Pro-family groups are celebrating a rare breakthrough in the fight against pornography, following the news that an Australian parliamentary inquiry has recommended protecting children from exposure to hard-core websites by mandating age verification among users.
“A number of concerned groups have long campaigned to protect Australian children, and we thank God for this development,” said FamilyVoice spokesman David d’Lima.
“We fully expect Australia will follow the example of the UK which is working towards shielding children from exposure to pornography.
“The abuse of children by their peers in schools and kindergartens is directly related to seeing hard-core websites, and this must be stopped,” he said.
David d’Lima expressed thanks to FamilyVoice supporters and allied groups who have firmly and persistently urged the federal government to protect the children of Australia.
“The prayerful and active ministry of Christians as salt and light can achieve powerful outcomes as we take seriously our vocation as God’s people,” he said.
The US Department of Justice is advocating for a persecuted Christian photographer, supporting her legal action against a law that requires her to cover same-sex weddings.
The intervention by a Federal Department followed strident action by Christian photographer Chelsey Nelson who is suing the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government and is seeking a preliminary injunction against the application of the law which denies freedom of conscience.
In a remarkable show of support, the federal Department of Justice has filed a Statement of Interest in support of her action.
“The First Amendment forbids the government from forcing someone to speak in a manner that violates individual conscience,” said Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“The US Department of Justice will continue to protect the right of all persons to exercise their constitutional right to speech and expression.”
The Department’s brief explains that Ms Nelson is likely to succeed on her Free Speech claim.
The brief explains that the Free Speech Clause prohibits governments from requiring people to engage in speech supporting or promoting someone else’s expressive event (such as a same-sex wedding ceremony).
The Department said weddings are “sacred rites in the religious realm and profoundly symbolic ceremonies in the secular one,” and thus are plainly “expressive activities” under the Supreme Court’s Free Speech cases.
The brief also points out photography is an expressive art form, and wedding photography in particular seeks to celebrate and honor the union being photographed. Forcing a photographer, against her conscience, to express her support for a wedding that her faith opposes violates the Constitution.
Legislation to liberalise abortion in New Zealand soundly passed the second reading stage earlier today, in a move that attracted scathing criticism from pro-life parliamentarian Agnes Loheni.
The National Party MP told Parliament the bill would dehumanise the unborn, "to the point that we no longer call them babies".
In her emotional contribution, Ms Loheni warned about the importance of human identity - that would be undermined if the bill becomes law.
"Then we have lost our own humanity ... because they are the smallest versions of us," she said.
Ms Loheni criticised any appeal to "overall wellbeing" that would justify abortion.
The bill would scrap the necessity of two doctors approving abortion on physical or mental health grounds for abortion up to 20 week’s gestation. Women themselves would make the decision to end the life of the unborn during that time-frame.
Her speech provoked thunderous applause from the public gallery, prompting Speaker Trevor Mallard to warn visitors against seeking to “intervene”.
Labour Party MP Greg O'Connor supported the bill at the first reading because he hoped Parliament would make the bill more acceptable.
O'Connor, who has an intellectually disabled 27-year-old son, warned about the proposal adding greater pressure to parents to abort.
"What this post-20 weeks legislation will mean is that parents who do find out they have a child who may not be normal, who may be a child who isn't what they hoped the child might be, all of a sudden a whole new set of pressures are going to go on as a result of this legislation. "
The bill would entirely remove the legal test for terminations before 20 weeks, creating abortion-on-demand.
It would also scrap the post-20-week legal test that abortion is allowed only to save the woman's life or prevent serious injury.
Instead, the bill would empower two health practitioners to lawfully approve the killing of an unborn baby as ‘appropriate’, having regard to the mother's physical and mental health and "overall wellbeing".
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.
FamilyVoice Australia upholds Christian values and the family: permanence of marriage, sanctity of human life, primacy of parenthood and limited government.
Don't miss out on quality research and news that will equip you to face the culture wars.
Join the growing movement of young people daring to be counter-cultural.