The popular pro-life movie Unplanned recently gained three nominations for the 28th Annual MovieGuide awards in the USA, but every reference to the film was cut by cable channel Hallmark Drama in its televised coverage of the awards ceremony, in late February.
MovieGuide had recognised Unplanned as one the Best Movies for Mature Audiences and it received acclaim when screened last year by FamilyVoice Australia and other pro-life groups.
But its favourable mention during the MovieGuide awards was unplanned by Hallmark Drama, which censored any mention of the film in its cable broadcast of the event.
Unplanned received nominations for the Faith & Freedom Award as well as Best Movie for Mature Audiences, while the film’s star actor Ms Ashley Bratcher gained nomination for the Grace Award for most inspiring performance in a film.
“As many of you know, Unplanned was up for a couple of MovieGuide awards,” Ms Bratcher posted recently on Facebook.
“Hallmark has completely scrubbed us from the entire show. We were the only nominees who were not recognized. This is completely unacceptable,” she wrote.
Ashley Bratcher used her Facebook post to share the speech she gave at the awards ceremony.
“It’s all glory to God and if no one remembers our names when this is over, please remember this: God is so real. He loves you so much. He has a plan for your life. Life is precious. And to every woman facing a crisis situation please know that you can be successful and be a mother, and that children will enrich your life along the way,” she said.
The action by Hallmark has prompted criticism from FamilyVoice spokesman David d’Lima, who helped promote the film to Australian audiences.
“Pro-abortion elements in the media make much about freedom of expression and the right to choose, but only when it fits their politically-correct worldview,” he said.
“Thank God for the relative freedom provided by social media platforms to by-pass the mainstream media bias.”
Commonwealth Day on Monday 9th March is fast approaching, and along with it comes the opportunity for parents and grandparents to help children in places such as Australia to appreciate our kinship within the Commonwealth of nations, which is the greatest family of countries in world history.
Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the second Monday in March each year, within 54 diverse countries consisting of a remarkable two billion people. They are connected by the shared values of democracy and the virtues of enlightened human rights, covered by a covenant of goodwill.
Member nations enjoy shared basic values under the rule of law; they agree to never go to war against any other Commonwealth country; each member nation recognises Queen Elizabeth as Head of the association and must utilise the English language for Commonwealth communications.
Unfortunately, Commonwealth Day is largely ignored in our nation - although it happily coincides with several public holidays: Adelaide Cup Day in South Australia, Labour Day in Victoria, Eight-hour Day in Tasmania and Canberra Day in the Australian Capital Territory.
Perhaps the more recently admitted nations have better reason to celebrate their membership within the Commonwealth family, after achieving the democratic and human rights reforms we take for granted in Australia. Such achievements do not grow on a tree or somehow arise spontaneously. They are the result of considerable struggle and warrant careful protection and nurture.
Such developments make for progress, peace, prosperity, happy international trading and cultural exchange. Member nations also enjoy the benefits of Commonwealth projects, encouraged by groups including the Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship, and the Royal Commonwealth Society. Member nations enjoy the right to compete in the Commonwealth Games.
Regrettably, the nations of Fiji, Pakistan and Nigeria have at times seen their Commonwealth membership suspended, owing to anti-democratic and roguish behaviour. Their experience provides a salutary warning that with privilege comes responsibility. Zimbabwe unfortunately quit the family after a brief suspension but is now seeking re-admission.
As we think about the value of our Commonwealth of Nations, led by Queen Elizabeth, we may reflect on the Christian promises Her Majesty made at the Coronation and consider how valuable an asset are our civic arrangements under the Crown.
We may be sure that it remains Her Majesty’s wish, as it should be of every good Christian, that all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him (Psalm 22:27).
There is much to think about and share with family members on Monday.
US Attorney General William Barr has blamed “totalitarian democracy” and a “collectivist agenda” for driving faith from public discourse.
In a speech to the 2020 National Religious Broadcasters Convention, Barr said while the founders of the Constitution believed that religion and government should be separate, they also firmly believed “religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government”.
Barr said today’s political divisions come from the conflict between two fundamentally different visions of how society should be governed.
“One vision undergirds the political system we call liberal democracy, which limits government and gives priority to preserving personal liberty. The other vision propels a form of totalitarian democracy, which seeks to submerge the individual in a collectivist agenda. It subverts individual freedom in favor of elite conceptions about what best serves the collective,” he said.
“Totalitarian democracy is based on the idea that man is naturally good, but has been corrupted by existing societal customs, conventions, and institutions. The path to perfection is to tear down these artifices and restore human society to its natural condition.”
Barr said totalitarian democracy is almost always secular and materialistic. Its adherents tend to treat politics as a substitute for religion.
“Their sacred mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society according to an abstract ideal of perfection. The virtue of any individual is defined by whether they are aligned with the program. Whatever means used are justified because, by definition, they will quicken the pace of mankind’s progress toward perfection.”
Barr said experience teaches us that moral values must be based on an authority independent of man’s will to be effective.
“In other words, they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being. Men are far likelier to obey rules that come from God than to abide by the abstract outcome of an ad hoc utilitarian calculus.”
Barr said the US mainstream media has become massively consolidated and monolithic in its views.
An increasing number of journalists see themselves less as objective reporters of the facts, and more as agents of change, he said.
“These developments have given the press an unprecedented ability to mobilise a broad segment of the public on a national scale and direct that opinion.”
Barr said the key to fixing the problem is a greater diversity of voices in the media.
“I am actually an optimist, and I believe that identifying the problem is the first step in correcting it. Our nation’s greatest days lie ahead, but only if we can alter our course and pay heed to the lessons of the past.”
Evangelist Franklin Graham is suing several venues in the UK that have cancelled his forthcoming gospel events.
According to a Christian Post report, all eight venues in the ministry tour have taken offence at his views on homosexuality, allegedly due to pressure from LGBT activist groups.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association responded by launching proceedings against the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield and ICC Wales in the South Wales city of Newport.
All eight venues booked by for the UK tour have cancelled their contract.
A spokesperson for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said the cancelations had “alarming” implications for free speech and religious freedom.
“BGEA’s position remains that in nearly 70 years of public evangelistic outreach ministry, there is no evidence whatsoever that any BGEA event involving Franklin Graham has ever caused a danger to public safety or incited public disorder,” he said.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have wished Ash Wednesday observers “a peaceful and prayerful day”.
“For Catholics and many other Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season that concludes with the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday,” President Trump said in a statement.
“Today, millions of Christians will be marked on their foreheads with the sign of the cross.
“The imposition of ashes is an invitation to spend time during Lent fasting, praying, and engaging in acts of charity. This powerful and sacred tradition reminds us of our shared mortality, Christ’s saving love, and the need to repent and accept the Gospel more fully.”
Trump said he and the First Lady join in prayer with everyone observing this holy day and wish observers a prayerful Lenten journey.
“May you grow closer to God in your faith during this blessed season,” the President said.
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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