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

Is the pro-life cause winning?


Russell D. Moore - Christian Post





Time magazine's recent cover story announces that, forty years after Roe, the pro-life side is winning the abortion debate. I say, "Not so fast." On the one hand, yes, as the article points out, there have been some real gains in protections for the unborn in some important arenas. And public polling data does demonstrate, rather consistently, that younger people are more willing to identify themselves as being "pro-life" than are their mothers' generation.














Science and the politics of personhood

Maureen L. Condic - Mercatornet





Not too long ago, the New York Times "Opinionator" blog ran a piece titled “Can Neuroscience Challenge Roe v. Wade?” by William Egginton, a professor of humanities at Johns Hopkins University. Egginton argues that scientific information has no place in the formulation of public policy on matters involving essential human rights. In such matters, he claims, science is irrelevant because rights "have nothing at all to do with the truths of science," and therefore "should not be dependent on the changing opinions of science." Egginton's piece responds to several states’ recent efforts to restrict abortion prior to viability based upon a fetus’s ability to experience pain. The author dismisses the possibility that a fetus is capable of “reflective” pain awareness and asserts that the "real purpose" of such statutes is "to use potential evidence of pain sentience in fetuses to indicate the presence of something far more compelling—namely, personhood."
















Children & Family

Qld child protection inquiry resumes


NineMSN





The Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, headed by former Family Court judge Tim Carmody SC, held its first round of hearings in July 2012. It is reviewing the adequacy of government responses to allegations of historical abuse in youth detention centres and will make recommendations to reform the system.


















Drugs & Alcohol

Paradise lost: new alert over counterfeit cocktails


Kate Lamb - SMH





Forget the psychotropic mushroom shakes. In the hedonistic tourist enclaves of Bali and Lombok it's the cocktails, not the hallucinogens, that you might never come back from. But that wasn't on the mind of Perth teenager Liam Davies as he unwittingly drank a methanol-laced cocktail in Lombok over the new year. His death several days later has thrown the spotlight on Indonesia's market for counterfeit - and sometimes lethal - liquor.










Millions of cigarettes seized

Ewa Kretowicz - Canberra Times





Customs and Border Protection seized more than 125 million cigarettes being illegally brought into the country in 2012. Laid end to end the cigarettes would stretch from Canberra to Perth and back again. Combined with loose leaf, more than 134 tonnes of smuggled tobacco was seized at ports all round the country, which potentially would have cost the Australian government more than $128 million in unpaid taxes. While China has traditionally been the biggest source of illicit cigarettes entering Australia, more recently large shipments have started to arrive from the United Arab Emirates.












Education

Schools banning 'outlaw' students


Kelmeny Fraser, Tanya Chilcott - The Sunday Mail (Qld)





State schools are taking a tough line to keep dangerous young pupils accused of violent and disruptive behaviour out of the classroom. During the past six years, school authorities have taken the extreme measure of barring students from attending any public school in Queensland at least 18 times, newly released figures reveal. Separate figures show state schools are facing worsening schoolyard violence, with principals handing out almost 20,000 suspensions for "physical misconduct" last financial year - that's about 95 suspensions for every school day.
















Gambling

Virtual pokie app a hit - but 'not gambling'


Richard Willingham - SMH





The highest-grossing phone and tablet app in Australia is a virtual poker machine game easily accessible to children and teenagers, prompting outrage from gambling critics and the established pokies industry. Slotomania, which is owned by Playtika, a subsidiary of the casino company Caesars Entertainment Corporation, was the highest-grossing app at the iTunes store in Australia last year, and two other ''slots'' games were in the top 20.
















Indigenous

A problem kept locked away


Ewa Kretowicz - Canberra Times





Aborigines are over-represented in ACT's prison population, and the numbers are rapidly rising. Ngambri elder Matilda House had one family member who was in and out of jail his whole life - while figures on the number of her extended Aboriginal family who have stayed at Her Majesty's pleasure are too difficult to count. ''I've had family there and it's just the way it is - it's a revolving door that the ACT government does not want to address.''


















Marriage

Analysis: The gay marriage battle isn't lost


Ryan T. Anderson and Andrew T. Walker - BPNews





In December, with the U.S. Supreme Court set to rule on same-sex marriage, George Will ignored polling data and ballot-box results -- both support marriage as it has always been in America -- to claim on ABC's "This Week" that there is an "emerging consensus" in support of redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships. Will went further: "Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It's old people." Despite our youthful reluctance to disagree with Will, we do. As two people born in the 1980s who work at the Heritage Foundation explaining what marriage is and why it matters, we're happy to say that reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.










French right on same sex marrriage même chose

George Pell - Catholic Weekly





France is different, known for its food and wines, beautiful countryside, and the French Revolution (1789) with its principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, which changed the world. The French think differently. They love ideas. For about a decade the French Catholic Church has not raised its voice much in public life. But this changed in August. On the feast of the Assumption the present Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Vingt-Trois, sparked a controversy, when he prayed: “May children and young people cease being simply the object of the desires and conflicts of adults, so they can enjoy fully the love of a father and mother.” The fact that homosexual marriage was on the political agenda caused the reaction.












Gay marriage could signal return to ‘centuries of persecution’, - say 1,000 Catholic priests

John Bingham - UK Telegraph





More than 1,000 priests have signed a letter voicing alarm that same-sex marriage could threaten religious freedom in a way last seen during “centuries of persecution” of Roman Catholics in England. In one of the biggest joint letters of its type ever written, they raise fears that their freedom to practise and speak about their faith will be “severely” limited and dismiss Government reassurances as "meaningless". They even liken David Cameron’s moves to redefine marriage to those of Henry VIII, whose efforts to secure a divorce from Katherine of Aragon triggered centuries of bloody upheaval between church and state.


















Politics

Colin Barnett stretches pre-poll margin: Newspoll


Paige Taylor - The Australian





The Barnett government is untouchable at the start of the West Australian election campaign, with an extended 58-42 two-party-preferred lead over Labor, the Coalition's most commanding position in a year. A Newspoll taken exclusively for The Australian between October and last month shows Labor's primary support unchanged since the July-September polling period at 30 per cent, despite a concerted effort by senior members of the opposition to capitalise on a heightened level of voter dissatisfaction with Premier Colin Barnett.
















Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Sex slavery a US problem too, activists highlight


Napp Nazworth - Christian Post





Human trafficking, or sex slavery, is not just a problem for developing countries, but for the United States as well. Two activists, Hon. Linda Smith, founder and president of Shared Hope International, and Mark Blackwell, founder and president of Justice Ministries, brought attention to this issue and talked about how the church can help at a Wednesday Family Research Council symposium in Washington, D.C. Smith began working on the sex trafficking issue when she was a congresswoman in the 1990s. After that, she used her business expertise to research sex trafficking and produce reports for the U.S. government.
















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Human rights activist: Many Christians 'ignorant' of extent of persecution


Michael Gryboski - Christian Post





A human rights activist with more than 25 years' experience in ministering to persecuted Christians said Tuesday that many Christians are "ignorant" of the extent of persecution globally. Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMilan, chief strategy officer for Open Doors International, told The Christian Post that the church in America and elsewhere should spread greater awareness of what is happening to Christians in many parts of the world.










US pastor Saeed Abedini faces notorious 'Hanging Judge' in Iran

Stoyan Zaimov - Christian Post





An American pastor currently held in Iranian prison is facing a grim future after it was announced that his case was recently transferred to a judge accused of human rights violations and infamous for the number of people he has sentenced to death. "This new development is highly troubling -- it appears Iran is determined to remove any chance of the American pastor receiving any semblance of a fair trial.












Kenyan jihadists target surprising recruits: Ex-Christians

Tom Osanjo - Christianty Today





Hundreds of Kenyan youths who converted from Christianity to Islam—and then went to fight alongside jihadists in neighboring Somalia—are returning to their home churches. But these prodigal sons are not being welcomed back with fully open arms. Instead, pastors are on high alert—with good reason. Al Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliated militia, has begun using young men from predominantly Christian ethnic groups to attack churches. In November, an assailant hurled a grenade into a church located inside a police station, killing the pastor. In September, assailants threw grenades into a children's Sunday school class, killing a 9-year-old boy. In July, similar grenade attacks at two churches killed 17 worshipers.














Sexualisation of Society

Sex sells but we're paying the price


Wendy Squires - Brisbane Times





Amid the vacuous dross that spills from the silicone lips of celluloid stars, sometimes - and it is a rarity - a relevant comment will make it to print. This happened rec ntly when Irish actor and father of two teenage boys, Liam Neeson, steered away from the usual promotional guff involving ''generous co-stars'', ''visionary directors'' and ''getting in character'' to deliver an unscripted and highly personal opinion. In Neeson's case, one I passionately agree with. ''I'd hate to be a kid now, because we're all inundated with so much information about sexuality coming at us from everywhere - the media, the advertising billboards, just everywhere - and it must be so confusing for them,'' the 60-year-old told Ireland's Catholic Herald.


















Other

Christians respond to Giglio's withdrawal: New era of religious intolerance in America?


Lillian Kwon - Christian Post





Pastor Louie Giglio's withdrawal from President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony has left Christians lamenting over what they see as a new era of religious intolerance. More specifically, anyone who holds the view that homosexuality is a sin is being forced out of the public square. Russell Moore, a Southern Baptist theologian, put it this way: "When it is now impossible for one who holds to the catholic Christian view of marriage and the gospel to pray at a public event, we now have a de facto established state church.














Commission on child sex abuse will be traumatic, Gillard warns victims

AAP





There are traumatic times ahead for child sexual abuse victims as the royal commission swings into action, Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned. But eventually, the inquiry's recommendations will hopefully bring healing to the Australian nation, Ms Gillard told child sex abuse survivors today. A day after she announced the appointments to the royal commission into child sexual abuse in institutions, Ms Gillard met with about 30 child sexual abuse survivors and advocates at Kirribilli House in Sydney.