Monthly Archives

March 2021

ARE LESSONS ON SEXUAL CONSENT WHAT OUR CHILDREN REALLY NEED?

By Australian Newsletter

An important discussion has burst into our Australian psych. Everyone is talking about the rise in sexual harassment cases, stories emerging from our school yards to our parliament. Echoing our Prime Minister’s words, we have found the reports ‘disgusting and sickening.’ But we enter dangerous territory if our opinion of all males is tainted by the disgusting, criminal behaviour of some males. Whilst it is true that the majority of sexual predators are male, and most women have a personal example of some form of sexual harassment occurring in their lives, every male is not a predator. Last week at a school assembly in Victoria, boys as young as 12 were instructed to “stand up and apologise” to the girls seated around them for crimes of sexual harassment, violence and rape.

Reportedly, many boys were left feeling guilty, embarrassed, confused and upset, telling their parents later that they were not sure why they had to apologise for things they hadn’t done. As a mother of a son and a grandmother of boys, I understand the confusion. I wonder how we have come to this. The action taken by this school is one of the responses to the growing discussion around sexual harassment in our nation. Girls want to feel safe. They want to be respected and be confident that they can go about their day without being sexually propositioned. This is an important issue and one that needs to be addressed urgently. But the answer will not be found in ‘sexual consent’ education, which is the direction State Governments around the nation are rushing towards.

In NSW, members of parliament are calling for reforms to their sex education programs to cover issues including “rape culture, slut shaming, sexual coercion and queer sex.” Consent is said to be a decision to agree to sexual activity that is made with adequate knowledge and understanding of the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social risks of engaging in such activity. Can a 12, 14 or 16 year old child be expected to have that deep knowledge and understanding?  We all know that ‘consent’, particularly for teenage girls, is too easily coerced. And after the fact, so often what we see is a war of “he said” vs “she said.” Another approach to educating our children on engaging in sexual activity is the teaching of abstinence which by its nature teaches self-control, self-discipline, and respect. It’s hard to understand why we ignore this most excellent option.

In every way imaginable, it is in the best interests of children to wait to have sex. Sexually active adolescents are at a higher risk of acquiring a sexually transmittable infection (STI), which can have serious consequences including infertility. Currently around 1 in 6 Australians (16%) are known to suffer from a sexually transmitted infection. This horrendous statistic is considered to be a conservative estimate. Of course, abstinence is not merely a physical consideration. Many children (from both Christian and non-Christian homes) do not understand what sex is for according to God’s design. Sex is not a recreational activity. It is far from being a mere form of entertainment, a bit of fun, or the end to a good night out. Sex is of deep significance and has a profound affect on our lives.

If our children don’t understand the deep meaning of sex, how can they be responsible for providing informed consent? In her book, Growing up by the book, Dr. Patricia Weerakoon said, “Sex education is more than ‘just sex.’ It’s about character. It’s about teaching personal integrity and relational faithfulness within God’s pattern for life. It’s not about telling children ‘just don’t do it’; it’s about explaining God’s plan to them (Proverbs 22:6), showing them why it’s the best way to live, and demonstrating this in your own life.” There are many other questions we should consider in this ongoing discussion. For instance, if we teach the concept of consent for children from 12 years old, are we also condoning consensual sexting, pornography and even prostitution?

Sadly, the biggest teacher of sexuality today could be pornography. With the rise of the mobile phone, the average age of first exposure to pornography is around 11. Any teaching on sexual consent will surely fail when the diet of pornography teaches that females enjoy degradation and even violence. Is it any wonder that child on child abuse is rising significantly? If we are serious about teaching respect, we must teach children about the harms of pornography. In early 2020, the Federal Parliament released a report, ‘Protecting the Age of Innocence’, highlighting the harms of pornography. The report’s recommendations have not been implemented and yet another inquiry has commenced. We’ve had enough reports to know the problem. For the sake of our children, we need to see action!

Source:  Wendy Francis Australian Christian Lobby

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THE CROSS YOU CARRY

By Australian Newsletter

Many Christians wear cross necklaces, the cross of course being a symbol of Christianity. But being a Christian is a lot more than a symbolic act – it is a lifestyle we choose to lead. Pastor and Author T.D Jakes writes in one of his latest books how he has been accused of preaching the prosperity gospel too much. He writes that he only preaches prosperity as much as he preaches on suffering. How can you have one without the other? For whom is Christ if there is no cross? I haven’t read of a person in the bible who hasn’t had a cross to carry at some point in their life. Likewise, I am yet to meet a person who has walked with Jesus for a significant amount of time who hasn’t had a cross or burden to bear.

One of the falsehoods of Christianity, I believe, is that in saying yes to Jesus we expect that everything will be easy. But Christ never promised this, He said, let your light shine before others. Matthew writes in Chapter 5, versus 15 to 16 (NLT) No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let you good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. In the good times, and the not-so good times (when the burden of what you are carrying seems so heavy) – let your light shine. So, how do you carry your cross? How do you carry the burden you have been asked to bear? Sick children, an estranged relationship, each and every person has a cross they must carry at some point in their lifetime. But this is when we must look to Christ.

2 Corinthians Chapter 12, verse 9 NIV “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest of me. I remember when I would read out the prayer requests on stage in order to then pray and believe for healings. Many times, I would feel so burdened by the sheer needs of people and what they were currently walking through. But when we feel powerless, that is when God is most at work.  When we can surrender our insufficiencies that is when God must be up to something. It’s the cross that touches people. Empathy is everything and being empathetic, does actually really matter.

T.A. Webb says that “a burden shared is a burden halved.” Or perhaps more popular in the faith community – “a burden shared is a burden lifted.” Galatians Chapter 6, verse 2 NIV Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ. It’s in carrying a cross that we become most like Jesus. God desires that we become children of God. How do we do this? Through moulding, shaping and allowing God to use each and every situation in our life to enrich our life. Despite how you may feel at the time. How often have you heard someone going through something only to mention years later how grateful they were for that experience? Not that you would wish it upon anyone, however with hindsight you can see the richness it provided and the things that you took away from that season of your life.

Luke Chapter 9, verse 23 NLT. Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” We each have a cross to carry at different points, but the key to getting to the other side is in who you choose to follow during that time.

Source: Elise Pappas, a Pastor, who together with her husband, pastor a church on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

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AUSTRALIAN NURSE TO LOSE NURSING LICENSE FOR ENDING LIFE OF ELDERLY PATIENT

By Australian Newsletter

An Australian nurse who referred to herself as the “angel of death” has lost her nursing license but will unlikely face criminal charges. The Queensland Civil And Administrative Tribunal of the nursing and midwifery board of Australia, decided to: disqualify her from applying for registration as a health practitioner for a period of two years from the date of this decision, and prohibit, under the National Law s 196(4), from providing any health service for a period of two years from the date of this decision. An article by Lydia Lynch published in the Brisbane Times stated: Maura Kathryn Bannister, 60, administered an un-prescribed dose of morphine to an elderly and frail family friend who was receiving palliative care at home after a fall.

Knowing the woman had already taken one dose or morphine that morning, Ms Bannister then gave another dose “greater than that prescribed, without any direction from the general practitioner to do so”. “Thereafter she did not render or arrange medical assistance for the lady, who passed away later that morning,” the findings read. Lynch reports that Bannister referred to herself as the “angel of death” and stated that she was proud of what she had done. In 2017 The New England Journal of Medicine published a Netherlands study titled: End-of-Life Decisions in the Netherlands over 25 years. The study indicated that in 2015 there were 7254 assisted deaths (6672 euthanasia deaths, 150 assisted suicide deaths, 431 terminations of life without request) in the Netherlands. The Netherlands law did not prevent 431 terminations of life without request.

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said “The euthanasia lobby will argue that legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide will regulate and prevent these types of deaths, but in fact it normalizes it as an acceptable medical practice and makes it impossible to prevent or even censure someone who carries out similar acts.

Source:  FamilyVoice Australia

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NEED TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN ABOUT SEXUAL VALUES AND PRACTICES

By Australian Newsletter

An online petition by former Kambala student Chanel Contos that is calling for better sex education has resulted in thousands of young women sharing their stories, and has demonstrated “rape culture” is still very much a problem in the teenage circles of elite single sex private schools in Sydney. Dr Tim Hawkes is a leading expert on the education of boys. He was the Headmaster of The King’s School in Parramatta for many years and is also an advocate for The Fathering Project, a group who equip and train dads to step up in their parenting role. Dr Hawkes commended the petition, “I think it’s terrific and I really think it’s important for society to wake up on this”. “As a collective, we call for sexual consent to be at the forefront of educational issues in every school, from a young age.”

He said surveys have revealed 55% of boys in the upper years of high school said they had a friend who had engaged in sexual assault. Dr Hawkes said a combination of factors are contributing to the problem. “I think we need to improve the sex education in our schools, I think we need to improve the quality of our parenting, and this is obviously where the Fathering Project comes in,” he said.  “I think we also need to look at issues such as the pornification of contemporary society. We’ve got to look at the fact that governments through their current laws are giving free and unfettered access to pornography, and this often breeds inappropriate feelings of entitlement and dominance among boys, and an expectation that their sexual partner should perform as seasoned professional sex workers. There’s a whole combination of factors that are contributing.”

Dr Hawkes said it is harder for fathers to influence their son’s values today, because they are spending so much more time online than with their own fathers. He said recent surveys have shown meaningful interactions between fathers and their teenage sons are as little as 18 seconds a day. “Whereas that same son will spend between two to five hours in front of a screen and on the net. And so therefore, we’re getting rather too many of our sons being cyber-parented. And we’re getting a large number of sons who adopt values that are antithetical to the values in the home. Because the influence of the home on their values formation has been minimal.”

Dr Hawkes said it is important for fathers to teach their sons all of the essential elements of consent. While it is important to teach young people the essential elements of consent, it is also crucial that young people know how to deal with unwanted sexual advances. Adolescent psychologist Collett Smart explains that some girls feel pressure to be “nice” and it’s important for them to understand that they don’t always have to be nice.

Source: Hope 103.2FM

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GENDERED SPEECH PROTECTED FOR NOW

By Australian Newsletter

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts has stepped up and put forward a motion in the federal senate to ensure the protection of gendered language. He moved a motion that the Senate:

(a) notes that:

(i) our fundamental biology and relationships are represented through the following descriptors – mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, boy, girl, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, female, male, man, woman, lady, gentleman, Mr, Mrs, Ms, sir, madam, dad, mum, husband, wife,

(ii) broad scale genuine inclusion cannot be achieved through distortions of biological and relational descriptors,

(iii) an individual’s right to choose their descriptors and pronouns for personal use must not dehumanise the human race and undermine gender,

(iv) Dr Lyons from Logan (Queensland) reports incidences of young children feeling stressed and panicked about whether it is okay to use the words boy and girl, and

(v) pushing gender-neutral language is no replacement for appropriate emotional and psychological support for children while growing up; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) reject the use of distorted language such as gestational/non-gestational parent, chest-feeding, human milk, lactating parent, menstruators, birthing/non-birthing parent, and

(ii) ensure all federal government and federal government-funded agencies do not include these terms in their material, including legislation, websites, employee documentation and training materials.

The motion was passed with the support of the Coalition.

Source: Binary

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VICTORIAN ANTI-VILIFICATION BILL GETS WORSE

By Australian Newsletter

Fiona Patten tabled her Anti-Vilification Bill in 2019, seeking to amend the existing Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 to include a few protected attributes such as gender identity and sexual orientation, while lowering the bar to define vilification. The bill did not pass the Upper House but went into Committee inquiry. After months-long consultation and hearings, the Committee released its report on March 3. In the Committee’s recommendation, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression, sex characteristics and/or intersex status are adopted. To add salt to the wound, the Committee recommends to lower the bar to define vilification and incitement from ‘conduct that incites’ to ‘conduct that is likely to incite’.

Like the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020, the Committee has recommended to give the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission the power to oversee these new regulations. If these recommendations are adopted by the Andrews Government and made into law, the religious freedom and free speech of Victorians will be put at greater risk. Christians and people of various faiths and cultural communities could be restricted in expressing their beliefs about gender identity and sexual ethics, both verbally and online. Additional restrictive legislation is also on the horizon, including the Gender Equality Act 2020 and the Victorian LGBTIQ Strategy.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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FEATURE ARTICLE : ARE YOU “WOKE” OR “AWAKE”?

By Feature Articles

by Richard E Simmons III a Christian author, speaker, and the Executive Director of The Centre for Executive Leadership.

The following article is based on his latest book “Reflections on the Existence of God” available on Amazon or at  www.reflectionsontheexistenceofgod.com

It seems as though “wokeness” ideology is taking over our society with everyone from churches, to schools, to giant corporations seeing who can be the most “woke.” Generally, “woke” ideas emphasize feelings over facts, pretend that individuals determine reality for themselves (i.e. your “truth”), put a priority on affirming feelings, ideas, or behaviours rather than willing someone’s actual good, and often deny even the ability to know objective truth. Being “woke” means you have become enlightened to the alleged systemic oppression of various groups and you vow to fight for “social justice” which usually means working for equal economic and social outcomes in a given context.

In reality, the current popular understanding of “social justice” that undergirds the “woke” movement is the opposite of the good all humans should pursue and is anything but just (i.e. giving someone their due). Historic Christianity, and even things like logic and science, are seen as oppressive, racist, bigoted, etc. Today’s “woke” culture is tearing our society apart and erecting barriers to people considering the true Gospel and the freedom it provides.

MORALITY AND ATHEISM – WHO MAKES THE RULES?

We live in a time where people are truly perplexed over what has gone wrong with our world. There seems to be so much instability in people’s lives. When you look into what’s happening within our culture and world, there seems to be so much moral confusion. How does a modern person determine what is right or wrong?  Max Hocutt, professor of philosophy at the University of Alabama says: “The fundamental question of ethics is, who makes the rules? God or men? The theistic answer is that God makes them. The humanistic answer is that men make them. This distinction between theism and humanism is the fundamental division in moral theory.” Hocutt is correct. The problem then becomes if morals and ethics are determined by men, who makes these decisions? Who determines how we ought to live? How should we conduct our lives?

To personalize it, how do we determine what is moral if there is no God who reveals to us what is right or wrong? Is it determined by our feelings, by our ability to reason? If there is no God, who or what is a guiding force in our lives? We must conclude what Richard Dawkins rationally describes in his book River Out of Eden: “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference, DNA neither knows or cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”

Think about what he said. If God does not exist, then what are we as human beings? We are purposeless products of biological evolution, which means all morality is subjective. It is based on your opinion. This has such an impact on a culture when there is no moral compass. You just follow your DNA, wherever it leads you. Richard Dawkins admitted this in a radio interview with radio host Justin Brierley, as Dawkins makes it clear that human morality is nothing more than the outcome of the evolutionary process: Brierley asked “When you make a value judgment, don’t you immediately step yourself outside of this evolutionary process and say that the reason this is good is that it’s good? And you don’t have any way to stand on that statement.”

Dawkins replied “My value judgement itself could come from my evolutionary past.” Brierley responded “So therefore it’s just as random in a sense as any product of evolution.” Dawkins said “You could say that. Nothing about it makes it more probable that there is anything supernatural.” Brierley “Ultimately, your belief that rape is wrong is as arbitrary as the fact that we’ve evolved five fingers rather than six” to which Dawkins responded “You could say that, yeah.” This is astonishing that the world’s most prominent atheist could not emphatically say that rape is immoral. Though he may not believe this is true within his heart, he seeks to be a consistent Darwinian atheist. However, Dawkins does believe that it is not good for a society always to follow Darwinian morality because it is “ruthless.”

He says, “I have always said that I am a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to the way we should organize our lives and morality. We want to avoid basing our society on Darwinian principles.” Dawkins, on the one hand, says that we live our lives based on our DNA, but then introduces a moral code by telling us not to follow our DNA. The more I read of Richard Dawkins, the more I recognize how inconsistent he can be. The individual who has had the most to say about atheism and morality is the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He clearly stated that there is no absolute right or wrong. For this reason, he had much contempt for Christianity, because it elevated such beliefs as love, morality, and humility. You can’t build a civilization of power on these beliefs.

Nietzsche predicted that the English-speaking world would seek to abandon a belief in God, but would attempt to hold on to Christian values. However, he predicted correctly that when societies reject God, Christian morality itself will eventually disappear. The reason is because it will be more difficult to motivate people to be moral, for they will naturally follow their selfish instincts and desires. Dr. Arthur Leff, now deceased, was a brilliant professor at Yale Law School. Back in 1979, he published an article in the Duke Law Journal titled “Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law.” Today, it’s considered a very important and prominent essay. It is uncertain what Leff believed about God, but what troubled him was that if there is no God, then there’s no way that one can make any kind of case for human morality, particularly human rights.

Here is a paraphrased summary of what he said:  You can say it is wrong for a majority to take advantage of any minority by force, but that is an opinion and not an argument. You can assert all sorts of things, but what you cannot do is say one point of view is morally right and all others are not. If someone says it is all right to enslave a minority, and you say no, it is wrong, who is to say your view of morality is right and theirs is wrong? Maybe it helps to frame it this way: if there is no God, who among us gets to impose their will on everyone else? Who gets to establish the moral laws that people are to follow? These questions are so intellectually troubling that you would think there would be more legal and ethical thinkers trying to come to grips with this.

Leff’s words suggest that if there is a God, then He would make the law for us to follow. We’d base our law on Him. And this, by the way, is how Western civilization was built, with biblical truth as its foundation. We require a moral foundation on which to build a culture. As T.S. Eliot penned many years ago: “It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe… have been rooted.” Returning to Leff’s argument, his words also suggest that if there is no God, then moral law has to be grounded in human opinion. So, we must ask, who gets to establish their human opinion as law so that everyone has to obey it? Why should your view of morality have privilege over my view? Ultimately, what you end up with is that those in power will make sure their moral values prevail.

Of course, that’s what happened in Nazi Germany. I close with this quote from Charles Malik, Former Lebanese Ambassador to the United States, President of the United Nations General Assembly:  “There is truth, and there is falsehood. There is good, and there is evil. There is happiness, and there is misery. There is that which ennobles, and there is that which demeans. There is that which puts you in harmony with yourself, with others, with the universe, and with God, and there is that which alienates you from yourself, and from the world, and from God…The greatest error in modern times is the confusion between these orders.”

 

JOHN ANDERSON TO SEEK PRE SELECTION FOR SENATE

By Australian Newsletter

Former Nationals leader, Deputy Prime Minister, and committed Christian, John Anderson, will put his name forward for pre-selection to become the party’s Senate candidate at the next federal election. The National Party in NSW is expected in coming days to announce the Senate pre-selection to be held in April. The Nationals have one sitting senator in NSW, Perin Davey, who is not up for re-election. If on a joint ticket, the Nationals get the number two position on a joint coalition ticket, their senate candidate is overwhelmingly likely to be elected. Mr Anderson’s candidacy was prompted by a range of people asking him to run. “Last year I was asked to consider how I could best help the Party and I undertook to carefully and honestly consider what I could do,” Mr Anderson said.

“After careful thought, and much encouragement from others, I feel it is right for me to at least offer to play for the team that I once captained for another season.” Mr Anderson is adamant that he would not seek the leadership of the party or a senior cabinet position. He wants to make a contribution from the backbench. Mr Anderson will seek to emphasise the role of the National Party in representing regional Australia, but also its historic position as a full partner in national Government. “Given that we live in times of great danger and that the nation faces serious challenges and many difficult decisions in the next few years, the role the Party plays in Australia is and will remain as important as it ever has been.”

Mr Anderson said that Australia’s “freedom and prosperity” are “under enormous pressure from those who seek to denigrate or even attack them, from both within and without.” “Yet at the very time when we need more than ever to pull together in pursuit of our common interests, we are deeply divided by the poison of identity politics which so powerfully pits us against one another and denigrates our past. “I believe that the times we live in are such that each of us must now ask ourselves what we can and should do rather than simply what we would like to do.” Mr Anderson, 64, retired from parliament in 2005 after a successful stint as Deputy Prime Minister. He was held in the highest esteem by John Howard and by his National Party colleagues.

In recent years he has re-entered public debate through newspaper columns, television appearances, public addresses and a highly successful web site in which he interviews prominent conservatives in Australia and overseas. He has expressed concern about Australia’s defence preparedness and the growing strategic challenges the nation faces. A pre-selection for a winnable Senate seat could well attract a substantial field of contenders in the National party. But none would have Mr Anderson’s pedigree.

Source: National Alliance of Christian Leaders

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