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If you are reading this article – or this website – you are doing well. I really do not believe both will be around a whole lot longer – not the way the crackdown on free speech is going. Throughout the West the forces of intolerance and bigotry – yes, the secular left – are doing all they can to stamp out all points of view but their own.

And leading the way here is how the left is seeking to make all criticism of Islam illegal.

Published in Islam

This is the first part of a series of articles written by Neil Foster about the Ruddock Review's leaked contents. The subsequent articles can be accessed at Neil website, here.  

A media outlet here in Australia has released what it says are the 20 recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom chaired by the Hon Philip Ruddock. The Report itself was delivered to the Government in May 2018, but has not officially been released. Apparently the Government is planning to release the Report at the same time as announcing its official response. The main issue which has generated controversy during the last week, in which there was a selective leaking of some of the recommendations, were proposals dealing with the rights of religious schools to take into account the sexual orientation of students in certain areas. The changes proposed were not radical changes to the existing law, but were presented as such when first publicised. In this post I want to briefly set these recommendations in context and offer my preliminary response.
Published in Religious Freedom

The recent decision of the England and Wales Court of Appeal in Pemberton v Inwood [2018] EWCA Civ 564 (22 March 2018) upholds what was in effect disciplinary action taken against a Church of England clergyman, the Reverend Canon Jeremy Pemberton, on account of his entering into a same-sex marriage. The decision is a sensible one which upholds the religious freedom of the Anglican church to operate in accordance with its fundamental religious beliefs.

Published in Religious Freedom

A student Christian group at the University of Iowa has been reinstated as a registered student organisation by a US Federal District Court Judge, after previously having its status revoked by University authorities. The student group, Business Leaders in Christ (“BLinC”), had been penalised because it would not agree to appoint to its leadership a same-sex attracted student, who said that they would not undertake to comply with the group’s commitment to Biblical sexual values. The University claimed that this was a breach of its Policy on Human Rights, forbidding discrimination on the basis of, among other things, sexual orientation. BLinC claimed, however, that the issue was not the student’s orientation, but their express refusal to modify their behaviour to accord with Biblical norms.

Published in Religious Freedom

There have been a number of “wedding industry” religious freedom cases arising in the United States and the UK over the last few years. On 28 December 2017 the Oregon Court of Appeals, in Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (CA Or; Dec 28, 2017, — P.3d —-, 2017 WL 6613356; 289 Or App 507 (2017)upheld a $135,000 fine levied on the Kleins, wedding cake makers, for declining to make a cake for the wedding of Rachel and Laurel Bowmen-Cryer. The case is another example of religious freedom (and, arguably, freedom of speech) being over-ridden in the name of “dignitary harm” to same-sex couples. It is a good example of the issues being presented to the current Ruddock Inquiry into Religious Freedom being conducted in Australia at the moment.

Published in Religious Freedom
Sunday, 03 September 2017 14:00

A Catholic Response to the Marriage Debate

While Dave Pellowe has written a very useful article intended to equip Protestant pastors, I thought I'd put together some resources specifically for Catholics or for those who want to understand the Church's stance on marriage. There has been a great deal of misinformation in Catholic circles regarding the marriage debate: while the Church's teaching is very clear, there are those who are content to deviate from this teaching and promote their own views - views which may in some circumstances be classified as formal heresy. [See Edward Peter's article linked below.] One example of this is a statement from Jesuit lecturer Fr. Frank Brennan, which suggests that it is appropriate for Catholics to support the  redefinition of marriage and that it may even be 'good for society.' [Click here to read his views.]

Published in Gender Mainstreaming

Brian Houston set an example to follow for many church leaders recently when he issued a media release outlining his teaching on Biblical marriage and encouragement for Christians to vote against its redefinition. He reiterated the literal interpretation of the Apostle Paul’s position on homosexuality, and called for respect from both sides for the other, clarifying that disagreement based in faith convictions is not bigotry. He encouraged Christians to participate in the voluntary vote, and to refuse to be the silent majority, in effect surrendering to aggressive voices seeking to dominate the future of our society. Christians are already being discomforted by cultural Marxism‘s advance in Australia. Just ask Tasmanian Archbishop Julian Porteous how free he feels to teach on marriage after being punished by the process of an anti-discrimination complaint against him for doing so. Ask Bernard Gaynor how free he feels to privately blog about the injustice and offense of Christian vilification and public indecency at the Homosexual Mardis Gras after the court ruled his employer could unjustly fire him for disagreeing with their workplace anti discrimination policies.

Published in Gender Mainstreaming

Australia is a multi-faith society. The 2016 Census shows that, while the mix of beliefs has changed over the years, Australia remains a pretty religious place. In the last census, nearly 70% of Australians self-identified as religious. The number of Australians who have self-identified as Christian in the census has fallen from 88.2% in 1966 to 52.1% in 2016. The number of Australians identifying as being of another religion has grown from 0.8% to 8.2%, with Islam (2.6%), Buddhism (2.4%) and Hinduism (1.9%) being the largest non-Christian faiths. The number who self-identified in the category of “no religion” has grown from 0.8% to 30.1%. This category includes having secular beliefs, other spiritual beliefs or having no religion. This makes it hard to be sure what these Australians believe.

Published in Religious Freedom
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 06:38

Let's You and Him Fight

There is a ‘game’ played by dysfunctional people and described by psychiatrist Dr Eric Berne in his capital little book, “The Games People Play”. People often disagree with one another. A protagonist with an ax to grind and a lack of moral, civil or mental sufficiency, sets her or his victim up against external overwhelming forces. They may disagree with the victim and have no cogent or legitimate argument so they call in the police with their ‘authority’ and a gun on their hips, and the Courts that have the full panoply of process and procedure, backed by Laws made by the complainant’s friends. The Laws, the legislators, the police become complicit in gross acts of indecency and bring that Law and authority and panoply into disrespect when they do not punish such dysfunctional protagonists. And they are complicit.

Published in Freedom of Speech
Tuesday, 26 July 2016 01:17

The West's War Against Faith and Freedom

The West developed largely as a result of the Judeo-Christian worldview, and it was known for centuries as the defender of free speech, as the defender of religious liberty, and as the defender of freedom of conscience, and so on. All that is unravelling right before our very eyes, and the West is quickly descending back into a new dark ages of repression and intolerance. It seems every time we open a newspaper or check out the evening news we have more cases of anti-Christian bigotry and the tolerance police in action.

Published in Religious Freedom