can have a real shot of finding love before porn impacts their lives,” the organisation told Warcry.  “Pornography can rewire reward pathways in the brain and become addictive, contribute to a variety of mental and emotional disorders like depression and anxiety, can warp one’s sexual template and inhibit the ability or desire to connect with a real partner.”  Fight the New Drug aren’t afraid to highlight the connection between porn, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

In fact, they regularly feature blogs about previous porn stars in an effort to destroy the facade that porn is just harmless fun.  “This is a human issue.  You don’t have to have a certain set of beliefs to acknowledge that you can’t be pro-porn,” they say.  “You don’t have to be a woman to recognise that porn is more often than not incredibly degrading and violent against women.  You don’t have to be a man to struggle with pornography.  You don’t have to be any particular race, religion, gender, sexual orientation to care about what the multi-billion-dollar porn industry is doing to our culture.”

Few topics are as polarising as pornography, but wherever you sit, consider this your invitation to learn more.  Because when it comes to the facts, the truth is that temporal pleasure is creating a lifetime of pain for countless people.  To learn more, visit www.fightthenewdrug.org Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly is available now on iTunes.

Source: Warcry (USA)

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ELDER ABUSE RESPONSE RAMPS UP

By | Australian Newsletter, Newsletters

ELDER ABUSE RESPONSE RAMPS UP

Council of the Aging (COTA) has called elder abuse an epidemic in Australia.

They suggest rates of abuse could be as high as 10% of older Australians.  Let that figure sink in for a minute. The Australian Christian Lobby applauds any program willing to protect and educate the elderly and the wider community on this important topic. In Tasmania a joint initiative by COTA and Legal Aid begun last year offering monthly free legal appointments to help older Tasmanians avoid the pitfalls of elder abuse.  The service is an excellent complement to the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Hotline which was started in 2012 and fields around 30 calls a month. Over 80% of elder abuse in Australia is perpetrated by an immediate family member.

Many older folk feel pressured by family members to pay money and hand over assets often in a way that is hidden and difficult for victims to stop.  This is known as ‘Inheritance impatience’ and is one of the leading causes of elder abuse in Australia. Although these services are welcome others are calling for more drastic action. The Coroner in a Tasmanian elder abuse case involving a Tasmanian woman who tragically died of hypothermia while being kept in a shipping container by her daughter and partner, has recently recommended more broad ranging changes.

These include the potential of legislative reform which could lead to increased penalties for perpetrators. He also suggested that an independent investigatory body should be appointed focused specifically on elder abuse. COTA is calling for a dedicated state Minister for Aging for Tasmania. Again, we should applaud such moves especially given our aging population is likely to see one in four Australians over 65 years of age by the year 2030. Yet the truth is the root of this issue is not being addressed by such interventions. The core of the elder abuse problem is the human heart, a self-centeredness that is the antithesis of Christ.

As Christians we are called to reflect God’s love to all people irrespective of their usefulness or capacity. It is no wonder then that so many of the aged care facilities have Christian roots. As Christians we must continue to challenge societies anti-respect-for-life agenda and lead by example in being ‘salt and light’ in how we treat our elderly family members and senior citizens in general. With up to 40% of our elderly in nursing homes never receiving a visit, not even at Christmas, the contrast should be stark.

What a sad reflection on society when those deserving of respect and care are instead taken advantage of in their vulnerability. This is one of the many reasons why there is grave concerns about legalising euthanasia and/or assisted suicide. Coercion and manipulation can never be adequately assessed no matter how rigorous the safeguards are purported to be.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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“THEY DAY” CALLED OUT AS GENDER COERCION

By | Australian Newsletter, Newsletters

“THEY DAY” CALLED OUT AS GENDER COERCION

No doubt most of you have now heard about the absurd new campaign being promoted by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

Known as ‘They Day’ the campaign allocates the first Wednesday of every month to be a celebration of gender neutral pronouns, asking employees to wear pronoun stickers and even produced a short film highlighting the issue. A media release sent out ahead of the department’s second ‘They Day’ celebration highlighting the enormous waste of taxpayer funds this was, and the tragedy of the public service being used to further push radical gender ideology in the workplace. The response has been swift from supporters and media alike.

Most people are shocked at the blatant coercion by the department, expecting employees to participate monthly in a campaign wholly irrelevant to their day to day work. There is a real concern that this campaign will be rolled out by other departments, with many expressing interest in the idea. It is important that we push back on this ideological agenda, which essentially forces employees to fit in or be left out. For a campaign which is supposed to be inclusive and respectful it silences and ostracises those who choose not to participate and those who believe in male female genders. As Christians we so often allow ourselves to be silenced. It is the easy path.

But as the push for radical gender theory continues to invade our workplaces, our children’s schools and the public sphere we must speak out. Our faith should not make us comfortable, instead when we are faced with challenges we are called to stand firm.  The apostle Paul is very clear on this in his letters to the church of Corinth;  “So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15.58) “Be alert. Be firm in the Christian faith. Be courageous and strong.” (1 Corinthians 16.13)

Science tells us that men and women are biologically distinct. Jesus said so too; “But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. (Mark 10:6)  Don’t be afraid to call out this gender bending nonsense. Don’t be afraid to stand firm and speak out.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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ASSISTED SUICIDE/EUTHANASIA BILL DEFEATED

By | Australian Newsletter, Newsletters

The Senate has voted down a bill put forward by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm which would have allowed the A.C.T. and Northern Territory to legislate for assisted-suicide and euthanasia.

The vote was 36-34 against the bill. Several Senators who had previously indicated they would support the bill ended up voting against it, reversing what appeared to be a majority of Senators who were in favour of passing the bill.  This was due to the efforts of those who lobbied the politicians in Canberra, including prominent doctors who pointed out to Senators the risks of legalising assisted suicide/euthanasia.  Thank you to all those who prayed and/or lobbied the politicians on this issue enabling opponents of the bill to succeed in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.  It has been a win for common sense and the inviolability of human life.

Source: Australian Family Association

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AWAKENING AUSTRALIA

By | Australian Newsletter, Newsletters

Awakening Australia is inviting all Australians to join them in prayer for the Awakening Australia event taking place at Marvel Stadium Melbourne from 16th/18th November.

The vision and mission of Awakening Australia is to grow & intensify prayer in Australia leading up to, during, and beyond the event, God is moving powerfully in our nation in response to peoples prayers. We believe that when Australians pray God moves in Australia so let’s grow and intensify our prayers, because surely the more we pray the more God will move. The two main forms of communication for prayer will be via the Facebook Group and by registering to receive a regular email Prayer Newsletter. The Face Group address is: www.facebook.com/groups/awakeningaustraliaprayer and to register to receive the regular email prayer newsletter go to : Prayer Newsletter: www.awakeningaustralia.org/prayer-newsletter

PRAYER STRATEGY

Prayer Strategy for Awakening Australia is the simple and effective 7pm “Australia for Jesus” prayer time. Thousands of people are praying every night and we are hearing amazing testimonies of how God is moving in response to our prayers. Set your alarm daily and join others praying and declaring “Australia for Jesus”! In addition to the 7pm Prayer we want to encourage Prayer Walking and Prayer at High Points in Melbourne and all around Australia. There will be some coordinated prayer walking during Flood Melbourne which will be announced soon, but until then if God puts a prayer walk route or strategic high point on your heart just go for it. We are also wanting to encourage local combined church Prayer & Worship Nights, there are already many great examples of these happening around Australia and we will be sharing more of these in the future.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Souls – Praying for 100,000 souls saved and discipled in 2018.
  • Workers – Praying for more workers for the harvest.
  • The Event – Praying for finances, planning and preparation for Flood Melbourne and the Awakening Australia event.
  • The Organizers – Praying for the Awakening Australia team especially Ben Fitzgerald and Daniel Hagen as they lead.
  • Churches – Praying for churches to partner and prepare for a great harvest of souls.
  • Pastors & Leaders – Praying for favour with Pastors and Leaders, that they will catch the vision and make it their own.

Source: Awakening Australia

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QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT ABORTION LEGISLATION

By | Australian Newsletter

QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT ABORTION LEGISLATION PROTECTS NO ONE

Legislation by the Queensland government to allow abortions on unborn children who can feel pain has been opposed by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL). ACL Queensland director Wendy Francis said; “With modern imaging technology, the age-old lie that an unborn child is simply ‘a blob of tissue’ or ‘just a foetus’ has now been exposed for what it is.” “We now know that by 8 weeks the unborn child already reacts to touch, and that they are also capable of experiencing pain by 20 weeks, if not earlier.” Doctor’s rights will also be trampled on, as they will be forced to refer women for abortion.

This will remove a health practitioners ability to take matters of conscience into account in order to provide holistic care for the woman.  The legislation does nothing to combat reproductive coercion, which we know is an insidious form of violence against women.  “We know from recent cases in Australia that women are being coerced into having a baby or indeed to end a baby’s life. “It is worrying to see that this legislation has no provisions or safeguards to ensure that no form of coercion takes place.” Wendy Francis said.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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EUTHANASIA’S DARK SIDE

By | Australian Newsletter

EUTHANASIA’S DARK SIDE

Slippery slope arguments are not always invalid. Indeed, in some cases they are very important. One such example is public policy and legislation. In that realm, arguments about consequences are entirely valid because that is the very point of public policy. Policies are adopted to bring about change. When the same-sex marriage “no” campaign spoke about religious freedom and parents’ rights it was quite validly pointing out that changes to public policy always have consequences which ought to be carefully considered. The current debate on religious freedoms proves the point.

But in a sense those arguments were no different from the “yes” campaign – they, too, argued about consequences. For them, the consequences would include equality… validated lives… improved mental health… and nothing to fear for those who disagree. The question was this: which set of consequences was more prescient? Arguments that oppose euthanasia are frequently met with the same dismissive criticism. They are labelled “slippery slope” arguments and not given a second thought. But pro-euthanasia advocates also argue from consequences. They claim that legislated euthanasia will improve the dignity of people’s lives and deaths.

But we are not just relying on prescience in the euthanasia debate. We have evidence of what the true consequences are because other nations have legislated euthanasia long before Australia. I once heard a Dutch researcher speaking about the situation in his home country, where euthanasia was legislated in 2002. He summarised the litany of shocking outcomes after more than a decade of euthanasia, by saying that in his country, the “psyche of care” has been fundamentally changed. Once you accept that death is a valid form of care, you have changed a great deal.

The Hippocratic oath has, for Millennia, enshrined the belief that intentional killing is the last thing that could possibly amount to care. But euthanasia re-engineers this most basic and fundamental principle which shapes the way we, as a society, understand life, death, suffering and care. If the principle of care is re-engineered at its root, then surely countless branches will be corrupted? Surely we, as a society, with time, will see evidences of just how rotten the tree has become? Belgium and the Netherlands, the two nations where euthanasia has been legal the longest, bear witness to the scale of the disaster.

When euthanasia was introduced in those countries, it was much more limited than it is today. But it was always going to expand. Because once the bedrock principle of the sanctity of life is done away with, there is no clear alternative. Which lives are no longer sacred, Elderly lives? How elderly? You say 100. Why not 99? 90? 85? Or perhaps terminally ill lives? So, what should their life expectancy be? 6 months? 9 months? A year? Why not end a life that is facing the prospect of 3 years of pain? Speaking of pain, what kind of pain? Surely if we limit it to physical suffering, we are just stigmatising mental illness? In both nations this has been their slippery slope.

In Belgium, children of any age can be euthanised. In the Netherlands, it is still limited to people over the age of 12. Both nations permit euthanasia for mental suffering, no more LifeLine or Beyond Blue, then. Mobile “euthanasia units” will come to your house to administer the lethal dose, on demand. Reports indicate that the elderly are seeking aged care across the border in Germany out of fear that they will be euthanised. Euthanasia cases have rapidly increased to the point where it now accounts for 4.5% of deaths. Those deaths include people who are “tired of life”, or never even gave their explicit consent.

But that is just the beginning. Let me share just a tiny number of the documented cases. A young Belgian woman with borderline personality disorder was euthanised in 2012 at the behest of her parents. Even though she did not have depression, she was deemed to be suffering sufficiently because she found it impossible to have a goal in life. She was 25. Mark Langedijk was euthanised in 2016 at the age of 41 because he struggled with alcoholism. His brother described how Mark sat on a bench in his parents’ garden eating soup and meatballs until the doctor arrived. He drank a glass of wine, smoked a cigarette, as he said, “I’m dying now.”

Tom Mortier was contacted whilst at work one day in 2012. He was informed that his mother had been euthanised without his knowledge. She was 64 years old and suffering from depression. Her treating doctors were not persuaded that her depression was incurable, but she found others who would administer the lethal dose anyway. The Dignitas Clinic in Basel, Switzerland, euthanised Magistrate Pietro D’Amico because he had been diagnosed as terminally ill by three doctors. His subsequent autopsy revealed that the diagnosis was entirely wrong.

Wrong diagnoses affects 5% of outpatients in the US, amounting to 12,000,000 mistakes every year. 45-year-old twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem were blind. Upon hearing that they would also go deaf, they obtained euthanasia in 2013, believing they had nothing left to live for. That same year, a 44-year-old was euthanised after a botched sex-change surgery left her looking, in her words, “like a monster.”

Last year in Holland, a doctor had sedated an elderly female patient by drugging her coffee. But whilst the lethal drip was inserted, the patient unexpectedly rallied and began to struggle. The doctor called on the patient’s family to hold her down whilst she was killed.

A subsequent investigation found that the doctor had “crossed a line” and should not have proceeded, but had not broken the law. The year before, a woman was euthanised for mental suffering stemming from her history of child sexual abuse. Last year in Belgium, an elderly woman was euthanised without having requested it at all. The decision was made for her by her family. A 2015 Belgian report indicated that this was not an isolated case. 1 in 60 deaths under a GP’s care in Belgium now occur without an explicit request from the patient.

Deaths from misdiagnosis. Deaths for depressive illnesses. Deaths because people are tired of life. Convenient deaths carried out by mobile euthanasia units. Deaths of the disabled. Deaths because of elder abuse and social pressure to stop being a burden. Indeed, the psyche of care has changed. It has been re-engineered at the root, and the consequences are very dark indeed. These stories barely scratch the surface. Will it happen here? One only has to look at the death of Dr David Goodall to know that it will. Australian advocates have barely raised an eyebrow or murmured discontent at the idea of a man killing himself simply because he is old. That should concern us all.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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