Truth Really Matters
Some truths are easy to understand. Other truths are difficult to establish and may need social questionnaires, scientific experiments, or a depth of historical knowledge before they can be established. In the modern world of print media and increasing internet reports the challenge to find the truth can become overwhelming. Some misinformation comes from genuinely held beliefs and understandings, but others come from a deliberate intent to misinform for a variety of reasons. The dilemma for all developed countries is to recognise malicious intentions, how to exclude them and not, at the same time, undermine cherished values like the freedom of speech. The current ACMA Disinformation Bill 2023 is an example of our government seeking to protect people from facing an avalanche of what they believe is false. They plan to provide ACMA with new powers to combat what they believe is online misinformation and disinformation by ensuring it can be deleted from all social media. They plan for 6 designated people in ACMA to identify the harmful material, cause it to be deleted from social media and the digital providers to be fined.
Are they infallible? Recently health experts and premiers, wanting to do the best for their states, have made grave mistakes. What they have declared as “fake news” have ended up later as being true. John Stuart Mill once said: “All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.” We are told not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of our minds, so by testing we may discern what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable, and perfect. (Rom 12:2) Let’s ask the Lord to tune our ears to wisdom, and to concentrate on understanding. We need to cry out for insight and ask for understanding. (Pb2:2-3) All scientific progress happens to rely on the ability to refute the consensus. It ceases to move forward when freedom to challenge is denied. So, should this legislation be opposed because it denies the right to challenge?
There are many authoritarian countries which criminalize the publication of anything that those in power call false news. They censor content, shut down news outlets, and jail journalists on the charge of producing information critical of or unwanted by those in power. Our hope is that our current government and its agencies which gathers information from digital platform providers can be trusted to identify true misinformation, and disinformation and not stifle or limit freedom of speech. But will the new ACMA bill also have the power to hold the government to account for any misinformation in their own services? False information can be spread easily, regardless of whether there is an intent to mislead. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—let us think and pray about such things”. (Phil 4:8)
* Search us, O Lord, as individuals and governments. Know our hearts. Try us and know our thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in us and lead us in the way everlasting. (Ps 139:23-24)
* Lord, clear our minds. May our thoughts be always of the purest kind. Come, take your rightful place, and make this nation yours.
* That as a nation we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. ( Jn 8:32)
Praying for the Voice
As the referendum comes ever closer and debate over the Voice intensifies it is time to pray into the issue which will have a huge potential impact upon the future of our nation. Over coming weeks, we will highlight areas where we believe we need to concentrate prayer in order that the result of the referendum is the best outcome for Australia and in line with God’s perfect will.
Let us pray:
* That those who are campaigning for the no case will be able to put forward credible alternatives and have similar funding and opportunities to the yes campaign to do so.
* With polls showing that the vast majority of Australians support constitutional recognition of First Nations people but not how the Government proposes to achieve that through The Voice, pray that even at this late stage all parties will be able to come together to find a way to achieve that by changing the wording of the referendum question.
* Pray that intransigence and fixed ideological views on both sides would give way to what is in the best interests of both our First Nations people and the nation as a whole.
Drag Queen Story Times
In recent months across Victoria more than 10 planned events of men in womanface reading to children have been cancelled as Australians are becoming aware of the dangers of Drag Queen Storytimes in libraries and schools. Many of these sessions have been paid for in the past by ratepayers. The media often paint the men as victims of “far right extremists”. But parents should have the right to object to men in womanface presenting stories to little children without being labelled ‘extremists’. The deputy principal Woodleigh School, one of the schools involved, said that a systematic and targeted response by right-wing fringe groups led to the involvement of Victoria police, who advised the school to cancel the event to avoid public altercation or disruption, which were some of the actions threatened by those opposed to Storytime. Violence or threats of violence are never acceptable. But there is no reporting on the Facebook pages of these men who have posted appalling sexualised images which children can view once having been exposed to the hypersexualised caricatures of women they present.
‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.’ John Wesley
* Thank God that more and more people are realising the danger of Drag Queen Storytimes that are so harmful to our children.
* Pray that across Australia storytimes for little children in libraries and schools present good and uplifting stories, totally free from sexualised content.
* Pray that we Christians can take on board and do more of the good that John Wesley wrote about. As Judges 5:31 says, “May all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.” Let’s look outward, to shine His light to all we encounter. Especially pray that the men who want to tell stories of darkness to our children would encounter the warmth and light of Jesus’ love.
Praying for Issues in the News
* The cancelling of the Commonwealth Games by the Victorian Government has met with hostile criticism from numerous quarters claiming it is an act that has diminished the integrity not only of the Victorian Government but also the nation as a whole. This is because when a government enters into a contract which they subsequently break, their word can no longer be trusted, and it represents a risk for anyone else considering doing business with them. Please pray that the action of the Victorian Government will not damage Australia’s good name amongst the international community and that the games will be picked up by another city somewhere in the world so that the athletes who would have competed at the games will still have that experience to enjoy.
* The Federal Government has announced major changes to university funding which will link public funding to the background of students, with money allocated based on the background of students, with extra money allocated to account for poverty, Indigenous background and distance from big cities. Whilst the intentions of the changes are noble i.e., to enable a higher number of disadvantaged students to attain entry to a university, let us pray that the program will not result in division amongst the different classes of students nor a lowering of standards for university entry to satisfy ideological beliefs.
Praying for Others
This week let us pray for Pakistan. Sharing the gospel could have you arrested in Pakistan. Pray that believers will have radical courage to share the Good News, no matter the cost.
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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