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FEATURE ARTICLE: BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS

By Feature Articles

Quickly dispensing with coronavirus social distancing protocols, BlackLivesMatter protestors across the globe are marching.  Some lawless types are also looting.  Some are even killing.  It’s a scary, dangerous mess.  And while most protestors are sincere and well intentioned, there is something else going on here.  It’s called identity politics and it poisons everything it touches.  As Christians we must not fall for this destructive new tribalism.

George Floyd’s death is a tragedy.  A police officer abused his power and a man died.  The officer should be punished accordingly, and he has been.  But two wrongs don’t make a right.  Rioters, looters, and violent protesters should also be punished accordingly, because there is no excuse for crime.  This violence has a backstory; a political narrative.  For several decades now, political forces which want destruction through division and violence have gained a hold on culture.  They have successfully convinced an entire generation to see society as a collection of warring tribes.

The war is a war of power, not truth.  That’s why it plays out in violence, suppression, no-platforming, and propaganda, not argument, dialogue and logic.  The tribes are blacks versus whites, gays versus straights, religion versus everyone, man versus woman, cis versus trans, right versus left, etc.  It is breeding resentment, victimhood, hatred, and discontent.  Look no further than those who have swallowed it whole, Clementine Ford, for example. It’s destroying people. Indeed, these race riots are a case study in identity politics:

Step 1: Take one person’s sin: deadly abuse of power.
Step 2: Identify the sinner’s attributes: white, male, police officer, etc.
Step 3: identify the victim’s attributes: black, man, etc.
Step 4: Choose the contrasting attributes that have most political leverage: white vs black/racism narrative.
Step 5: Apply the sinner’s guilt to everybody with their attribute: whites are racist power-abusers.
Step 6: Don’t hold back, because you’re innocent, and they’re all guilty: rage against “whiteness” – riots, looting, destruction, abuse, hate, not against one man, one institution, or even one city, but everyone and everything that you think represents “whiteness”.  Or, alternatively, sit back and justify the rioters for the same reason.

This is not about truth.  It’s war and it’s about power.  It ends really, really badly.  It has done so across all cultures, throughout all time.  The foulest violence and the vilest hatred has come from this sort of tribal thinking time and again.  From the Tutsis and the Hutus, to the gas chambers or the gulags, and the stain of slavery on America’s history.  The seeds of this start small.  They start with the narrative of divided tribes; a narrative that is well and truly among us.  Women bristle at masculinity and forever push for empowerment over the men in their lives, blacks live with festering resentment over “white privilege,” the trans community believes their mental struggles are stigma-based and the whole LGBTQ world is sincerely convinced that Christians hate their guts.  Now, white men are trying to get a piece of the victim pie, too, by saying they are the last remaining non-recognised victim group in family law, poverty, suicide etc.

The death of George Floyd has been another chance for political forces with an agenda to stoke the hate, fuel the warfare narrative, and convince a nation of racist tribalism (as well as all other tribalisms).  The combined activity of these political forces is tearing apart a nation.  It’s getting worse, not better.  It’s happening in Australia, too.  ANTIFA moved quickly.  Organised, responsive, and agenda-driven, bussed into Minneapolis to kick-start riots.  Opportunistic looters joined them, not to mourn Floyd, but to gratuitously steal and destroy.  And it’s contagious.  The whole nation has joined them.  It’s a powder keg waiting to blow.  When tribes are in a battle that’s lasted for generations, and there is no such thing as unifying truth to help you resolve things, your only answer is violence and power struggle.

Meanwhile, the statistics are clear.  4% of black homicide victims are killed by cops.  12% of white homicide victims are killed by cops.  A police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black man than an unarmed black man is to be killed by a cop.  I could go on all day with the data.  Sadly, an entire generation is primed and ready, because they believe in the identity politics creed.  Thanks schools, thanks universities, thanks media, and thanks government who fund it all.  The idea that one man’s sin is a collective sin is dangerous.  Individuals are responsible for their actions and should be individually punished, whether that be abuse of power or looting or anything else.

The real issue is that a police officer abused his power, it has happened before, to both black and white victims.  He has been punished severely for doing wrong, as he should be.  One of the sadder aspects of this is I doubt whether Floyd would have wanted it.  He seems to have been quite an amazing Christian convert with a heart for ministry.  Christians, please do not drink the tribal kool-aid.  It’s destroying us.  It’s a vehicle for terrible hatred and the entrapment of victimhood.  It’s about power, not truth.  Fortunately, our hope is not in the kingdom of this world, but in the kingdom of God which cannot be shaken.

Source: Martyn Iles, Managing Director Australian Christian Lobby

The International Prayer Council has issued the following prayer alert:

No doubt you have been following the news of the death of George Floyd, which was an awful act of police brutality against an unarmed black man in Minneapolis last week.  The video of his uncalled-for murder has sparked great outrage, protests, rioting and looting for the last 9-10 days in many cities across the USA.  Antifa and Black Lives Matters, are two of the organized radical groups that have entered in to commandeer this protest movement.  Both espouse a form of Marxist revolutionary ideology, calling for the destruction of the state, defunding and ending of all police forces, the military, government and the removal of all borders.

The “liberation” of America “begins with its death” according to one of their planning strategies.  They are seeking to ignite a civil war and hundreds of thousands of Americans, especially youth, are docilely going along thinking this is a struggle for justice when they are actually being manipulated and used to achieve these radicals’ Marxist endgame.  Now, this dangerous movement of rebellion is also spreading and affecting other nations as well.  Tonight, I heard that demonstrations have broken out in at least two dozen cities spanning five continents.

Please pray for the overthrow of these thuggish groups.  Let’s agree and pray that these provocateurs will be arrested, brought to justice and punished for their sedition and other crimes.

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DANIEL ANDREWS CLAMS UP ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ADVICE ON CHINA

By Australian Newsletter

Daniel Andrews’s Department of Premier and Cabinet has refused access to details of crucial national security advice it received before signing up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).  Documents obtained by the Victorian opposition under Freedom of Information laws show emails were exchanged between the Andrews government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade just months before the deal in October 2018.  The substantive content of the emails has been blacked out, with Mr Andrews’s department claiming its publication would “prejudice relations between Victoria and the commonwealth”.

Victoria is the only Australian jurisdiction to join the BRI by signing an MOU in 2018.  Canberra sees the scheme as a vehicle for Chinese regional and global expansion.  The four-page MOU said Victoria would work with China to promote infrastructure, trade and finance, while acknowledging the state was “welcoming and supportive” of the BRI and would promote “the Silk Road spirit”.  A Melbourne-based organisation, the Australia-China Belt & Road Initiative, persuaded Mr Andrews to ink the deal.  They hired former federal Liberal minister Andrew Robb and federal Labour minister Lindsay Tanner to help sell its message.  Its founder and CEO is former Chinese journalist Jean Dong.

Its website says: “This organisation will engage business leaders from China and Australia with a purpose of articulating the relevance of the Belt & Road strategy to Australian industries and identifying practical opportunities for expanded trade and investment.”  Before defying federal government security advice and signing up to the BRI, Mr Andrews spoke enthusiastically about closer business ties between China and Victoria, saying: “There’s an energy in Victoria-China relations that’s not been there in the past, there’s a real sense of the opportunities of this relationship, a complex, multilayered relationship, one based not just on transactions, but one about trust … a true partnership.

“It’s such a competitive market, so many parts of our region and world are vying for an increased share of Chinese investment and influence over Chinese policymaking.  Whether it be in construction, design or professional services, we have a unique perspective, a wealth of knowledge and a hoard of experience to lend.”  The Andrews government has continually refused to confirm whether proper security or risk assessments were undertaken ahead of the deal being struck.  In an email dated June 8, 2018, to DFAT’s China Economic and Trade Section, a senior adviser in Mr Andrews’s department states that a colleague has been in verbal contact “regarding a draft Belt and Road MOU”.

“Please find a marked-up version, which reflects our feedback,” they write.  “Look forward to hearing your thoughts.”  A DPC “East Asia and Latin America manager” followed up on June 12: “Thanks (redacted) for your help on this.  My executive director is keen to land this ASAP and is under some time pressure from further up.  Do you have a sense of when you might be able to come back to us with a view.  This is a high priority for Victoria.  Apologies for being so pushy.”  The Andrews government said all FOI requests were managed in accordance with relevant legislation.  “We don’t comment on security matters,” a spokeswoman said.

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PARENTS WANT VETO OF TRANS LESSONS IN SCHOOLS

By Australian Newsletter

A strong majority of voters polled across both major parties want parents to have a veto over classes teaching children they can change gender.  In the first national survey on so-called “gender fluidity” at school, 88% of Coalition supporters and 72% of Labor loyalists agreed parents should have the right to know what is being taught and be free to pull children out of class.  “Parents’ groups say they believe confusion in class about the unchanging reality of biological sex is part of the reason for the exponential global surge in often troubled teenagers, chiefly girls, declaring themselves transgender and seeking life-changing medical treatment in children’s hospital gender clinics.

Almost half of those who voted Greens (46%) backed parents’ rights over gender fluidity teaching.  Concern in the survey about teachers telling students they can change gender “based on how they feel” cut across age groups, reaching almost 80% among young people around the age of marriage, and was strongest in Western Australia and Queensland, and least pronounced in Victoria.  These three states have the biggest children’s hospital gender clinics and promote self-identified trans rights in school, although states outside Victoria shun the Safe Schools brand, which was damaged by media scrutiny in the run-up to the Turnbull government stripping it of federal funding.

Victoria’s education minister James Merlino pleaded “confidentiality” when asked how many children had been referred without parental approval to the Royal Children’s Hospital gender clinic’.  These visiting doctors have had gender training from the Royal Childrens Hospital (RCH) clinic.  “The same rules apply to doctors in schools as they do in the community, medical information is kept confidential and not disclosed to schools or the department,” a spokesman said.  The RCH clinic director Michelle Telfer promotes The Gender Fairy, a booklet by former teacher Jo Hirst, which tells young children: “Only you know whether you are a boy or a girl. No one can tell you”.

Safe Schools at the federal level has been defunded by the Coalition, however program materials are still endorsed by the federal education department which includes them on its Student Wellbeing website aimed at teachers, parents and students.  A spokesman for federal education minister Dan Tehan said the material had been given the all-clear as “educationally sound” after an independent review by former education academic Bill Louden.  Shadow minister Tanya Plibersek refused to answer any questions about gender fluidity teaching.  “After weeks of disruption to schooling, my focus is on getting kids up to speed on their reading, writing, and maths,” she said.

One brochure on the federal website encourages teachers to allow students to change gender without parents’ approval, saying, “The person who understands most about their gender transition is the student themselves”.  This is among Safe Schools material used to train WA public school teachers but rebadged with different graphics as “Inclusive Education WA” and delivered by the WA Aids Council with taxpayers’ funds.  It acknowledges Ms Ward as an author.  A spokeswoman for WA Education Minister Sue Ellery said: “Principals make local decisions regarding the materials used to deliver the school’s teaching program.  Parents are encouraged to discuss their child’s school program with their school”.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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OUR UNIVERSITIES IN TURMOIL

By Australian Newsletter

Editors comment: An article like this would not normally find a place in a newsletter put out by a prayer network. The COVID 19 crisis however has exposed many issues that has given Australia a unique opportunity to tackle problems within society that had been previously hidden. Many of these issues play a role in shaping the destiny of our nation and which therefore require much prayer. In coming weeks we will expand our coverage to expose some ingrained problems that have been brought into the light by the impact of the virus. We may not always agree with every sentiment expressed by the writers, but issues we cover we believe are in need of much prayer so that change can occur into the future.

These are tumultuous times for Australian universities.  At the University of Adelaide, the vice-chancellor has taken “indefinite leave” and the chancellor has resigned.  In unrelated moves, other Vice Chancellors (VCs) signalled their intent to move on even before the COVID-19 crisis hit.  Michael Spence is leaving the top job at the University of Sydney at the end of the year.  There are departures by other university leaders, including at the University of Queensland.  Is it foolish to hope for different, improved leadership at our major universities?  Certainly, if incoming VCs are smart, they will turn their attention to domestic students who have long been ignored in favour of cash cows in China.

To understand what prevents Australian students from obtaining an excellent university education, one needs to understand the entrenched problems at our biggest tertiary institutions.  This week I spoke to someone who knows first-hand how universities are run, what their motivations are and what has gone wrong in the past 15 years. This professor of media and communications, says Australia’s major universities are run essentially by the worst forms of authoritarianism and the pursuit of money.  Before unravelling that, first understand that this prominent professor says she would normally put her name to what she says. Except for one thing: “I would get sacked,” she says.

“My contract says that I cannot bring my university into disrepute so if I put my name to this, my job would be in jeopardy.  And I have a mortgage to pay.”  Put another way, these are escape clauses for poorly run universities to avoid scrutiny by people in the know.  The authoritarian fist was particularly evident in a tutorial room at the University of Technology Sydney for first-year communications students.  A few weeks ago, a young student, we will call him David, as he doesn’t want to get blackballed by university administrators, decided to quit his communications degree.

He sent a thoughtful and honest email to his lecturer explaining why.  He said he hoped the feedback would be used in a constructive way.  David wrote that he “found the course and tutor extremely prescriptive in opinion, presenting very niche ideological standpoints as absolute objective fact, and this was reinforced by a proactive effort to shut down any opposing point of view.  Anytime I suggested anything that went against the consensus, I was shut down and even laughed at.”  The young law student says he enrolled in communications expecting respectful, philosophical discussions about our political systems.  It didn’t turn out that way.

Going by David’s experience, tutorials should be renamed dictatorials about identity politics, victimhood and shame.  Instead of encouraging students to think, and discuss issues, the tutorial room in David’s communications degree became a place where his different views were mocked and ignored as “inherent ignorance from a white male”.  He said even putting aside the silly politics of the course, what are students going to do with guff about the world being a battleground where every smaller group is oppressed by a “dominant group”?  “Never did I expect to be alienated from class discussion because of my skin colour or my gender.

I cannot believe that in this day and age my identity was held paramount in deciding if I was correct, not what I had to say.  I wonder what the response would have been had I suggested a fellow student’s opinion was inherently invalid purely because she was female,” David wrote to his lecturer.  The lecturer wrote a cursory response, saying she was pleased that he was able to withdraw without incurring course costs. Monolithic thinking is dangerous, particularly at universities.  If tutorials cannot accommodate a genuine diversity of views, including those of David, then universities don’t deserve a dime from taxpayers.

Alas, it’s not just lecturers running dictatorials who are dumbing down a university education for Australian students.  As the professor of media and communications said, the greedy corporatist agenda of university administrators, relying on a gravy train of international students, mostly from mainland China, is also lowering standards at universities that crow about their rankings.  She says chasing fees from international students has been under way for 15 years, with foreign agents acting for our universities to arrange “huge parties and junkets” for potential overseas students and also the “doctoring” of English language tests.

The professor says she has seen hundreds of foreign students arrive with band 6 scores, meaning competent, on the standardised speech, reading and writing tests known as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).  She would give them no more than a band 3, which is “extremely limited” according to the International English Language Testing System.  These results have big ramifications for foreign students who are out of their depth, struggling in a foreign country away from families, without the skills to learn properly.  And the consequences for local students are equally poor.

“Masters and postgraduate students’ programs, which are the money-spinners to attract foreign students, have been dumbed down often to a point where the standards expected are below that of what we expect of undergraduate students,” she says.  While her heart goes out to struggling foreign students, she says students with insufficient English language skills mean “domestic students are frequently irritated, particularly with group assignments.  They are paying a lot of money for a postgraduate course and many definitely feel they are not challenged enough.”

These secrets about foreign cash cows and dumbed-down courses, previously whispered about among lecturers and students, deserve to be exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic as the tap of money from international students dries up.  “Without in anyway being xenophobic, reliance on international students is the wrong answer.  It’s an add-on, that’s all.  We should be really focusing on how we educate Australians, and thinking about what we need to build a strong economy and society,” says the professor.  Our best universities could start the post-COVID reform process by treating domestic students better.

One young man recently reapplied to enrol in a full-fee masters’ program at one of Australia’s grandest sandstone universities.  His marks were a tiny fraction away from the entry mark for the course.  Within minutes of sending a thoughtful and polite email seeking admission, explaining special circumstances that would have lifted his score over the threshold, he was effectively told to rack off.  Smart businesses wouldn’t be so brazenly rude and dismissive about new full-fee paying customers when they are running under capacity because of the economic lockdown.  Our small businesses are eagerly trying to attract customers in new ways, adapting wherever they can.

But our cashed-up major universities run by overpaid VCs have grown arrogant and complacent.  They would rather go cap in hand to the federal government pleading for more taxpayer money after they have raked in Chinese money to fund research papers to bump up their rankings to attract more foreign students.  All the while they have dumbed-down standards, leaving local students without a quality education.  It’s a disgrace.  Having worked in Australian universities for 20 years, at very senior levels, the professor says “the level of bureaucracy is insane, the systems are not serving the students.  It’s a plague on our house.”

Prayer points:

* Pray that our Universities would re-consider their current model which relies heavily on the enrolment of overseas students to fund them so as to open up more opportunities for Australian students to undertake tertiary education.

* Pray that our Universities will once again become places where many points of view are able to be discussed and not be limited by ideologies pushed or held by the academic elite.

* Pray that once again our Universities become the source of knowledge and academic enlightenment rather than the source of so much of the ideological pursuits that have invaded our society in recent years.

Source: An article written by Journalist Janet Albrechtsen

STOP THE MISUSE OF ANTI-DISCRIMINATION TRIBUNALS

By Australian Newsletter

New South Wales Upper House member Mark Latham has introduced an Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Complaint Handling) Bill 2020 into the NSW parliament.  The Bill is directed at preventing abuses of the discrimination complaints process by vexatious or serial litigants.  These can be litigants with an activist or personal agenda making numerous complaints on flimsy grounds against another to effectively punish that other person for expressing a point of view which they do not agree with or find offensive.  The Bill proposes needed reform of a system that is being misused.

Mr Latham states: “The risk therefore with the Anti-Discrimination Act is one of misuse.  We must ensure that anti-discrimination provisions are not abused, that activists do not use them as an instrument for personal financial gain or vengeance, or to try to silence those who simply hold views with which they disagree.  Such activism would not only be morally wrong but also represent a misallocation of scarce resources in the New South Wales legal system.  The freedom to make a complaint of discrimination is a privilege we enjoy in a democratic society with a rule of law and is meant to be used for redress for discrimination suffered not for punishing those you disagree with.”

Source: Australian Family Association

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PRAYING FOR OUR NATION DURING THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC

By Australian Newsletter

We invite all of our members to continue to pray for our people as the Corona 19 pandemic continues to impact our nation and the nations of the world. As the impact of the Covid 19 virus diminishes across our nation and the recovery begins, we have decided that this will be the final week of prayer points related to the virus and its impact upon the nation. We thank all our members for their prayers over recent weeks which we believe has resulted in our nation being saved from a much more severe outbreak.

Please pray:

* that all Australians will continue to respect the call of our Governments to engage in behaviour that will protect us all from the spread of this virus.

* that Godly wisdom will be given to our State Governments as to how and when to lift restrictions on the various segments of society in a timely manner that will keep the virus under control, but also allow as many people as possible to return to work and play.

* that as many people as possible will be able to be re-employed in the work force and that as many businesses as possible will be able to re-open and remain financially viable as the restrictions are lifted.

Source: Australian Prayer Network

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