You may have been among the many who watched our FamilyVoice webinar with Bernard Gaynor, hosted by Greg Bondar and David d’Lima on 21 September.
Bernard’s story is compelling.
He is a committed Christian and conservative Catholic who has more courage than most of us. Speaking up for the values Aussie soldiers fought for in two world wars has cost him his Army Reserve job and his house, but he has not given up.
Bernard served fulltime in the Australian Army from 1999 to 2012, when he joined the Army Reserve with the rank of Major.
He was deployed three times to Iraq, where he worked in military intelligence using his extensive knowledge of Arabic language and culture. He was awarded the United States Meritorious Service Medal for his Iraq service.
He is also a married father of eight children. He is an advocate for:
One of the first things Bernard did during the September webinar was to express his appreciation for FamilyVoice Australia, who stood by him during his trials and persecution that began in 2013.
“FamilyVoice is one of the few conservative associations in Australia to publicly support me,” he said.
“What has been happening in this country – the home of the ANZACs – is insane. It is madness, spiralling out of control, to think that people are being dragged into court merely for opposing same-sex marriage.
“But I bring a message of hope,” he said. “God exists and God is good. There is deep happiness that comes from helping others to do the right thing. Never lose hope that God and goodness will prevail.
“Bernard Gaynor is weak. If it were up to me, I would have fallen at the first hurdle. But like the Apostle Paul, I glory in my weakness because it shows God’s power,” he said.
This short video of Bernard and his wife Elle was filmed in 2017, before the postal vote on same-sex marriage. It explains why Bernard, a respected member of the Australian Defence Force, had been sacked. Not because he was incompetent – he had performed well. Not for breaching orders, policies or disciplinary requirements – he had at all times acted respectfully with other members of the Defence Force.
But a letter from the Chief of the Defence Force informed him that despite his excellent service, he was being dismissed from the Army because of his views on marriage and family. Even though they were expressed in Bernard’s own time and in a private capacity, his views – including how he wanted his children educated – were “contrary to cultural change within the Defence Force”.
“I had expressed concern that Defence had marched publicly in the Gay Mardi Gras,” Bernard said, “along with groups campaigning for same-sex marriage.
“I pointed out that this was contrary to orders prohibiting uniformed attendance at events of a political nature, and policies against religious vilification. That’s why I was sacked.
“Along the way, I was told I could not even speak about things like the Safe Schools program.”
Bernard’s dismissal was only the beginning of his troubles. Despite living in Brisbane, he has been the subject of no fewer than 37 complaints by Sydney homosexual activist Garry Burns.
No complaint has been substantiated, but the cost of proving his innocence meant he had to sell his home in 2017 to pay for $500,000 in legal bills.
The High Court found that the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board had no power to deal with complaints against people from interstate – whereupon the NSW government promptly changed the law.
Bernard will need to go back to the High Court, but the good news is that Garry Burns is now bankrupt. Moreover, NSW One Nation MP Mark Latham – former federal Labor leader – has defended Bernard in the NSW parliament.
Bernard is grateful for the prayers and financial help he has received from many Christians and others who support freedom of speech.
You can find out more about him on his website.
Above all, he would value your prayers.
Peter Downie - National Director
President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court.
Barrett, a Catholic, will replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died recently.
Judge Barrett has seven children. Two are children adopted from Haiti and one has Down syndrome.
Democrats have made it clear that they will oppose Barrett, although given they do not have the numbers in the Republican-controlled Senate, it may change little.
It has been reported that Barrett’s appointment will create a 6-3 conservative majority on the court.
“Any nominee should be an originalist with a public record demonstrating deep commitment to protecting Americans’ constitutional freedoms, including religious freedom and free speech for all,” said Alliance Defending Freedom President and CEO Michael Farris.
Farris said that Judge Barrett has an encouraging record of advocating for constitutional freedoms,
“[She] has repeatedly stated her commitment to decide cases based on law and not on personal opinion.”
“President Trump could not have made a better decision,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said that Barrett is another great Supreme Court pick by President Trump
“Amy Coney Barrett is an impeccable jurist and an extraordinarily thoughtful, principled woman committed to our Constitution—and a New Orleans native! She deserves a swift, fair Senate process focused on her qualifications,” said Scalise.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said that “Judge Barrett is highly qualified in all the areas that matter – character, integrity, intellect, and judicial disposition.”
Pro-life advocates have been encouraged by the announcement and are hoping that it may signal the end of Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision finding a “right” to abortion.
“I am thrilled with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett”, said pro-life activist and former Planned Parenthood abortion centre manager Abby Johnson.
“For those who plan to make Barrett’s faith a matter of disqualification, that line of attack is not only inappropriate and bigoted, but bases the nominee’s entire judicial career on everything but her merits and solid qualifications for the position.”
Johnson said that this is “the moment that the pro-life movement and those who hold all life to be dear and treasured have been waiting for”.
The Judiciary Committee hearings into the appointment of Barrett will commence October 12.
A bill to create censorship zones around abortion centres has passed the SA Parliament’s lower house.
The legislation will now head to the upper house.
Minister David Speirs, who moved a silent prayer amendment, laid out his reasons for doing so:
“We have heard in the debate, both in this place and in the public domain via the media, both the print media and radio in recent days, that this proposed legislation will not prohibit people from silently and peacefully undertaking the activity of prayer close to a facility where abortions might be taking place,” said Minister David Speirs.
“This house has been assured of that. We heard that from the Attorney-General earlier this morning, and it is her firm view that people would not be prevented from undertaking silent prayer as a consequence of this amendment bill.
“If that is the case, I would ask the parliament to provide clarity, to provide certainty, by codifying the ability to undertake the activity of silent prayer within the proximity of these places,” Speirs added.
Unfortunately, Minister Speirs’ amendment to expressly allow for silent prayer in the censorship zones was defeated 24-20.
MPs in support of the Silent Prayer amendment:
Brown, M.E. Cowdrey, M.J. Cregan, D. Duluk, S. Ellis, F.J. Harvey, R.M. Knoll, S.K. Koutsantonis, A. Luethen, P. Murray, S. Patterson, S.J.R. Pederick, A.S. Piccolo, A. Power, C. Sanderson, R. Speirs, D.J. (teller) Tarzia, V.A. van Holst Pellekaan, D.C. Whetstone, T.J. Wingard, C.L.
MPs opposed to the Silent Prayer amendment:
Basham, D.K.B. Bedford, F.E. Bell, T.S. Bettison, Z.L. Bignell, L.W.K. Boyer, B.I. Brock, G.G. Chapman, V.A. Close, S.E. Cook, N.F. (teller) Gardner, J.A.W. Hildyard, K.A. Malinauskas, P. Marshall, S.S. McBride, N. Michaels, A. Mullighan, S.C. Odenwalder, L.K. Picton, C.J. Pisoni, D.G. Stinson, J.M. Szakacs, J.K. Teague, J.B. Wortley, D.
Queensland LNP Senator Amanda Stoker often shares our concerns on issues relating to family, faith and freedom. So this week I thought I should share her warnings about new “anti-conversion” laws in Australia.
These laws were recently passed in Queensland and the ACT. The Victorian government is going down the same path, and other states could follow.
Most Australians have no idea about what has happened. There has been very little information in the media, so Senator Stoker’s comments need to be shared widely. Here is what she said in an email to supporters on 7 September:
Right on the back of new laws in Queensland, the rights of parents, teachers, psychologists and doctors were dealt a damaging blow with the passing of anti-conversion therapy laws in the ACT.
Nobody is advocating for archaic, harmful treatments, and indeed I and my colleagues are opposed to such practices.
But these laws go much further than simply doing this.
They potentially inflict criminal penalties on anyone just trying to provide care and support, particularly to young people, who are struggling with the difficult questions associated with gender identity.
Such laws strip parents of their responsibility and indeed their duty to raise and socialise their children to cope with the world around them.
Families need to be able to talk openly, freely, lovingly without fear of legal repercussions.
And our medical professionals need to be able to provide valid, clinical care in the best interests of their patients, rather than being compelled to simply lock patients into an affirmative model that remains medically controversial. This law criminalises the open scientific discussion that leads to improvements in clinical care – which can only harm people struggling with gender dysphoria.
Even the ACT Law Society has voiced its concerns about the vagueness of the laws, particularly around what exactly constitutes illegality under the legislation.
Similar laws introduced in Queensland a fortnight ago are not quite as far-reaching, but have medical professionals in the state equally concerned.
We must continue to be vigilant and call out these extreme ideological laws being passed under the pretence of “care” for our vulnerable young people.
I couldn’t have put it better myself. Please pray that more MPs like Senator Stoker will speak out against harmful, unjust laws like these.
Peter Downie - National Director
The Australian Medical Association has come out in opposition to a proposed Tasmanian euthanasia bill.
Dr Helen McArdle, President of the Australian Medical Association in Tasmania, said the group is concerned about several parts of the so-called Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.
“It is long and confusing, seems to have been developed on the run, comprises 160 pages much of which we found difficult to understand and many points that seem contradictory,” said Dr McArdle.
“The definition of relevant medical condition is vague and, unlike other states, does not include timeframes in which death is likely. It allows for the relevant condition to be combined with other conditions.
“Therefore, a patient with diabetes, which if untreated, is likely to cause a person’s death combined with arthritis and mild depression would qualify a person to apply for VAD,” she added.
Dr McArdle said that doctors have an ethical duty to care for dying patients so death can occur with comfort and dignity.
“They have a responsibility to initiate and provide good quality end of life care which strives to ensure a dying patient is as free from pain and suffering as possible and upholds the patient’s values and goals of care,” she said
“For most patients, pain and other causes of suffering can be alleviated through good care, including palliative care that focuses on symptom relief, prevention of suffering and improvement of quality of life.”
Dr McArdle said that despite pressure the legislature may feel to pass the bill, “bad legislation remains bad legislation” and that “it is particularly dangerous when it involves life and death”.
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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