By Australian Newsletter

Religious schools and organisations are fighting a move by the Queensland government to make LGBT related conversion therapy a crime in the state.  In late November, the Queensland government introduced legislation that would, among other amendments to health legislation, make the practice of conversion therapy to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity punishable by up to 18 months in jail.  The examples provided in the legislation include aversion therapy, psychoanalysis or hypnotherapy with the aim of changing or suppressing a person’s sexuality, but it also extends to counselling and group activities.

The legislation, which followed a 2018 Human Rights Law Centre review into conversion therapy practices in Australia, has the strong support of medical bodies, such as the Australian Psychological Society, and human rights organisations.  Christian organisations and schools, however, have expressed concerns that the legislation might prevent them from being able to counsel people on sexuality and gender based on their interpretation of Christianity.  Christian Schools Australia, along with three other Christian schools organisations that represent 80 schools in Queensland, told a parliamentary committee the legislation was “dangerously imprecise” and places Christian schools at risk.

The associations argued “genuine” questioning of sexuality and gender identity must be allowed.  “Students must be able to seek advice from school staff about their sexuality or gender identity and school staff must be able to respond to those questions,” they said.  “The Queensland government must guarantee that Christian schools can continue to teach a traditional Biblical sexual ethic and a biologically and medically accurate view of sexuality.”  Associated Christian Schools, which represents 38 schools in Queensland, said that the legislation as drafted could prevent religious counsellors from “communicating the institution’s religious doctrines and beliefs on sexuality and/or gender identity.”

The association also argued that adults giving informed consent should be able to freely participate in counselling regarding their sexuality and gender.  Renew Ministries, which says it is part of the ex-gay conversion therapy group Exodus, told the committee it “does not support or practice shock treatment, aversion therapy, and people who come to Renew do so voluntarily.  “The inference is that Christians may in the future be dictated to as to what they may believe, say, or choose to follow,” the submission states.  “This is looking to be an attack on Christians who are same-sex attracted but want to live according to their own personal definitions of their sexuality.”

The Queensland Law Society (QLS) also expressed concern, stating there was a lack of evidence needed for the new offences, and said it could have unintended consequences.  “QLS is concerned that the prospect of criminal prosecution may fetter otherwise legitimate aspects of psychological and psychiatric treatment.  “Some providers may be concerned that reasonable clinical interventions might be captured within the definition of conversion therapy.”  The legislation does not appear to be in conflict with the federal government’s proposed religious discrimination legislation.  Attorney-general Christian Porter has said the federal legislation would not override state-based criminal law.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

The number of known child sex offenders in NSW has increased more than 500% in the 5 years since 3 year old William Tyrrell went missing.  The sheer volume of known sex offenders has made it virtually impossible for police to keep tabs on them all.  The NSW Police Force says there are “serious problems” with the child sex offenders register, which was designed to monitor the worst pedophiles as they move around the state.  The list is often incomplete, with some offenders never added, while others drop off inexplicably.  A new computer program, introduced to fix the problems, is already failing.  The problem is worst on the mid-north coast, where hundreds of sex offenders are known to live.

Media organisations are prevented by suppression order from revealing the exact number of pedophiles living in and around the village of Kendall when William went missing.  The number has been said, in court, to be “shocking”.  The police force established the Child Protection Register in 2001, which aims to identify the presence in a given community of serious sex offenders, including men who have killed or raped children.  However, from 2014 it has been bedevilled by “systematic issues”.  Part of the problem is the sheer weight of numbers: in October 2003, there were 916 people on the register; by last year, there were 4344.  Yet there has been no proportionate increase in resources.

System flaws resulted in child sex offenders “being in the community without being monitored by NSW Police”, according to a recent report by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.  There has been one case in which a person reoffended while unmonitored.  The first police on the scene of William’s disappearance thought the boy may have been snatched.  New documents show they searched the child protection register for local names on day one of his disappearance.  Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has proposed a national, public register to include the name, date of birth and photograph of known pedophiles, as operates in the US. Opponents say it will lead to an increase in vigilante justice.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

This Sunday (29th March), Churches across Australia in whatever form they may meet, are asked to include prayers for the Coronavirus Covid 19 pandemic and its impact upon individual people and our nation as a whole.  The recent shut down of worship services will make this more difficult however Churches are asked to be creative in how they pray for what is affecting so many of our people.  Organisers of the season of prayer, of which the National Day is just one day, are amazed yet delighted by the strong support that the season of prayer has generated.  The shutting down of places of worship has been a challenge to Churches overall, but, there have been many creative ways in which congregations are responding to the situation.

For individuals and Churches participating in the season of prayer we provide the following prayer points for your use.

* Pray that people will turn to God in their fear and that the church will seize the unprecedented opportunity to make Jesus known to those without hope in Christ.  Pray that Christians everywhere will truly be God’s representative to people, not only now but in the financial crisis ahead.

* Pray that this virus will be stopped in its tracks.  That the medical researchers will get a download from Heaven on how to quickly develop a vaccine to counteract COVID-19 and a cure for those who have become infected.

* Pray for the healing of those affected by the virus and also for them to be comforted while they heal.  Pray for the eradication of the virus from their bodies and for the healing of every infected part of their being.  Pray also for no lasting effects in their bodies from this illness.

Source: Australian Prayer Network

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By Australian Newsletter

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) values and supports every human life, particularly at the end of life when research for cures and world’s best palliative care should be the priority.  Recently we received the tragic news that 52 Victorians ended their lives in the first 6 months of their new assisted suicide regime.  This figure far exceeded the toll estimated by the architects of the scheme.  We mourn these deaths and are disheartened that some want even more deaths.  Assisted suicide advocates are urging more euthanasia service providers in country Victoria. We need to take a very deep breath. A great many of these deaths were physician-assisted suicide.

The Victorian government assured us that doctors would only have to administer suicide drugs in the rarest of cases.  As we see in many debates of this nature, what the advocates once said would never be necessary is now what they want.  They get us to accept one radical change by saying that’s as far as we go, but afterwards they bob up and list another.  In this instance, the assisted suicide advocates said doctors would be protected from having to raise euthanasia with their patients.  Now, that’s what they are calling for.  The Victorian report also highlighted how not all family members supported suicide, but watched on as it happened, nonetheless. We are desensitising people.

The news coverage about these deaths ends on the confused note that these euthanasia deaths are okay, but seek help if you are contemplating suicide.  Assisted suicide advocates are also urging the Federal Government to overturn the ban on using a telephone service to promote suicide.  The endgame is clear, unrestricted, suicide on demand.  Already we have a foretaste of the more aggressive model for assisted suicide via the bill proposed for Tasmania by Mike Gaffney MLC.  The bill goes much further than the current models legalised in Victoria and Western Australia.  In those states, a person must be terminally ill and have only 6-12 months to live.

Mr Gaffney’s bill removes the terminal illness requirement.  People who have an irreversible medical condition could access euthanasia without the need of a psychiatric assessment.  Euthanasia medical advice could be by video link, a process with no rigour.  Fortunately, telecommunications services cannot be used to promote suicide, though advocates are also looking to overturn that law as well.  Then there is the nightmare if Mr Gaffney’s bill becomes law.  It proposes, after 2 years of euthanasia being given to adults, consideration be given to extending it to children.  The advocates’ plans are now clear, more aggressive laws the moment they have passed supposedly sedate versions.

Queensland Labor members are pushing Premier Palaszczuk to pass euthanasia laws before the State Election on 31 October this year.  NSW Nationals MP Trevor Khan was starting a ‘cross-party’ working group to legalise assisted suicide but was rebuked by party leadership for doing so while public concern was rightly focused on bushfire relief.  South Australia has doggedly resisted attempts to legalise euthanasia, with another push undoubtedly on its way.  For years ACL has highlighted the dangers of euthanasia.  We have a huge 2020 ahead of us to halt the march of assisted suicide laws and to advocate for world’s best palliative care, pain relief and compassion for our suffering fellow Australians.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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By Australian Newsletter

A spirit of fear is trying to permeate our nation due to the threats of the Coronavirus.  The stock market is being impacted and our nation is taking extreme actions to curtail any unnecessary exposure.  Other nations have also begun to shut their borders due to the threats of the virus.  There is panic buying of food and other items as people fall prey to a spirit of fear.  It is time for us to pray about the spirits behind the coronavirus.  It is time for us to pray and proclaim God’s Word over our communities and the nation as a whole.  We cannot control the media’s propaganda or various political agendas, but we do have a say in what kind of atmosphere hovers over our own cities and communities.

This is where we have the most authority and the most responsibility in clearing the air and shifting the atmosphere from fear to faith.  We need to rise up in our corporate spiritual authority to displace the illegitimate authorities that are seeking a foothold in our nation. Intercessors can shift the atmosphere in their cities through prayer, worship, and a corporate spiritual authority far greater than any demonic threat or attack.  The posture of our hearts and the words from our mouths determine the atmosphere in a place.  The power of our praises and our prayers can shift atmospheres in a room, a building, a neighbourhood, and even an entire city.

This is the amazing result of believers coming together in agreement and drawing power from heaven through their unified proclamations and worship.  It permeates the spirit and displaces demonic activity, making way for heaven to come down and God’s presence to be made known.  In the early Church, unity was so strong that Scriptures speak of a “great grace” that was released in the city.  This grace opened the door to miracles, signs, and wonders, and salvations on a daily basis (see Acts 4:32-34).  Earlier in this same chapter, it speaks of their daily fellowship and breaking of bread.  Because of these things, God’s grace empowered them to do far beyond what they could have done in the natural.

This should be our desire as we come together as watchmen in prayer over our cities and nation.  We can pray in such agreement with heaven that the atmosphere over the city begins to be permeated with the grace and favour of the Lord.  Our spiritual adversary will continually find ways to spread fear, chaos, turmoil, and hopelessness over the land.  It is our responsibility to displace those demonic spirits by keeping our corporate prayer altars ablaze.  We must use our authority in Christ to displace rulers in high places and declare the work of the cross and the power of Christ’s resurrection.  Let’s agree together to speak life instead of death, order instead of chaos, and faith instead of fear.

Source: Intercessors for America

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