Good News Update 239 - 29 January  2018 

Please Speak Up for Our Religious Freedoms


A dark cloud is hanging over our cherished freedoms of religion, conscience and speech. Australia needs God's help and your help to blow it away!

During the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey YES campaigners promised that there would be no consequences to ordinary Australians as a result of redefining marriage. Our Prime Minister went well beyond this and promised extensive protections for religious freedom saying  "Religious freedom is fundamental and it will be protected in any bill that emerges from this Parliament." And so many who voted YES on their postal ballot did so in the belief that religious freedoms would be protected.

Please watch this short interview about parental freedom with Dr Steve Tourloukis -  

 
Regrettably, when the Senate and House of Representatives debated the Bill to amend the Marriage Act, all proposed amendments to protect even the most basic religious freedoms were comprehensively defeated. These included:
  • Freedom for individuals to speak publicly about man-woman marriage without governments and agencies taking punitive action; 
  • Freedom of parents and faith-based schools to raise and educate children in accordance with their moral and religious convictions;
  • Freedom of wedding service providers to withhold services as a matter of conscience;
  • Freedom of religious charities to hold their view of marriage without fear of losing government funding or charitable status and
  • Freedom of faith-based schools and other institutions to hire staff in accordance with their ethos.
But now that same-sex 'marriage' is legal, protections for these precious freedoms do not exist.  At present we are in a vacuum.  Even worse the Marriage Alliance reports that "LGBT activists are threatening a mandate to further their agenda, specifically in three main areas: education, parenting and freedom of religion" 

On 22 November 2017, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of an Expert Panel headed by former Liberal frontbencher Philip Ruddock. The stated objective of this Religious Freedom Review is "to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion"

The Expert Panel comprises:
  • the Hon Philip Ruddock (chair)
  • Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM
  • the Hon Dr Annabelle Bennett AO SC
  • Father Frank Brennan SJ AO
  • Professor Nicholas Aroney
The Terms of Reference were announced on 14 December 2017 with the Expert Panel due to report its findings on or by 31 March 2018. 

Making a submission to this Religious Freedom Review could be our last chance to have the freedoms of religion, conscience and speech protected in the law. The close of submissions for this inquiry is fast approaching on Friday 14 February 2018.

The Expert Panel held its first meeting on 10 January 2018 in Sydney. That same day 
Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, one of the twelve Senators who voted against redefining marriage, was interviewed by Sydney Talk Radio 2GB.  

During the interview he asked  "What sort of culture and society do we want?  In a free society people should not be hauled before tribunals or government bodies to justify their exercise of free speech and freedom of religion ... "   Here he cited Archbishop Julian Porteous and Pastor Campbell Markham from his home state of Tasmania.  They were brought before Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commission " simply for saying that the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman".  Senator Abetz continued "Now that is a view that roughly forty percent of Australians hold.  I think it's a valid view.  We can argue about it and in a free society that is what we do. We did. the decision has been made.  But that does not mean that the minority view should now be silenced and told you will have to do as the majority like absolutely in all these circumstances."  Click here for the full interview.
 
The loss of religious freedoms has real consequences as seen in a recent court case from Canada. A Christian father, Steve Tourloukis has lost his appeal in a parental rights case which began in 2010.  This battle pitted him against his public school board, the province of Ontario, and the teachers' union for his attempts to protect his children from possible LGBTQ indoctrination at school.

Please pray that God will speak to the hearts of the Expert Panel and its chair the Hon Philip Ruddock as they deliberate on the future of religious freedom in Australia.  

Please make a submission today . It does not have to be long, just a couple of short sentences imploring the Expert Panel to recommend protections for our freedoms of religion, conscience and speech that have made Australia a great place to live. Click here for some points from the Australian Christian Lobby you can make. There are three ways to send a submission - 

The Panel strongly encourages using their online submission form

Or you can send by email to religiousfreedom@pmc.gov.au (Word, PDF or text files preferred)

Or you can send a hard copy to:

The Expert Panel on Religious Freedom
C/O Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
PO Box 6500
Canberra ACT 2600
 

Please speak up for the protection of our freedoms of religion, conscience and speech. Thank you!

Yours for the future of our nation and our children,

David Rowsome & Warwick Marsh

PS. Make sure you reserve your place at the Pray for Australia Webinar this Wednesday at 8PM 31st January. You will hear from Ps Margaret Court, Lou Engle from The Call USA, Heidi Baker and we expect to hear from Senator Eric Abetz who can better brief us on this Religious Freedom Inquiry. REGISTER HERE NOW!

Canberra Declaration 
Warwick: phone 0418 225 212
David: phone 07 34220969


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