A Christian printer has won a significant victory in Poland, when a court last week overturned his conviction for refusing to print LGBT propaganda.
In a decision being hailed as a win for freedom of conscience, a Polish court ruled that a criminal conviction should not have been imposed on a Christian printer for refusing to print LGBT event materials.
After a lengthy legal battle, the court ruled that the law was unconstitutional because the penalty interfered with the printer’s right to conscience.
Paul Coleman, Executive Director of Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal advocacy organisation that protects fundamental freedoms, hailed the decision as a win for freedom of conscience.
Coleman said the decision will reaffirm the standard expected from other European countries on the protection of conscience rights for service providers.
“No one should be forced to choose between their profession and their faith”.
“This recent decision at the Constitutional Tribunal confirms this fundamental right to freedom of conscience and the right for individuals to live in accordance with what they believe,” Paul Coleman explained.
“Across Europe, an increasing number of citizens are facing an unacceptable choice. Either violate their conscience or face punishment from the state. This ranges from medical professionals to bakeries who are forced to decide between what they believe and their livelihood. They risk criminal charges, fines, damage to their reputation, and social discrimination”, he added.
By Caleb Stephen
The embattled athlete had an extraordinarily successful professional sporting career. He has played across three codes: Rugby Union, Rugby League and AFL. Folau is Super Rugby’s highest Australian all-time try scorer.
What follows is a brief breakdown of the events that led to Israel Folau being sacked for expressing Christian views.
On April 10 in an Instagram post, Folau warned a number of classes of sinners, including homosexuals, that if they did not repent, would end up in hell.
Folau in a church sermon also expressed concern about children “transitioning” gender.
“In today’s youths and everything, they are allowing young kids in primary school to be able to have the permission to change their gender if they want by taking away the permission of the parents,” Folau said.
“Now they are trying to take control as a government to make those decisions for young kids who are basically 16 years old or young, they don’t even know what they are doing.”
Folau has also spoken out against same-sex ‘marriage’.
“They say that a man and a man should be able to be married and there is nothing wrong with it,” he said.
“This buys into the theme of pleasing man rather than pleasing God and standing up for the truth.”
In May, Rugby Australia terminated Folau’s four year, $4 million contract for his comments on Instagram claiming that they were undermining “inclusivity.”
Folau has since launched legal action which, if successful, could bankrupt Rugby Australia.
This is not the first time Folau has been targeted for refusing to support the LGBTI status quo.
Last year the media roasted Folau over a response to a question on social media asking: “what was gods [sic] plan for gay people??”.
Folau responded: “HELL.. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God”.
In response to the post and the resulting heated controversy, Folau wrote a PlayersVoice piece saying he would not compromise his faith in Jesus Christ, citing it as “the cornerstone of every single thing in my life.”
In mid June, Folau setup a GoFundMe campaign asking people to donate to fight Rugby Australia, following the termination of his contract.
After a "period of evaluation", the site claimed Folau's campaign “violated” its terms of service citing its lack of toleration for the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.
Ironically, the prominent fundraising platform failed to justify its conspicuous discrimination of Folau due to his Christian beliefs.
GoFundMe’s termination of Folau’s fundraising campaign backfired. The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) subsequently set up its own fundraiser and reported donations had been “overwhelming” - reaching over $2 million in 48 hours.
The campaign was so successful that ACL froze donations to the heavily trafficked site due to reaching the fundraising target.
Folau wrote on the ACL website: “I have had the honour and the privilege of representing my country on the sporting field, for which I will be forever grateful.
“I am also a Christian. My faith is the most important thing in my life. I try to live my life according to the Bible and I believe it is my duty to share the word of the Bible.”
Folau’s controversial termination dispute with Rugby Australia appears headed for a showdown in the Federal Court after a failed mediation attempt between the two parties at the Fair Work Commission in June.
Folau’s lawyer George Haros, said: “We are disappointed that we were unable to reach a settlement with Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs through the Fair Work Commission, despite numerous good-faith discussions. We are now considering our options, which includes the possibility of court action.”
If Folau wins, it will set a precedent that would protect employees’ rights to express their beliefs publicly and lead to a narrowing of employment contracts clauses and also codes of conduct.
Interestingly, the Wallabies lost to the Springboks 35-17 in the Rugby Championship opener in Johannesburg, Saturday - Australia's first test match without Folau.
Ahead of the match days earlier, Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus told media that the Wallabies would be “less of a threat aerially without him [Folau].”
“I don’t know how influential he was as a leader but certainly I think we have a better chance in the aerial department. He is a great striker and finishes tries. He was the top-try scorer [in Super Rugby]. He is an influential player,” Erasmus said.
“There is no doubt they will miss Folau because he is a world-class player but they interchange positions no matter the number on their back.”
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A Christian doctor is suing the government after he was sacked for refusing to refer to patients except by their obvious biological sex.
Dr David Mackereth, a doctor with over two decades experience with the National Health Service, was dismissed by the Department for Work and Pensions on the grounds that refusing to call a patient by their preferred pronoun was “harassment” under the UK’s Equality Act.
However, the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which is representing Dr Mackareth, says that on the contrary it is the DWP that discriminated against Dr Mackareth.
They say that the doctor was discriminated against due to his “belief in the truth of the Bible, and in particular, the truth of Genesis 1:27: ‘So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.’ It follows that every person is created by God as either male or female. A person cannot change their sex/gender at will. Any attempt at, or pretence of, doing so, is pointless, self-destructive, and sinful.”
The CLC says that the DWP was in the wrong for coercing staff to use “transgender pronouns” against their freedom of though, conscience and religion.
Christian Concern reports that:
With 26 years’ experience working for the NHS, Dr Mackereth began assessing clients for the DWP as a Health and Disability Assessor in June 2018. After undergoing intensive training, his role was to assess individual cases and prepare reports which the DWP use to determine a client’s eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance.
Yet. After only a few days into the new role, he was summoned for an urgent meeting with James Owen from the APM employment agency which had successfully head-hunted Dr Mackereth for the role. Mr Owen was concerned about a sceptical comment Dr Mackereth made during an earlier training session, where he was told that his report must refer to clients by such pronouns as they may choose, regardless of their biological sex.
Mr Owen allegedly put the following question to Dr Mackereth: “What would you do if you were to assess someone who is obviously a man but asks to be referred to as ‘she’ or ‘Missis’ in the report?” Dr Mackereth replied that as a Christian, he could not accede to such a request in good conscience. He was then suspended.
“We are not allowed to think what we believe”
Mr Owen wrote twice to Dr Mackereth asking him “one final time” whether he would comply with the DWP’s requirements. However, Dr Mackereth replied:
“I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He made all things including/especially mankind. We read that He made them “male and female” (Genesis chapter 1 verse 27.)
“In good conscience I believe that gender is determined by biology and genetics, and I see no reason to be in any way ashamed of that.
A week later Dr Mackereth was sacked.
“I am determined to fight for justice in this case”, said Dr Mackereth.
“Firstly, as a society and in the medical profession, we are not allowed to say what we believe. Secondly, as my case shows, we are not allowed to think what we believe. Finally, we are not allowed to defend what we believe.
“Christians must be able to hold and express their faith in private and public and to uphold Biblical and scientific truths without fear of losing their livelihoods", he said.
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said that Dr Mackereth is a “Christian hero who chose to sacrifice his distinguished professional career rather than compromise on the Bible and his conscience.”
“The requirement to use so-called transgender pronouns defies common sense and Christian faith."
“It serves no useful purpose except filtering out firm Christians and men of principle such as Dr Mackereth.
“We are determined to fight all the way to secure justice in this case. If freedom to tell the truth – in this case calling a man “he” and a woman “she” – is suppressed, then truth itself is suppressed”, said Williams.
If you believe Christians should be free to express their beliefs publicly, take action NOW!
Mental health and suicide prevention services are key priorities of the Government, says Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Suicide takes far too many Australians, devastating families and local communities.
“One life lost to suicide is one too many, which is why my Government is working towards a zero suicide goal,” said the Prime Minister.
As part of the initiative, the PM has appointed Christine Morgan as the new National Suicide Prevention Adviser.
“Ms Morgan will work with my Department and the Minister for Health to drive a whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention, while ensuring prevention services reach Australians that need them and communities are supported,” he said.
The Prime Minster recently addressed the issue in prayer at the Hillsong conference in Sydney.
“Lord, we pray for all of those veterans in our country who are doing it tough,”
“We pray for young people who think about suicide and we pray Lord that you will break the curse of suicide.
“We proclaim it with veterans, we proclaim it with young people, we proclaim it with middle age people going through difficult trials, people suffering from mental health, we pray for remote Indigenous communities, young boys and girls … and we pray for all those families who live with disabilities … we pray you will give them peace and an avalanche of love.
“Lord, we pray for our country and thank you for it. But more than anything else, we thank you for Jesus and his love.”
FamilyVoice Australia National Director Charles Newington praised the move.
“It’s wonderful to see Mr Morrison’s personal interest in these two fields of pain and trauma and his determination to see real change,” Mr Newington said.
“We especially appreciate the recognition of the impact of mental health concerns and suicide upon the natural families of sufferers. We urge the government to ensure that family support be factored into the response.
“The Prime Minister’s prayer over these issues at the Hillsong conference is also very welcome. His example helps people to realise that being a believer is normal and every bit as natural as choosing not to believe in God,” he said.
Addressing 20,000 Christians at the Sydney conference over the weekend, Mr Morrison stated: “I speak about my faith… because I want everyone in this place to feel comfortable about talking about their faith in this country. It’s not a political agenda, it’s just who we are.”
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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