Thank you to the many members of the Canberra Declaration community who took part in praying and fasting for the revival and transformation of Australia.
"this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of Him"
(1 John 5:14-15).
We also want to thank those who have already made a submission to the RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REVIEW. We thank God too for the many others including the Coalition for Marriage, Australian Christian Lobby, FamilyVoice Australia, Endeavour Forum, Australian Marriage Forum and the Australian Family Association who have also been urgently calling for submissions.
Here we feel compelled to make a final encouragement to you to make a submission if you have not yet done so. This is urgent because public submissions close in two days at end of business on Wednesday 14 February. Making a submission to this Religious Freedom Review could be our last chance to have religious freedom, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech protected in the law for those who hold that true marriage is between a man and a woman.
Please watch this very short and urgent appeal to make a submission -
On 22 November 2017, the Prime Minister
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 Terms of Reference were announced on 14 December 2017 with the Expert Panel due to report its findings on or by 31 March 2018.
The Canberra Declaration states that
"Religious freedom includes freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. The importance of these freedoms is shown in countries where they are threatened or absent. ... We affirm the basic necessity of freedom of conscience, having the liberty to speak publicly about one's faith and beliefs, and having the right to practise the religion of one's choice. If these freedoms are removed - even in the name of supposed benefits - the prized values of democracy and liberty are seriously undermined."
Submissions can be as short as a couple sentences. In your submission you can call for the protection of any or all of the following freedoms -
- 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.
Please continue to 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. With only two days to go, there are two ways to send your views -
1. The Panel strongly encourages using their online submission form.
Martyn Iles, the
new incoming Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby
states in his recent blog,
"The Turnbull Government's review of religious freedoms is an important opportunity to highlight the need for much greater protections for religious freedom - but this will only be the start of a longer, more important and profound campaign.
Together we must continue the fight for the fundamental freedom to believe and live out our faith without fear of harassment or intimidation."
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 We look forward to passing on to you reports of the National Day of Prayer & Fasting. But for now we can provide you with this link of the six-hour-long webcast from Canberra which you can scroll through or bookmark and listen to in segments. We trust you'll be encouraged.
There is still time to register for the 40 Day Prayer Relay which commences on Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The aim is to cover Australia with a 24/7 canopy of prayer. The devotions will be sent daily to your email. Read more and register at www.40daysofprayer.org.au