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

Dublin eases abortion ban after death scandal


AP





Ireland's government has pledged to pass a law allowing women to receive abortions if continued pregnancy threatens their lives - including from their own threats to commit suicide if denied one. The announcement comes after decades of inaction on abortion in Ireland, and just weeks after the predominantly Catholic country faced international criticism over the death of an Indian woman in hospital who was refused an abortion.


















Children & Family

“These tragedies must end”


Michael Cook - Mercatornet







Why are so many rampage killers the sons of divorce? Sunday marked the fourth time that President Obama has visited a shell-shocked community after a rampage killer had mowed down innocent people. In 2009 the comforter-in-chief offered words of consolation after 13 servicemen died at Fort Hood; in 2011 after six died in Tucson; in July, after 12 died in a Denver movie theatre. And now in Newtown, Connecticut after 28 died in an elementary school. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza massacred his mother, six school staff, 20 students, all of them aged only 6 and 7, and finally himself.


















Euthanasia

Euthanasia campaigner under scrutiny


Mike Sexton - 7.30 ABC





Euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke is facing another investigation. In the past he's been censured for his advocacy of euthanasia drugs. This time it's over the distribution of gases. A shelf company he has formed is selling nitrogen cylinders - usually used in home brewing, but which can also be lethal. There's nothing illegal in the operation but it could cost him his registration as a doctor.
























Politics

Minority rule has 'failed to deliver': Newspoll


Dennis Shanahan - The Australian





Almost one in two voters believes a federal minority government has delivered "worse government" since the last election, and half of those voters believe it has been "a lot worse". Only 13 per cent of all voters believe having a minority government has been "better", according to a Newspoll survey taken exclusively for The Australian this month.














WikiLeaks founder eyes window of opportunity in Australian Senate bid

Philip Dorling - The Age





Julian Assange lives in his own little bit of Ecuador. For the past six months he has been confined to that country's London embassy where he has been granted political asylum. He has sought refuge in this building just a stone's throw from Harrods because he is at risk of extradition to the United States to face conspiracy or other charges arising from WikiLeaks obtaining thousands of secret US military and diplomatic reports leaked by US Army soldier Bradley Manning.
















Refugees

UN funds axed to help refugees


Lenore Taylor, Judith Ireland - SMH





Australia's contributions to United Nations humanitarian and development bodies will be cut by $20 million this year to pay for food and housing for asylum seekers in Australia, just months after Labor won a seat on the UN Security Council with a promise of increased aid.












Religious Freedom & Persecution

Finally, Istanbul gives Syriac Christians a place to build: a cemetery


Compass Direct





Three years after a Syrian Orthodox foundation applied to build a church in Istanbul, the Greater Istanbul Municipality has granted them a large plot of land and a building permit. Banner headlines in the Turkish media praised the early-December decision as “a first in the history of the Republic,” declaring that never before had Turkey allowed a non-Muslim minority to build an official new house of worship. Still, Syriac Christians were far from pleased. For one thing, the land they were “granted” by the municipality is, in fact, a Latin Catholic cemetery.


















Other

Assessing California’s ban on “conversion therapies”

Melinda Selmys - MercatorNet





A ban on "gay conversion" therapies for teenagers has been harshly criticised. But the issues are not as simple as they might seem at first glance.












A resounding and lasting victory for religious liberty on college campuses

Jeremy Tedesco - Alliance Defending Freedom





Alliance Defending Freedom recently settled the lawsuit it brought on behalf of Julea Ward against Eastern Michigan University. EMU expelled Julea–a stellar student with a 3.91 GPA who was nearly done with the program–for merely inquiring whether she should refer a client with whom she had a values conflict. The conflict arose because the client sought counseling about a sexual relationship that conflicted with her sincere religious convictions. As part of the settlement, the University agreed to pay Julea $75,000 and remove the expulsion from her student record.












Allegations drug gangs have infiltrated Border Protection

Phillip Hudson - Herald Sun





Customs has been rocked by allegations that it has been infiltrated by crime gangs and as many as 30 officers are involved in drug smuggling and receiving bribes. The Federal Government, Customs and Federal Police are in lockdown, refusing to comment on the claims which have thrown into question the integrity of the nation's border protection forces.
















Barry puts the safety on guns in NSW

Alicia Wood - The Daily Telegraph





NSW will get its toughest gun laws ever under proposed changes to licence regulations. A confidential list of proposed changes obtained by The Daily Telegraph shows the government is planning to tighten rules for buying and using a gun in NSW in response to a spate of drive-by shootings in Sydney's west. The draft changes, prepared by the Ministry of Police and Emergency Services, include a rule that people who have been convicted of any violent offence, any sexual offence or those on good behaviour bonds will be banned from obtaining a gun licence.










Obama puts gun laws firmly on the table

The Australian





US president Barack Obama has set up a task force to frame "concrete proposals" on ending mass shootings by next month and called for new laws, but denied he had been on "vacation" on gun control. With trauma still raw after the Connecticut school massacre last week, Mr Obama put Vice President Joe Biden in charge of an inter-agency effort on gun control and mental health, saying America had a "deep obligation" to act.










Women make church more rounded

Elizabeth Farrelly - Sydney Morning Herald





God, says my favourite theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, is the point at which truth, beauty and justice merge. I like that, very much. Quite apart from the ethical appeal, and the tantalising hint of Platonism (which Balthasar rejects), these things are therapy. If you're feeling mopey, they're guaranteed pick-me-ups - telling truth, seeing beauty or kicking ass - which is a form of administering justice, right? So it's weird that the contemporary church seems hell-bent, as it were, on dumping the lot of them. Worse than weird. Dangerous, since the need for muscular spiritual leadership was never more urgent.