World swimming body FINA has levered podium protests at its Gwangju world championships as an opportunity to ban religious expression by competitors at all future FINA events.
The new Code of Conduct provision entitled “rules of conduct during the competition” was enacted after an alleged drug cheat was snubbed at two official FINA medal ceremonies.
The two new clauses, which could breach international human rights (ICCPR Article 18), effectively ban religious statements or behaviour “during competition” and appear to apply to all modes of communication, including social media.
The new code of conduct, according to News.com.au, reads: “The competitors shall actively participate in the full conduct of the competition including victory ceremonies and, if applicable, presentations and or press conferences”.
“They shall strictly avoid any offensive or improper behaviour towards the officials, the other competitors, the team members and/or the spectators during the entire conduct of the competition. Any political, religious or discriminatory statement or behaviour is strictly prohibited.”
According to FamilyVoice WA State Director Darryl Budge, these clauses are dangerously broad.
“Such clauses are so expansive that if Israel Folau agreed to similar terms in his Wallabies playing contract, Rugby Australia would have a much stronger case against him.
“A competitor or spectator might claim to have heard or seen a political or religious statement, even if it was not intentionally addressed to them, as in the case of social media. Alternatively, they may claim to possess a subjective, unverifiable feeling that the athlete’s behaviour was ‘offensive or improper’.
“Sporting competitions and teams have increasingly become platforms to exclude political and religious viewpoints and advocate solely for the claimed ‘righteousness’ of homosexual or transgender identity.”
Mr Budge comments about a recent American example.
“In a Folau-like case, Christian sportswoman Jaelene Hinkle reportedly rejected a place on the American national soccer team, because it would force her to wear a pro-LGBT rainbow jersey.
“The team coach is a lesbian, whose religious beliefs about LGBT values appear to be decidedly exclusionary against biblically-firm Christians.”
There are many more such cases of discrimination.
A Christian doctor in the UK is suing the government after he was sacked for refusing to refer to patients except by their obvious biological sex.
A UK school student who disputed his teacher’s claim that there are more than two genders has been banned from returning to the school.
UK social work student Felix Ngole recently won a three-year court battle, after being expelled in 2016 from the University of Sheffield for quoting Bible verses on Facebook.
Religious freedom is increasingly under threat, not only for Australian athletes, but all employees, all independent schools, charities and organisations with a religious mission.
As Australia is committed to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, our nation should treat freedom as a positive right and not regard it as a narrow exemption.
Texas has passed a law to protect religious businesses from government discrimination.
Senate Bill 1978 forbids any branch or agency of the Texas government, as well as lower jurisdictions, from taking any “adverse action” pertaining to any “grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, loan, scholarship, license, registration, accreditation, employment, or other similar status” on the basis of someone’s “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage.”
The law was dubbed the ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill after the famous American restaurant chain which has come under pressure for its refusal to toe the LGBT line.
The company has donated millions of dollars to groups which support man-woman marriage, angering social justice warriors.
Its president and chief operating officer also came under fire for warning of the consequences for America if the country embraced same-sex ‘marriage’.
And the San Antonio City Council even voted earlier this year to prevent the opening of a Chick-fil-A at the San Antonio International Airport because of the company’s opposition to LGBT ideology.
Texas governor Greg Abbott who recently signed the law said that Texas protects religious liberty.
“No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organization,” said Abbott.
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.”
If you believe Christians should be free to express their beliefs publicly, take action NOW!
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!
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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