Champion rugby player Israel Folau has had a tumultuous 19 months. In April last year on his personal Instagram account, he posted a blunt paraphrase of two verses in the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Christians in the Greek city of Corinth.
It was a grim warning to believers in that large and prosperous city, known for its temple prostitutes, drunkenness and promiscuity –a culture that may ring a few bells today.
But there is hope, as Paul goes on in verse 11: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Folau also offered hope. In his Instagram post, he said: “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”
Folau had warned of Hell. And all hell broke loose.
Adulterers, thieves, drunks, swindlers and slanderers weren’t upset. But his mention of homosexuality – men who have sex with men – was like a red rag to a bull.
Folau was the Wallabies’ best player. But Rugby Australia sacked him – for stating his sincere religious belief, affirmed in a book treated with honour in every Australian court room.
As you probably know, Folau appealed his unfair dismissal and later won a significant out-of-court settlement. But he soon had another battle on his hands.
Sydney gay activist Garry Burns, who has made hundreds of complaints to the NSW Anti‑Discrimination Board over the years, lodged one against Israel Folau last December.
Burns claimed that Folau’s post vilified homosexuals. The Board initially accepted his complaint, but later rejected it, saying he had failed to keep the matter confidential and had sent numerous inappropriate emails to Folau’s lawyers.
NSW Anti-Discrimination Board president Annabelle Bennett said Burns’ complaint was “vexatious” and “a flagrant abuse of process such that no further actions should be taken”.
But Garry Burns did not give up. In April he appealed to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Then last week there was good news.
On 18 November, the Tribunal rejected Mr Burns’ application. It found he was only doing it to get some funds to pay a $82,000 legal bill run up in another legal fight.
Tribunal chief Anne Britton said the “egregious nature of Mr Burns’ conduct” amounted to an abuse of process. He had sent “intemperate” emails to Folau’s legal team as well as disrespectful, intemperate and threatening emails to members of the Anti-Discrimination Board.
Israel Folau and others – including Bernard Gaynor, another victim of many Burns’ complaints – are praising God for this win.
We also give thanks for Mark Latham, whose campaign to reform the anti-discrimination complaint system has alerted other NSW MPs to the great injustices many people have suffered.
We pray that the Board and the Tribunal will continue to act with the wisdom they showed Mr Burns.
Peter Downie - National Director
The newly founded Australian Family Party is warning SA MPs that how they vote on abortion will impact preference allocations at the next state election.
The recently formed party has been established by Bob Day AO, who served as a senator for South Australia for the Family First party from 2014 – 2016.
South Australian MPs are currently debating the extreme Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020 which allows abortion up until birth.
“How Members vote on this Bill will be of crucial importance to the Australian Family Party when making preferencing decisions at the next State election,” wrote Australian Family Party Federal Director Bob Day AO to SA MPs.
Day says that the lack of a conservative party has caused the Liberal Party to move to the left on social issues.
“The reality is, that without an alternative Christian/Conservative Party to vote for, the Liberals now feel liberated to pursue all the so-called ‘progressive’ policies of the left-of-centre parties – late term abortion, exclusion zones around abortion clinics, prostitution reforms, euthanasia etc etc.”
The Australian Family Party opposes abortion, euthanasia and prostitution.
You may have heard of Dr Jereth Kok.
He was a hard-working and much-loved Melbourne Christian family doctor with a wife and two children.
Then last year, the Medical Board of Australia suspended him indefinitely. Two people – not his patients and unknown to him – had made anonymous complaints about his social media posts, along with an article in the Christian newspaper Eternity.
The Board took three months to investigate, paying people to trawl through years of his online articles and comments, before giving him less than a week to prepare his response.
Following his suspension, he appealed to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), but it upheld the Board’s decision.
His indefinite suspension means he cannot practise as a doctor. He has no income, and his patients must go elsewhere.
Last April, Toowoomba GP Dr David van Gend wrote about this extraordinary miscarriage of justice. Among other things, Dr Kok was accused of racism and “endorsing genocide” in a comment he posted on a Christian blog. In reality, he did the opposite. Dr van Gend said (in part):
Free speech is one thing; incitement to violence is another. If Melbourne GP Jereth Kok has used social media to endorse genocide, then the decision by the Medical Board of Australia to suspend his registration is justified. If he has done no such thing, then the Board has acted disgracefully, wrongfully defaming Dr Kok and destroying his medical career.
We can judge for ourselves which is the guilty party.
Below is the only post in which Dr Kok refers to genocide. Context is everything.
Kok is commenting in 2012 on an article by Christian social commentator Bill Muehlenberg entitled, “When Aid Money becomes Killing Money”. Muehlenberg objected to the Australian Labor Government joining other Western governments in funding abortions in poor countries.
He argued that “what we really have is coercive utopians from the West working overtime to decimate the populations of poor overseas nations” and quoted a pro-life leader from the US characterising such policies as “population control aimed at poor dark-skinned women”.
The staunchly pro-life Dr Kok posted this bitterly ironic comment:
Thanks to “family planning”, developed nations (Europe, Japan, North America) are in steep decline and are facing an impending financial and economic crisis that comes with an aged population.
See for example what is happening in Japan: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12296077
Soon, our civilisations will be vanquished, and the Earth will be overrun by Black people. The solution is clear: we must take “family planning” to poor countries and exterminate them before it is too late!
Anybody with a reading age above 12 can tell, in context, that this is irony – a rhetorical device by which Kok scorns the decadent West for exporting its culture of death to poor countries.
The Medical Board, however, asserts the exact opposite: that Dr Kok’s comment is an endorsement of genocide!
Incredibly, the VCAT agrees. Kok’s reputation and career are trashed.
The Medical Board of Australia has gravely defamed this GP and owes him an immediate apology.
Friends and church family have helped Dr Kok, but life is tough. He is facing trial on misconduct charges, and will need funds for legal expenses when that time comes.
Please pray for him – especially for guidance about other ways to support his family. And pray for others undergoing similar ordeals.
We are facing increasing persecution – but be strong and of good courage. God is still on the throne.
Peter Downie - National Director
Legislation to exclude people from within 150 metres of abortion facilities has passed in South Australia, preventing pro-life ministry and threatening the freedom to silently pray.
Last week the upper house of State Parliament approved Exclusion zone legislation in South Australia.
FamilyVoice Australia is disappointed but not surprised by the passage of legislation.
“Not only will this prevent simply expressing care and concern, but the very freedom to pray silently is now in the balance,” said FamilyVoice spokesman David d’Lima.
“Incredibly, efforts in the lower house to explicitly allow silent prayer were not successful,” he said.
“If anyone prays silently within 150 metres they may be charged under the legislation, and if the matter goes to court, the judge may well conclude Parliament deliberately declined to allow silent prayer and therefore it is not lawful,” he said.
“How pathetic that the state would intrude upon the heart and mind of people concerned only for the welfare of our most vulnerable.”
Hon Tammy Franks, who sponsored the bill’s passage in the upper house, claimed the legislation was needed in response to health workers and patients experiencing “harassment, intimidation, and threats while trying to access or provide abortion services”.
But in the absence of any significant problem, the legislation solves a problem that does not exist, David d’Lima said.
“Ms Franks is perhaps referring to the unease of conscience that occurs when staff or patients realise someone is praying for the unborn.”
“It is grossly hypocritical of MPs who commence each sitting day with prayer, but now deny that freedom to those seeking to promote life.
“Further, the legislation will prevent the provision of sensitive interaction with women and men attending abortion clinics.
“Without harassment, such life-affirming communication gives pause to a decision that may have been hastily considered, under pressure and in the absence of alternatives.”
A new party promoting family values has been established by former Family First senator Bob Day.
Day served as a senator for South Australia from 2014 to 2016.
“The nation has social and economic problems that it wants to solve and social and economic goals it wants to achieve, however looking to politicians, bureaucrats and regulators to solve these problems and achieve these goals is not going to work”, said Day.
Day said the world is changing profoundly, especially technologically, such that politicians, public sector bureaucrats and regulators are hopelessly ill-equipped to manage it.
“The internet has become the new wild west with power concentrated in the hands of tech giants who destroy competition and privacy and misuse the information they collect. Any suggestion these behemoths can be trusted to ‘act fairly’ is laughable.
“We cannot rely on politicians and public sector bureaucrats to protect us. There is only one institution which can combat the lawlessness of the digital jungle and its predators and that is the family. The family is the best place to learn who to trust and who not to trust; who to communicate with and who not to communicate with.
“As for personal freedoms– free to speak, free to believe and free to work, I have been championing these causes all my life”.
The Australian Family Party opposes abortion, euthanasia and prostitution.
“We believe in the right to life and are distressed at the killing of 100,000 unborn babies in Australia each year,” reads its policy on abortion.
“The Australian Family Party believes the lives of unborn children are precious and must be fought for. The unborn should be afforded all the rights of human beings, protected from terminations justified on economic, personal or psychological grounds.”
Rejecting euthanasia, the party says that it “does not provide the dignity its advocates claim”.
“Human beings are built to live and survive, and the deliberate ending of a life prematurely removes value and worth. Euthanasia is the wrong way to treat those who are old and sick.”
The party says it is committed to supporting palliative care and “supposed ‘safeguards’ for euthanasia legislation do not work”.
While it also holds that “legalising prostitution only promotes Australia as a sex trafficking destination.
FamilyVoice Australia upholds Christian values and the family: permanence of marriage, sanctity of human life, primacy of parenthood and limited government.
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