Monthly Archives

January 2019

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM LOST AS WHITE MAGAZINE SHUTS

By Australian Newsletter

Christians are being run out of business, hounded by boycotts and bullied by activists, for adhering to their faith a year after the celebrated same-sex-marriage vote.  In a sign Australia faces a “crisis of freedom”, a successful international wedding magazine that chose not to feature gay couples has announced its decision to shut down after becoming the target of an intimidation campaign.  The founders of White magazine, Christians Luke and Carla Burrell, said they were the targets of an activist campaign that deterred their advertisers, frightened their staff and included threats of physical harm because of their stand on same-sex weddings.

The couple, who have published White for 12 years, said the campaign was triggered by the same-sex marriage vote and saw them branded homophobes and bigots.  One individual warned their house would be burned down.  With the government poised to respond to a  review into religious freedoms amid concern gay school students and teachers will be subject to discrimination, the Burrells expressed deep frustration that activists had forced them to “draw the curtain on this part of our lives”.  “A number of advertisers withdrew their sponsorship out of fear of being judged, or in protest.  We have had to recognise that White magazine is no longer economically viable.’’

In another case, Christian photographer Jason Tey was taken to the West Australian Equal Opportunity Commission after agreeing to photograph the children of a same-sex couple but disclosed a conflict of belief, in case they felt more comfortable hiring someone else.  At the conciliation hearing, Mr Tey was ordered to provide an admission of discrimination and place a written apology on his website  homepage and all social media pages associated with his business for at least two months. Mr Tey, said: “I don’t believe I have discriminated in any way, nor offered unfavourable treatment.  I merely stated that I have a contrary view due to my Christian faith.”

The matter was not resolved at conciliation and was referred to the State Administrative Tribunal for mediation. Martyn Iles, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby who helped establish the Human Rights Law Alliance, said the two cases were “the tip of the iceberg” that represented “a far deeper crisis of freedom”.  He warned that Australians with traditional views on marriage, gender and family were now in “direct contradiction to new laws” and said he was “imploring the government to pass high quality religious freedom laws”.  “We have assisted some 50 people who have come under legal persecution simply for what they believe,” he said.

“These cases demonstrate the intolerance shown towards those whose beliefs conflict with the new normal.  Jason is being sued simply for stating his beliefs. Luke and Carla were harassed out of business for saying and doing nothing.  We are at the stage where anything less than total affirmation is worthy of vicious attack.”  One of the recommendations of the review into religious freedoms, led by former  attorney-general Philip Ruddock, is for a religious discrimination act.  This would reframe the legal protections for religious freedoms as a positive right rather than continuing to have them enshrined as a negative right by way of exemptions to the Sex Discrimination Act.

The current system of exemptions, strengthened by Labor in 2013, allows faith-based institutions the ability to discriminate in certain circumstances, an arrangement that triggered a public backlash in the lead-up to last year’s Wentworth by-election.  Attorney-General Christian Porter will take the proposal for a religious discrimination act to cabinet for approval, but it is unclear whether the proposal will have enough support to pass the parliament.  White was published quarterly and, at its peak, had a circulation of about 32,000 copies and was available in 17 countries.  It had a small staff with one full-time employee in addition to Mr and Mrs Burrell.

In August, stories broke in the mainstream media identifying that White did not feature gay couples, with photographer Lara Hotz arguing it was an unspoken policy that should be made clear.  Ms Hotz, whose images had featured in the magazine, said at the time she felt discriminated against.  The 32-year-old said she had also received numerous threats after posting about the magazine’s policy.  “I fully support religious freedom,” Ms Hotz said.  “But this was simply a request for White magazine to be transparent with their advertisers and contributors so they could make informed decisions.”

Source:  Compiled by APN from media reports

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HOW POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS CHANGING EDUCATION

By Australian Newsletter

“There is something sinister going on in Australian classrooms.  The “cultural left” is using political correctness to control how students think about everything from post-colonial theory to maths and science,” Kevin Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University said at the launch of his new book, How Political Correctness is Destroying Education and Your Child’s Future.  “Political correctness is also visible in the Acknowledgement of Country, commonly used to pay respect to the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owners of the land, which should be accompanied by a prayer,” former prime minister Tony Abbott said.

“Recently I went to the opening of the new Northern Beaches Hospital and there was a formal welcome to country.  Every single speaker, and there were about six of them, acknowledged country, fair enough, but there was not a single prayer, even though our society is absolutely unimaginable without the influence of Christianity,” Mr Abbott said.  There is also a lack of religious and cultural teachings in schools, Mr Abbott said at the launch of the book, which is a follow-up to Dr Donnelly’s earlier book, How Political Correctness Is Destroying Australia – Enemies Within and Without, released in June last year.

“It’s not enough to be able to read, write, count and think, there needs to be a cultural literacy that everyone coming through an Australian education should have,” Mr Abbott said.  “That means a familiarity with the gospel stories, especially the parables, which have done so much to shape our culture.  And this is not a question of trying to ram religious faith down people’s throats, it’s a matter of giving people the knowledge essential to understand the culture in which they live.  “I am all in favour of Asian, environmental and Indigenous perspectives, but are these really the top priorities which should permeate every aspect of our curriculum? I doubt it very much indeed.”

Dr Donnelly’s new book argues for the need to preserve Western culture.  “It argues that mathematics, physics, science, all social constructs, have no inherent meaning or value,” said Dr Donnelly, who was a co-chair of the 2014 Australian Curriculum review.  “And if they’re constructs they can be reshaped, deconstructed, remodelled in terms of the cultural left’s ideology, so you now have Aboriginal science being put into the national curriculum.”  Dr Donnelly is referring to recommendations for teachers to incorporate Aboriginal culture and history when covering existing science topics in a bid to increase the accessibility of the subject and close the gap.

What we need, Dr Donnelly said, is a return to 1950s Australia, where things were less complicated and children were happier.  “Some people talk about political correctness as being polite and as being civil and that for many years we discriminated unfairly,” Dr Donnelly said. “Now all of that is true… [but] we used to run around as kids, happy as Larry, free-range, no helicopter parents, doing all kinds of dodgy stuff.  “No one had heard of multiculturalism or diversity and difference, no one had heard of identity politics or micro-aggression.  We were kids growing up in Australia in the 1950s or 60s.”

Abbott continued “We were all equal, we were all proud of who we were, but how times have changed.”  Mr Abbott also had some advice for state and territory education authorities on how to arrest Australia’s fall in international rankings such as PISA and TIMMS, including raising entry requirements for teaching degrees and increasing pay.  “We need to focus on better acknowledging and rewarding the very best teachers, and the best teachers of senior subjects, even at a state school, should be paid at least as much as a backbench member of parliament” Mr Abbott said.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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TEST OF FAITH FOR AUSSIE CRICKETER MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE

By Australian Newsletter

Underlying the sharp rise of cricketer Marnus Labuschagne, the gritty, batting all-rounder, is a lifelong faith in God.  In October Marnus made a surprise entry into the Test cricket scene, debuting against Pakistan.  He’s since shown promise with the bat and ball though it’s his hard working demeanour that is setting him apart.  Coaches and peers have seen a great amount of character and potential in the 24 year old as the team looks to reshape its ethos stemming from the ball tampering saga last March and the resulting Cricket Australia Culture Review.

“It does give me perspective on things.  That cricket isn’t everything.” Labuschagne said “His work ethic is as good as anyone’s.” says Australian coach Justin Langer.  “He’s one of those guys who is like the heartbeat of the team in terms of work ethic, desire, focus.”  After what’s been a whirlwind four months for the regular Gateway Baptist Church attendee, Manus spoke with cricket.com.au about the role of his faith in his cricket and life.  “I’ve been a Christian my whole life,” he says.  “I grew up going to church, and I made my own commitment to follow the Lord when I was 17, when I got baptised at my church, and it’s been a journey since then.

Unfortunately he was unable to retain his spot in the test team against India.  Despite the promising start to his international career he notes the balance church and faith provides him when cricket doesn’t go as planned.  “It gives me perspective on things.  That cricket isn’t everything.  Although at times it feels like it has become that.  I know when I come back from wherever I have been, I’m coming into an environment where I’m loved.  My faith has played a massive part these past few months.”  Labuschagne is very open about his faith, even displaying a small Isaiah 40:31 sticker on the back of his bat though he’ll admit it’s not something he has always found easy to share.

“It’s definitely something where earlier, when I came into an ageing Queensland State Team and everyone knew I was Christian, that was a bit more challenging,” he says.  “There were older players and it was a bit tougher.  But people were willing to listen and try to understand me.”  Despite some preconceptions, his faith is very much now viewed by team mates as part of who he his is as a person.  It has opened up a number of interactions with teammates keen to learn more about this side of him including Australia’s only practicing Muslim cricketer, Usman Khawaja.”

“Usman and I have had numerous conversations about faith. Even from when I first came into the squad, we’ve had some amazing conversations, about his faith, my faith, and how they sort of intertwine” Labuschagne said.   2019 is set to be an exciting year for the young cricketer.  He’s re-earned his place in the side and with the Ashes coming up in August Ricky Ponting has already backed him to receive a plane ticket to England.  Whatever happens though he will always have his faith in something much bigger than cricket.

Source: Hope 103.2 Radio Station

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A LETTER FROM THE PRIME MINISTER CONCERNING OUR RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES

By Australian Newsletter

I write to you on a matter of great concern to Australians of all faiths.

As you may be aware, late last year I released our Government’s response to the Religious Freedom Review, chaired by the Hon Philip Ruddock.  I was also pleased to announce our plans to legislate a Religious Discrimination Act, to protect Australians of faith from discrimination.  Our Government will also establish the position of Freedom of Religion Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.  The new Commissioner will be dedicated to safeguarding the rights of religious Australians.

However, those are not the reasons for this letter.  My reason for writing is a matter that is perhaps of even greater importance to you.

In October last year, the Government made a commitment to address the issue of discrimination against children in schools on the basis of sexual orientation.
The Government proposed legislative changes that sought to remove discrimination against children while also upholding the fundamental right to freedom of religion.  Importantly, the changes we proposed would protect the right of religious schools and religious institutions to continue to teach and act in accordance with the tenets and doctrines of their faiths.

We hoped to reach a bipartisan solution.

Instead, the Leader of the Opposition introduced a Bill into the Parliament that would, for the first time, apply the full force of the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) to all bodies established for religious purposes: churches, mosques, synagogues, monasteries, convents, prayer groups, faith study groups, theological colleges, and all others.

Mr Shorten’s Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018 risks an unprecedented encroachment on religious freedom in this country.  The effect of these changes would be to censor what can be taught in religious bodies and dictate how these bodies teach their faiths.
There is agreement across the Parliament to remove the provision of the SDA that currently permits religious educational institutions to discriminate against students on the basis of their identity.  Our Government wishes to repeal it. However, the Liberal National Government cannot support the idea that the teachings and practices of temples, synagogues, churches and mosques across Australia should suddenly expose those bodies to lawsuits under anti-discrimination legislation.

For those reasons, we sought Mr Shorten’s support for a Government Bill that would remove the right to discriminate against students while also protecting faith-based schools from legal action on the grounds I have described.  The Bill would keep the current protections for other religious bodies such as churches, synagogues and mosques.

Mr Shorten refused this offer.

In this new year, please rest assured that the Government will continue to defend the right of religious bodies to teach and act in accordance with their faith.
I would appreciate if you would consider informing your community of the Government’s efforts on this issue.

Yours sincerely,
Scott Morrison
Prime Minister

Source: Letter issued by the Prime Minister to Christian Organisations

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POLL REVEALS NATIONAL BACKLASH AT CHANGING AUSTRALIA DAY DATE

By Australian Newsletter

Australians have overwhelmingly rejected a push by the left-wing lobby to change the date of Australia Day, with almost 80% of voters claiming to be proud to celebrate the landing of the First Fleet on January 26.  Rejection by mainstream Australia of the culture war being fuelled by the Greens-backed Invasion Day rallies has been revealed in a national poll that has confirmed that there was no mood among voters for changing the date of Australia Day.  With activist group GetUp also escalating its campaign for change by describing January 26 as celebrating a “massacre”, the poll shows that 92% believing the nation was now hostage to political correctness that had gone too far.

The poll was commissioned by the conservative lobby group Advance Australia and conducted by Mediareach, which polled 1659 voters nationally on January 14.  The group claimed it wanted to get ahead of what had now become an annual debate.  Labor leader Bill Shorten this week was forced to pledge that Labor, if elected, would keep the status quo this year after Scott Morrison’s decision to strip councils of their citizenship ceremonies if they did not hold them on Australia Day.  The poll showed 73% of Labor voters claiming to be proud of January 26 being Australia Day.  This was more pronounced among Coalition voters with 98% claiming the same position.

In a warning that the issue could be a vote changer, almost half of voters claimed they would not vote for their local MP if they didn’t support Australia Day being held on January 26.  Only 14% of voters believed the day represented nothing more than a public holiday, with 66% claiming they believed it was a day of inclusion and a “coming together” of a nation.  A majority of all ages supported keeping the date of Australia Day.  Only 3% believed it should be a day of protest. Indigenous communities broadly refuse to recognise January 26 and the arrival of the First Fleet as Australia Day, with many marking it as the beginning of the illegal occupation of their land.

GetUp has since taken up the issue as a left-wing political issue, embraced primarily by Greens voters with 81% supporting scrapping January 26, according to the poll.  Advance Australia national director Gerard Benedet said the results showed people expected January 26 to be an inclusive day rather than a day of protest.  “The poll proves mainstream Australians are overwhelmingly united in wanting to celebrate our country together, because we are all Aussies, and mateship comes first,” Mr Benedet said.  “More and more Australians now understand the historical significance of the date, with 67% recognising it as the day the First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove.

“However, it’s not all good news. Australians have stated, loudly, that they believe politicians are more concerned with political point-scoring rather than real matters of importance, with 84% in agreement.  “Most Australians believe moves to change Australia Day are solely for political point-scoring purposes, and not for the benefit of our nation.  It’s political correctness on steroids.  “So while the results are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping Australia Day exactly where it is, the issue does not stop here.  We should be proud of our country and who we have become.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports 

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ANTI-BULLYING ACTIVISTS TARGETING KIDS IN SCHOOL

By Australian Newsletter

An anti-bullying project with ties to the controversial Safe Schools program, whose founders are active in LGBTI advocacy, has been accused by Christian lobbyists of launching a recruitment drive for “child political activists and ideologues”.  Project Rockit, an enterprise that runs workshops in primary and secondary schools, recently attracted a $1 million grant from Facebook to help train 10,000 students across 600 schools to tackle bullying online and in schools.  The program, founded by Melbourne sisters Lucy and Rosie Thomas has already reached more than 200,000 students, and its work has attracted support from the Foundation for Young Australians to UNICEF.

However, the group’s active role in sexuality and gender politics, largely via social media, has drawn the attention of the Australian Christian Lobby, which has expressed concern about young people being exposed to its activism.  Project Rockit’s lead program director, Danielle Weber, is a drag performer who goes by the name Dani Boi.  When the self-described “dragtavist” announced the new anti-bullying role in an Instagram post in July, a message was posted saying the group was “advocating for the dismantling of white / cis / hetero / patriarchal supremacy and normativity”.

Project Rockit’s Facebook page, which has close to 40,000 followers, shows it to be an advocate for LGBTI rights, posting photos from the Midsumma Pride March last year and advocating for marriage equality.  The group also frequently videos and takes images promoting contentious gender theory, the belief that multiple gender identities exist on a spectrum beyond simply male and female, which was central to the Safe Schools anti-bullying program that was opposed by Christian groups and conservative politicians.  According to Project Rockit’s website, the group works with Safe Schools and Minus 18, which co-authored some of Safe School’s classroom resources.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Martyn Iles said anti-bullying was an important cause, but those behind Project Rockit appeared to have an “ideological, political agenda”. “Most parents would be outraged if they understood the politics of these so-called anti-bullying initiatives,” he said.  “Activists are given a blank cheque and open access to confuse kids with gender-bending and sexualised ideas.  Not only are these groups confusing other people’s kids but they have $1m to make them into child political activists and ideologues.”

Project Rockit chief executive Lucy Thomas defended the program, saying its only aim was to ensure that young people felt safe and included in society and was not an LGBTI organisation,” she said.  “We deal with cyber safety, promoting online safety.  It’s very difficult to address these without addressing homophobia, racism and ableism.”  Ms Thomas acknowledged that, given the political landscape, comments on diversity and inclusion could potentially be interpreted as political statements.  “But I wouldn’t say we go in and talk about politically charged messages, it would detract from our message.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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GOD’S GRACE OVER AUSTRALIA

By Feature Articles

It is encouraging as well as instructive to look at some of the godly elements displayed in Australia’s colonial  history, and its foundations.  Our oldest parliament in NSW opens with this prayer. “Almighty God we humbly beseech thee to vouchsafe thy blessing upon this parliament, direct and prosper our deliberations to the advancement of thy glory and the true welfare of the people, our State and Australia. Amen.”

A similar prayer is said in our Federal Parliament.  Our Australian Constitution was prayed over continually by the man mainly responsible for its passage through the House of Commons.  Alfred Deakin, who was later to become Prime Minister, regarded the Federal Constitution as providential and that it only came into being through a series of miracles.  The Constitution Preamble states: “Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland; and Tasmania humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established….” This preamble was in response to numerous signed petitions from people from every colony represented in the Federal Convention.

Our Constitutional Christian Monarchy likewise expressed the Lordship of Christ when the Queen was presented with the Bible: “to keep your Majesty ever mindful of the law and the Gospel of God as the rule for the whole of life and government of Christian Princes, we present you with this Book, the most valuable thing this world affords. Here is wisdom; this is the royal law; these are the lively oracles of God.” When the Orb was delivered to the Queen the Coronation Service stated: “Receive this Orb set under the cross, and remember that the whole world is subject to the power and empire of Christ our Redeemer.”

Our Australian flag has four Christian crosses.  In the Southern Hemisphere God has placed the Southern Cross which is specially incorporated into our national flag, along with the crosses of St Andrew, St Patrick and St George.  As Christians we need to reflect on our foundations and recognise the hand of God in the commencement of a Christian nation in the Pacific within reach of the great Asian nations.  While many Australians look to a convict past with its fear of authority and feeling of inferiority and isolation, there is another history;  that of our Christian forefathers and their faith and contribution to the kingdom of God, a positive affirmation of a nation with a providential destiny.

It was Portuguese Catholic, Magellan who opened up the South Seas to the Europeans.  Magellan’s main purpose was to convert the barbarous nations to Christ.  It was his faith that sustained him through terrible deprivations until a strait was found into the Pacific.  Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, another Portuguese Catholic, was also seeking to convert the Inhabitants of the south seas to Christianity and believed he finally had discovered “Australia Del Espiritu Santo”—a land he dedicated to the Holy Spirit—which he described as being the region of the south as far as the pole.  Since he in fact discovered Vanuatu( the New Hebrides) the region he described includes all of Australasia, which encompasses New Zealand as well.

Abel Tasman was the first European to sight New Zealand and Tasmania and on his return wrote in his journal “God be praised and thanked for this happy voyage.”  Tasman was encouraged by the voyages of Christopher Columbus who stated: “…It was the Lord who put into my mind, I could feel His hand upon me, the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies.  All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me…. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvellous illumination from the Holy Scriptures… For the execution of the journey to the Indies I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics, or maps. It is simply the fulfilment of what Isaiah had prophesied … No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His Holy service… the fact that the Gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short time—this is what convinces me.” (“Book of Prophecies,” Christopher Columbus).

The first Christian minister came with the First Fleet. He was recommended by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.  John Newton and William Wilberforce, two members of the Eclectic Society persuaded England’s Prime Minister, William Pitt to accept Richard Johnson’s nomination.  Johnson an evangelical churchman, took with him many Bibles, Books of Common Prayer, Psalters and numerous booklets against common sins, and on Sunday 3rd February 1788 he conducted the first Christian Service on Australian soil using as his text Psalm 116:12: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me.”

The Evangelical Awakening in England also had its effect in Australia and the South Pacific.  People such as William Carey were awakened to the need for evangelism of heathen lands through reading “Captain Cooks Voyages.”  Many Englishmen became aware for the first time of lands in the Pacific and Asian regions.  Commencing In 1784, as part of the Evangelical Awakening, first Baptists, then other non-conformists throughout the Midlands began meeting for one hour on the first Monday in each month to pray for revival which would spread the gospel to the most distant parts of the globe.

This marked the beginning of the greatest period of expansion of the Christian faith since apostolic times.  Many missionary organisations were formed, one being the London Missionary Society. By 1826 Carey was responsible for the translation of the Bible into 30 languages in the Pacific and Asian region.  A missionary ship called the “Duff” sailed from England In 1796 to Tahiti with Rowland Hassall and his family.  In 1798 the Hassall family arrived in Australia after endangering their lives in Tahiti.  Within a short time Rowland Hassall had preached the gospel in all the districts of the colony.

Most of the colonies early leadership came from the evangelical Christian community, many being chaplains.  Governors such as Hunter, Macquarie and Brisbane, and a number of officials such as the Judge Advocates, Wylde and Ellis Bent, the editor of Australia’s first newspaper, were strongly committed to Christian views, as were the school teachers.

Governor Macquarie was always trying to improve the moral and religious well-being of the colony, hoping that those in his care would become good Christians.  He personally promoted the British and Foreign Bible Society and the Sunday School Movement.  He also encouraged other Christian groups such as the Auxiliary Bible Society, and spoke at the Inaugural meeting.  Macquarie particularly encouraged Christian Education commencing a number of schools under the supervision of the Government Chaplains, so that by 1817 the most common discussion in the pages of the Sydney Gazette, was on the merits of Bible reading.

James Stephen, the Permanent Under Secretary of the Colonial Office believed God was going to sovereignly use Australia as a Christian Nation and he was influential in the choice of many Christian leaders to the colony.  Amongst them was George Arthur, who shared with James Stephen, the vision of Australia as a base in South East Asia and the Pacific to reach the Chinese, Hindu and Muslim nations to the North.  Captain Charles Sturt was a great Australian pioneer and heroic inland explorer.  Sturt was a man of considerable courage, faith and prayer and was responsible for opening up most of Southern Australia to free settlement.  Sturt loved the majesty of the Australian bush and on a number of occasions his life was only spared, due to what he acknowledged as divine intervention.  Throughout the pages of his journals Sturt shared his faith constantly, especially when writing to his wife. He used to pray continually for guidance, committing each day’s journey to God.

For many years South Australia’s capital was known as the Holy City, but today it is known as the City of Churches.  Adelaide in its formative years couldn’t seat all the parishioners in their churches.  During Adelaide’s first eight years there were more preachers and places of worship than in the first decade in New England, U.S.A. From the time of South Australia’s settlement in 1836 to 1915 more children attended Sunday School than attended school.  In one of the first schools opened by George Fife Angas the sole textbook was the bible.  Angas had distributed millions of gospel tracts in his lifetime.  Many of South Australia’s founders were Christians.  Such people as Robert Torrens who stated in a House of Commons speech In 1827 that “We are cooperating in the scheme of Providence and are the favoured Instrument In causing Christian civilization to cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea.”

At that time one had to virtually be a lay preacher to be a director of the South Australia Company.  Robert Gouger, the Colonial Secretary was a devout evangelical. Even E.G. Wakefield acknowledged that without him South Australia would not have been settled as early as it was.  It was Gouger who wrote a “Sketch of Proposal for Colonizing Australia”.  He organised the first public meeting for the free settlement of the South Australian coast, attended by 2,500 people in a Christian Centre, Exeter Hall in London. Many others instrumental in the formation of S.A. were Christians such as Lt. Col. George Gawler who was determined to establish a Christian settlement: Sir George Grey, Capt. John Hindmarsh, Charles Mann, David McLaren, Capt. Barker, Edward John Eyre and clergymen such as T.Q. Stow as well as Lord Glenelg of the Home Office.

Hebrews 11:32 says ‘and what more shall I say?  I do not have time to tell about Gideon. Barak, Samson, Jephthah.  David, Samuel and the prophets who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised….” So also we could continue about many of the early pioneers.  People such as Matthew Flinders; or Capt. John Molloy with his wife Georgiana, “The Madonna of the bush,” who settled in Western Australia, and were prayed over prophetically by other Charismatic Irvingite Christians before coming to Australia.  There was of course the remarkable Caroline Chisholm, who in six years settled eleven thousand people as servants and farmers in N.S.W.; the Moravian Missionary Latrobe family of Victoria.  Ludwig Leichhardt, who explored much of Australia’s north; and the Rev John Flynn, who founded the Flying Doctor Service and the Australian Inland Mission, whose Presbyterian Ministers were known as the boundary riders of the bush, and which was responsible for establishing communication through the inland by pedal wireless, giving a mantle of support and protection over inland Australia, the size of Western Europe.

Australia’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, and another Prime Minister, George Reid, were trained in public speaking and inspired to enter public life through the vision of a Christian minister, Dr Steel. Evangelical Christians have also been responsible for the creation of some of Australia’ s foremost inventions. John Ridley, a devout Christian, created the labour saving stripper, and the famous “Sunshine” Harvester was invented by H.V. McKay, who named it in honour of the “Son”.  It was manufactured in what was to be the largest factory in Australia for many years.  In recent times in Australia we find committed Christians involved in major areas of human endeavour such as in Government, Business, Education, Health, Entertainment, Sport & Welfare.  Christians have also been at the very forefront of community awareness campaigns, and public movements active in preserving Australia’s Constitutional heritage and democratic freedoms.

Thus we can see that Australia’s discovery, settlement and growth can easily be explained in terms of God’s intentions for our nation.  He has used His men and women to lead in so many areas of development that even the most humanist historian could have difficulty explaining away the mass of evidence at which this article only hints.  Law and Parliament Common Law have been based on the Christian faith, exemplified by the statue of Jesus occupying the central place above the entrance to the Royal Courts of Justice in London Jesus pictured above the circle with Moses and Alfred the Great towards the side.  An enlarged picture of Jesus (below) can be found here  www.artandarchitecture.org.uk/images/conway/145ad2a2.html and by many statements by scholars such as one Chief Justice who declared: “Christianity is parcel of the Common Law of England and therefore to be protected by it.  So whatever strikes at the very root of Christianity tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government.²

If the past is misinterpreted then so is the significance of the future.  It is important that we don’t continue to be deceived by the secularization process which denies the sovereignty of God in history, and be like Esau who sold his birthright for a meal when Psalm 61:56 says: “You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.”  Australian’s can rejoice in the contribution of our Christian forebears and confidently step out in faith aware of God’s great intentions for our great island continent.

For further information on our Christian Heritage or National Christian Heritage Sunday on the 3rd of Feb 2019 please visit www.chr.org.au

Source: Dr Graham McLennan Christian Historian and Head of the National Alliance of Christian Leaders

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UNITING CHURCH CONFIRMS DECISION ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGES

By Australian Newsletter

The same-sex marriage saga that has been ongoing in the Uniting Church (UCA) since the 15th Assembly last July has finally come to an end.  The South Australian (SA) Synod has voted against enacting Clause 39 of the UCA Constitution in regard to Resolution 64 from the 15th Assembly.  Voting was 49% in favour, 51% against with a threshold requirement of 66.6%.  Voting on a request for Assembly to seek concurrence on their decision was over 50%, but it also missed the two thirds requirement.  This was the last of many meetings across the nation on this issue and so Resolution 64 is now the official position of the Uniting Church and no other appeals can be lodged.

Resolution 64 of the 15th General Assembly gave approval for same-sex marriages to be held within the Uniting Church. Since the Assembly opponents of the resolution have been trying to have it overturned but were unable to engender sufficient support to achieve their aim.  Under church rules, if enough presbyteries had demanded more consultation within six months of the July meeting, then the decision would have had to have been suspended.  Some interstate branches of the church had already voted in favour of more consultation, leaving the decision of the SA synod the deciding factor in whether the church would suspend same-sex marriages.

This will leave a large number of UCA members, Ministers and Pastors, having to make a decision about their future within the denomination.  Whilst there may be a challenge to this position at the next Assembly, the most likely scenario is that a large number of members who hold to the orthodox view of Scripture, will simply leave the Uniting Church and the ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ influences will be significantly strengthened following this result.  Please pray for the Uniting Church as a whole and for all those members who will be bitterly disappointed with this result and in coming days will be making decisions relative to their future.

Source: National Alliance of Christian Leaders

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