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Monday, 19 November 2018 15:22

12 More Consequences of Redefining Marriage

Just over a year ago, during Australia's debate about changing the millenia-old meaning of marriage, I wrote an article called, "55 Consequences of Redefining Marriage". Unlike most of my articles, which are read by only a few hundred people, this one has been read by over 12,000, with several thousand shares. This is evidence of just how concerned ordinary people are about homosexual unions being called 'marriage' and the massive repercussions that has for everyone. That article was a simple list of 55 examples of discriminatory laws, legal challenges, policies and persecutions taken from 13 countries where same-sex 'marriage' has been legalised. Now, twelve months on from that day when Australians learned that the majority of their conferes had voted to redefine marriage, it seems like a good time to revisit the topic. How many of those consequences have come to pass in this country? Were our fears unfounded?

Published in Religious Freedom
Monday, 19 November 2018 11:33

"White" on the new blacklist

A popular wedding magazine called “White” has announced today that it is closing down. The reason? The Christian publishers had been asked to carry articles featuring same sex weddings, and had politely declined to do so. The backlash on social media led to a number of advertisers withdrawing their custom, and some customers refusing to buy the magazine any more. In this post I want to comment on the legal issues around this incident, and another episode highlighted in the press today. A report in The Australian today notes the close of White magazine, and also the other episode involving someone in the “wedding industry”:

Published in Marriage

Trinity Western University, an evangelical tertiary institution in British Columbia, has lost two cases it had brought protesting the decision of two Canadian Provincial Law Societies to not authorise graduates of their proposed Law School as able to practice in the Provinces. The reason for the denial of accreditation was that TWU requires students and staff to agree to a Community Covenant Agreement, which undertakes (among other things) that they will not engage while studying or working at TWU in “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman”.

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
Wednesday, 14 March 2018 22:38

Signs of the Times

I think one of the issues with the recent revision of marriage is that many people found it hard to understand how the meaning of words can change change so quickly.

Words are seemingly increasingly fluid today - much like gender is regarded in certain circles. ‘Equality’ and ‘marriage’ were the two key words to undergo revision in 2017 in Australia, and it is no mistake that Yes groups connected these words in simple slogans with the overall aim of promoting ‘love’ to help stimulate revision.

Love is Love?

For example, take the University of Sydney advertising campaign in 2017 that was presumably linked in to the marriage debate: “Unlearn Love”.

The meaning could be taken several ways, but I am sure that the university was not saying that the love of two men is not love. I believe they were saying that married love is not what you always thought it was, and that now the new idea is to challenge the status quo and develop new ideas and ways of expression.

I always find it helpful in this new era of re-defining words to ask people when they say anyone can be married to ask them what marriage is and gently probe their response. Usually most people have a restriction on who can marry (not-with standing that most pro Yes Marriage voters would not have even been aware of the restrictions in Section 23 of the Marriage Act).

There is also a lack of definition when one probes the meaning of the word ‘love’ today. Perhaps defining ‘love’ is now too difficult or exclusionary? It is much easier to say, ‘Love is love’, and to sing about it than think about what it means. Perhaps those of us in the church could help the wider society learn more about the types of love mentioned in the bible? We need to be reminded of some of the hard sayings of Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5: 43-44)

   

Marriage and Gender

Newtown in inner-city Sydney was one of the few local areas that had a significant number of local businesses and groups involved in publicly supporting the Yes vote. Among hundreds of signs and slogans in Newtown, this sign about gender was the clearest in its revisionist context. The move away from the understanding of marriage as a natural biological union from which children are produced and nurtured centres marriage on a form of romantic love where individual fulfilment is the key to that love. Sameness is promoted rather than complementarity. It reminds me of the part in Seinfeld where Jerry in contemplating marriage realised what he was looking for all along – himself.

Ridicule of Belief

I am wondering if understanding of, or even basic awareness of the deepness of belief for people of faith could become increasingly rare in wider society? I know that Newtown is a rarefied context, but is the issue broader?

On the day of the marriage survey announcement a mural was proudly unveiled on the back of the Botany View Hotel in Newtown, Sydney.

Presumably the designer Scott Marsh had in mind an exemption from the Additional Safeguards Act that was in place during the marriage survey up until and including 15 November 2017, namely that part that mentioned “a communication communicated solely for genuine satirical, academic or artistic purposes; or” (Division 1, Subdivision A, Section 6, 4 (b) Marriage Law Survey Additional Safeguards Act 2017) as Marsh chose to celebrate the day by denigrating two prominent Catholic figures as well as the Catholic faith. Tony Abbot was illustrated wearing a bridal dress and tiara along with an allusion to performing a sexual act with the straw in the bottle of wine, as well as being depicted placing his hand down the pants of a buffed up Cardinal George Pell who was depicted as a lifeguard wearing a rainbow swimsuit. Not unexpectedly, this mural prompted considerable reaction. Within 24 hours the mural had been splashed with white paint and then later painted over with black paint, with some wording left (The Happy Ending). Groups representing differing viewpoints converged, including (mainly Maronite) Christians who wanted to pray and witness to their faith. This development led to a local police presence, albeit to ‘keep the peace’ between the different groups. In the days following people added to the black canvas with a wide range of insults, swearwords as well as blasphemous comments and praiseworthy comments about Jesus. This whole saga continued for several weeks, with regular blackening out, though by February 2018 the graffiti language decreased markedly as activists presumably have moved onto to other causes.

One intriguing aspect from some of my discussions around the area was that while people were very upset at the perceived ‘vandalism’ of the mural, some could not understand that the mural had been offensive in the first place.

 

True Rainbows

I have been able to capture some lovely images of natural rainbows in Newtown. One was in 2009, and one in February 2018. These rainbows always provide a measure of hope and help me to continue to reflect on a holy and living God, our creator and redeemer.

Published in Marriage
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 10:45

The Changing Face of Marriage

It is my pleasure to join a wonderful group to help Australians think about and hopefully challenge some of the trends in this seemingly modern society.

I thought I would start with some comments about marriage, given it was the dominant issue for public policy discussion in 2017 (even if most Australians did not realise the public policy implications).

It is sobering to reflect how quickly one of the fundamental aspects of marriage moved from ‘naturally assumed’ to incidental.

[A topic as broad as the one suggested by my title is of course far too much to do justice to in a short article. But I can highlight a few brief themes here. And let me try to tie in a few recent specifics (such as the war on marriage) with the overall bigger picture I have written often about the death of the West, and about how civilisations die. As I have repeatedly noted, it takes a long time to build a culture or civilisation, but their collapse can happen relatively quickly. We are now seeing this being played out in the West. Much of the West is the direct result of the Judeo-Christian worldview. Of course other earlier influences would include ancient Greece and Rome, and more recently, things such as the Enlightenment.

Friday, 10 November 2017 10:05

Our Surrender of Family Planning to God

In 1993 God began to speak to me about taking the Pill. I had been taking the mini-pill since D’s birth in 1983. I loved it - great contraception and the added bonus of no periods.

How secular was my thinking? No thought of God’s plan for my fertility.

Published in Contraception

For many, the link between contraception and abortion is clear: when the potential for babies is taken out of sexual activity, then pregnancy becomes an intrusion, an unintended consequence. It becomes something to be avoided at all costs – even if that cost includes taking a life. But sadly, that connection isn’t clear to every pro-life person – even to many Christians. This is the first in a series of testimonies by Christians who rejected artificial contraception because they were convicted by God to grow in faith and leave their fertility in His hands.

Published in Contraception
Monday, 09 October 2017 09:25

Marriage and History

The current marriage wars are so very odd for so many reasons. Until just recently the ideological left was vigorously insisting that marriage is just a piece of paper; that marriage is an oppressive and outdated institution; and that marriage is artificial – a relatively recent social construct. Today however the left in general and the homosexual activists in particular are demanding the right to marriage, claiming it is the most important thing there is. So which is it? Is it just a waste of time or is it a necessity? Of course we know the answer to this already. Marriage has never really been wanted by most homosexuals, and it is only the symbolic effect – plus the power and control that goes with it – that they seek through the redefinition – and thus destruction – of marriage. But all that I have documented in great detail elsewhere. But let me look more closely at just one of the charges thrown around by the marriage attackers – at least up until recently. The claim that marriage and family are relatively recent inventions – often claimed to have originated in the US in the 1950s! – deserves a response.

Published in Marriage
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