ACL compiles a daily media monitoring service of stories of interest to the Christian constituency relating to children, family, drugs and alcohol, marriage, human rights, religious freedom etc. Visit the ACL’s website each day to see what’s of interest in the news. Please note that selection of the articles does not represent ACL endorsement of the content.



 





Abortion

Pope’s last addresses call on Catholics to stay strong on marriage, abortion, eugenics, euthanasia


Hilary White - LifeSiteNews





It was an emotional day at the Vatican as Pope Benedict XVI, in two of his last public addresses, called again on Christians to continue to defend the lives of innocent unborn and vulnerable people and to uphold the sanctity of natural marriage. In this morning’s regular Wednesday general audience he warned that Christians will face great pressure to give up their commitments.
























Children & Family

Lessons in child abuse deaths: report


Miranda Forster - AAP





A baby won't stop crying despite repeated attempts to soothe him. His frustrated mother finally snaps and hits the infant on the head before shaking him violently. The child's brain is severely damaged and he dies several months later. This was one of 16 cases of fatal child abuse and neglect examined in a new Queensland report by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian.
















Classification

Queensland to debate laws introducing R18+ classification for computer games


Robyn Ironside - The Courier-Mail





Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has apologised to State Parliament for announcing new computer game classification laws had passed, while they were still being debated. The parliament is expected to pass the legislation on Thursday night, bringing Queensland into line with the rest of the country in allowing a new R18+ classification for certain computer games.










Unbanned: Mortal Kombat approved for R18+ rating

Joe Sassine - news.com.au





A game previously banned twice in Australia has received clearance from the classification board. Fighting game Mortal Kombat, known for its stylised violence, received an R18+ rating after being refused classification on two occasions. According to the Australian Classification website, the game contains high impact violence, blood and gore.














Education

Vic teacher action to continue over pay


Melissa Iaria, Sarah Malik and Charisse Ede - Brisbane Times





More disruption is set to affect Victoria's schools with teachers voting to continue their industrial campaign, while the government says progress is being made on a pay deal. Hundreds of schools were closed on Thursday due to a 24-hour strike as an estimated 10,000 teachers and school staff decked out in red attended a rally in Melbourne before marching to Parliament House.


















Gambling

Asian gangs at centre of football corruption scandal


Kate Arnott - Newsline





Match fixing in football is increasingly prevalent in Asia, where lax betting regulations coupled with the sheer scale of its gambling market make it an extremely attractive place for criminal gangs, according to sports integrity experts. The fixing of football matches - or soccer as it's known in Australia and the United States - has been around for decades, but some experts warn it's now endemic worldwide.
















Health

Married people have better mental and physical health


Medical Net





Research shows that married people have better mental and physical health than their unmarried peers and are less likely to develop chronic conditions than their widowed or divorced counterparts. A University of Missouri expert says that people who have happy marriages are more likely to rate their health as better as they age; aging adults whose physical health is declining could especially benefit from improving their marriages. Christine Proulx, an assistant professor in the MU Department of Human Development and Family Studies, examined the long-term relationship between self-rated health and marital quality.


















Marriage

Byron mayor vows to "lead the charge" for gay marriage


Sue Gardiner - Northern Star





Mayor Simon Richardson wants Byron Shire to "lead the charge" for marriage equality in Australia and is even considering producing symbolic marriage certificates that he could present at ceremonies for same sex couples Cr Richardson is preparing a notice of motion to place on record the shire's support for marriage equality and is looking for more ideas, "both symbolic and substantial to add weight to this". A marriage registry in Byron Shire for gay couples and handing out a tree to them on their union to plant in a "love park", are some of the ideas that he's already considering.










Same-sex advocates deliver MPs roses

David Beniuk - AAP





Same-sex marriage advocates have delivered Valentine's Day roses to Tasmanian upper house members who voted against their cause last year. Couples gathered at Parliament House in Hobart to deliver red roses to the eight members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) who defeated the historic bill 8-6 in September. Legislative Council elections in May mean three members opposed to the move will be fighting for their seats.












Associated Press bans the use of 'husband' and 'wife' to describe people in civil unions and same-sex marriages

Daily Mail





The Associated Press is under fire by gay rights groups after the wire agency released a memo directing its reporters to refer to legally wed homosexual couples as 'partners' rather than 'husbands' or 'wives.' 'We were asked how to report about same-sex couples who call themselves "husband" and "wife,"' the memo states. 'Our view is that such terms may be used in AP stories with attribution. Generally AP uses couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages.'


















Politics

By-election threat to test PM's leadership


Andrew Carswell and Gemma Jones - The Daily Telegraph





The government could be pressured into a by-election, with Labor MP Robert McClelland planning to quit his Sydney seat within weeks. The former federal attorney-general is likely to win a job with the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to argue the resignation would be too close to the September 14 election date for a by-election to be necessary, further fuelling speculation the poll decision was simply a strategy to defend that position. Labor holds the southern Sydney seat by 6.9 per cent but the party would almost certainly lose a by-election.














Ban on ACT Legislative Assembly religious services passed

Lisa Cox - Canberra Times





ACT Labor and Greens MLAs have used their numbers to ban the Legislative Assembly from being associated with religious services. In an ugly debate in the Assembly chamber on Thursday, MLAs from both major parties accused each other of “extreme” behaviour while debating a motion brought forward by Attorney General Simon Corbell. Mr Corbell tabled the motion to ban the Assembly from being affiliated with religious services following Speaker Vicki Dunne’s controversial church service on Monday.












The Melbourne microcosm: how one seat may define the Green v Labor fight

Narelle Miragliotta - The Conversation





The battle for the seat of Melbourne at this year’s federal election will be nothing short of a bruising affair. Melbourne is of enormous symbolic importance to both Labor and the Green Party. For Labor, the Melbourne contest is emblematic of its struggle to contain its increasingly fragmented base of support. Formerly a safe working class seat, Melbourne is now home to a growing number of affluent left-leaning voters. A failure to regain the seat will be widely interpreted as a sign that the party is losing the battle to find common ground between its progressive and more traditional working class constituencies.


























Religious Freedom & Persecution

Indonesia church officials face violence, jail time for conducting services


Rebecca Lake - Jakarta Globe





The wife of a church minister who was jailed two weeks ago for allegedly conducting a service without a permit also faces arrest for defying an order from local authorities to stop holding services at a church in Sumedang, West Java. Minister Bernhard Maukar and his wife, Corry, were holding a service at their Pentecostal church in Mekargalih village, Jatinangor subdistrict, on Jan. 27, when it was attacked by members of the Islamic Defenders Front, who claimed that the church did not have a valid permit to operate.












Indonesia: Two more churches hit in Makassar molotov cocktail attacks

Farouk Arnaz - Jakarta Globe





Police in Makassar, South Sulawesi, are standing guard outside churches after would-be arsonists hit two more churches in a second wave of attacks early Thursday morning. Unknown assailants hurled homemade molotov cocktails at the South Sulawesi Indonesian Christian Church and the Toraja Klassis Makassar Church Panakkukang Congregation in a pair of coordinated 4 a.m. attacks. Both churches suffered fire damage in the attempted firebombings, police said.










Alleged kidnapper threatens family of Christian girl in Pakistan

Morning Star News





A powerful Pakistani politician’s aid who abducted a Christian girl from her home in Karachi has warned her parents that the same fate awaits their other daughters unless they drop charges against him and leave the city, the family said. Khursheed Bibi told Morning Star News that Ghaji Khan, a close aide of Sindh Provincial Minister for Local Government Agha Siraj Durrani, had abducted 15-year-old Asma Masih from their house on Dec. 10 and forced her to marry him and convert to Islam. Authorities have refused to take Khan into custody in spite of court orders to arrest him, according to the family.










Sexualisation of Society

Separating art from pornography


Andrew Bolt - The Advertiser





In a world rife with pedophiles and sexual predators, we have to take care at times how we present art that so it is not seen as pornography, says Andrew Bolt. FIRST, a news item for the art lovers now staring at the bare breasts of model Kate Moss, photographed when she was just 15. "A serial Melbourne sex offender faces more jail time for preying on teenage girls online and harbouring child pornography," reported AAP this week.
















Other

My train wreck conversion


Rosaria Champagne Butterfield - Christianity Today





As a leftist lesbian professor, I despised Christians. Then I somehow became one. The word Jesus stuck in my throat like an elephant tusk; no matter how hard I choked, I couldn't hack it out. Those who professed the name commanded my pity and wrath. As a university professor, I tired of students who seemed to believe tha "knowing Jesus" meant knowing little else. Christians in particular were bad readers, always seizing opportunities to insert a Bible verse into a conversation with the same point as a punctuation mark: to end it rather than deepen it. Stupid. Pointless. Menacing. That's what I thought of Christians and their god Jesus, who in paintings looked as powerful as a Breck Shampoo commercial model.




















The ‘perfect injustice’: is Australia more corrupt than we think?

Edward Spence - The Conversation





Corruption is pervasive, diverse and present in almost all areas of society. From the “greed is good” heyday of the 1980s that encompassed the rise and fall of corporate high-flyers such as Christopher Skase, right through to the 2000s and the spectacular collapses of Enron and WorldCom in the US and HIH in Australia, the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, corruption seems to continue unabated.