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

Swiss pro-lifers: abortion hurts economy


Brisbane Times





Swiss pro-lifers have launched an initiative to ban abortions in the country for economic reasons, saying the practice costs hundreds of billions in lost tax revenue. The "Protect life to remedy the loss of billions" initiative was launched by an independent group that needs to gather more than 100,000 signatures by August 2014 for the issue to be put to a referendum. It charges that Switzerland's about 11,000 abortions each year deprive the country's economy of hundreds of billions in lost income taxes and consumption.






Drugs & Alcohol

Higher booze tax would cut crime: expert


SMH





Higher alcohol taxes would cut booze-related crime, reduce consumption among problem drinkers and only be a "modest burden" on most Australians, a leading public policy expert says. Mark Kleiman, from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), says lifting the tax on alcohol is the best way to tackle alcohol-related violence. There's no drugs policy nearly as effective as raising alcohol taxes, nothing is nearly that easy, it's a free lunch," Professor Kleiman told a Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) conference in Sydney on Wednesday.












Is there a solution to alcohol fuelled violence?

Kia Handley - ABC





It's every parent’s worse nightmare. When an innocent night on the town ends in disaster for their son or daughter. On Monday night, Four Corners took a look at what police, ambulance officers and staff in hospital emergency department’s deal with every weekend. With 70 thousand people being involved in alcohol related disputes each year, the estimated cost to our emergency services is around $15 billion annually.














Education

Tasmania questions Gonski reforms


Milanda Rout - The Australian





The Tasmanian Labor government has lined up with Coalition-led states to attack Julia Gillard's school funding reforms, with the Giddings government complaining about not enough detail and "unknown costs", and warning of an adverse impact on industrial relations. In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the Prime Minister's Gonski legislation, Tasmania questions the need for the draft laws in the first place, saying it may have symbolic value but "there is little the bill can achieve in any practical sense".














Gambling

He would bet on his laptop while we were in bed


Hayley Byrnes - The Punch





In light of the latest developments coming out from the NRL regarding Ben Barba, rumours are now running rife that on top his well now well documented relationship breakdown with the mother of his children, he could also be suffering from a gambling problem. At least this guy's out of bed. This hits home for me because I despise sports gambling, it sickens me. I personally have spent the darkest of hours with a sports gambling addict. Without delving into too much personal detail out of respect to this person, I can however say that for a number of years I battled with my live in boyfriend’s gambling addiction.














Health

Same-sex cohabitors report worse health: Study


Medical Net





Same-sex cohabitors report worse health than people of the same socioeconomic status who are in heterosexual marriages, according to a new study, which may provide fuel for gay marriage proponents. "Past research has shown that married people are generally healthier than unmarried people," said Hui Liu, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State University. "Although our study did not specifically test the health consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage, it's very plausible that legalization of gay marriage would reduce health disparities between same-sex cohabitors and married heterosexuals."










UK: Cases of 'untreatable gonorrhoea' soar by 25% in a year

Daily Mail





Cases of 'untreatable gonorrhoea' have soared 25 per cent in a year, as experts warn the disease is becoming more resistant to treatment. More than 20,000 new cases of the sexually-transmitted infection were diagnosed in 2011. The spike has led to the launch of a new campaign to tackle the growing threat in England and Wales in a bid to reverse the trend.














Indigenous

Mills comes under fire for refusal to revive Banned Drinker Register


ABC





Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has expressed Disappointment that the Northern Territory Government has ruled out the reintroduction of the Banned Drinker Register (BDR). Ms Macklin is in Alice Springs today after having met with Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills in Darwin last night. She has met with representatives from the People's Alcohol Action Coalition in Alice Springs to discuss alcohol abuse in the town. Ms Macklin is again calling for an assessment of two locals hotels known to operate "animal bars" for Aboriginal patrons.














Marriage

Great Britain and gay marriage


Michael Coren - Catholic World Report





It was only a matter of time, really. Britain, the country of my birth and my home for the first 28 years of my life, has legalized same-sex marriage. The Conservative government had not in any way campaigned for it during the election, and Prime Minister David Cameron had effectively said he would not pursue it, as had the gay lobby and its political champions. The United Kingdom, you see, had introduced civil partnerships for homosexuals in 2004, and one of the reasons the proposal was passed was because its backers gave their word that it was not “a stepping stone but the end of the road.” That was always a lie—they knew it was always a lie, and gay marriage was always the intention.


















Politics

Barnett and McGowan address Christian group


ABC





Euthanasia, abortion and gay marriage dominated last night's Australian Christian Lobby debate between the Premier Colin Barnett and the Opposition Leader, Mark McGowan. Around 800 men and women packed the Mount Pleasant Baptist Community College to hear from the two leaders.


















Prostitution & Slavery

Crackdown on slavery passes parliament


AAP





Laws cracking down on forced marriages and modern-day slavery have passed federal parliament. The legislation, which cleared the Senate on Wednesday, gives police greater powers to investigate cases of forced labour, human trafficking and forced marriage, by making them criminal offences. It also extends the law to cover all forms of deceptive recruitment and increases penalties for debt bondage. Labor senator John Faulkner said slavery existed in sectors such as hospitality, construction and agriculture, as well as domestic situations.














Refugees

Libs push for asylum crackdown


Lenore Taylor, Judith Ireland - The Age





A Liberal backbencher has accused his own party of vilifying asylum seekers, after Coalition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison called for special ''behaviour protocols'' for those released into the community and the mandatory notification of police and residents in areas where they were housed. Mr Morrison said the charging of a Sri Lankan asylum seeker with the alleged indecent assault of a young woman in a Sydney university dorm ''demanded'' an immediate suspension of the community release program and a review to determine new ''behavioural protocols … with clear negative sanctions for breaches''.














Coalition calls for freeze on bridging visas

Judith Ireland - SMH





Coalition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison has called for an immediate freeze on the provision of bridging visas for asylum seekers, after it was revealed a man released into the community on a bridging visa had been charged with indecent assault. Mr Morrison said that a review was needed into the guidelines for how boat arrivals were released into the community.
















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Libyan authorities torture arrested Coptic Christian accused of proselytizing


MidEast Christian News





Libyan authorities continue to imprison Christians under accusations of proselytization. As of last week the number reached to seven in custody, including an Egyptian Copt named Sherif Ramses who sources say has been tortured. Morning Star News, an independent Christian-focused news agency, reported that the Libyan Preventive Security Unit arrested three Egyptian Christians on 13 and 16 February, in addition to the four foreign Christians previously arrested this month on charges of proselytization in Benghazi.










Religious intolerance is growing in Indonesia

Deutsche Welle





Indonesia has the biggest Muslim population in the world and is often described as a country where people live peacefully side by side, tolerating difference. Now, however, religious minorities are being targeted more. Indonesia's brand of Islam is often portrayed by women wearing headscarves smiling in friendly fashion or children playing in front of a mosque. Almost 90 percent of the island state's inhabitants are Muslim. However, this positive image of a country where different communities and cultures interact peacefully with each other contrasts heavily with the reality of the past 10 years.










Sexualisation of Society

Defense of ‘the selfie’ confirms that this era will forever be known as the stupidest of all eras


Melinda Tankard Reist blog





This would have to be the best analysis of the rise of the ‘selfie’ phenomena I have read. Meghan Murphy, love your work. Clearly the world is engaged in an elaborate plot to make me LOSE MY MIND. You win, world! You are the dumbest and the worst at everything. I concede. This morning’s episode of CBC Radio’s The Current featured a debate about ‘the selfie’. Listening was a little agonizing at times, but it provided an excellent portrayal of our culture’s mass confusion about what it means to do something ‘for ourselves’ vs. performing for the (male) gaze.












Other

US: Christian science teacher fired over creationism to head to Ohio Supreme Court


Leonardo Blair - Christian Post





A 20-year Ohio middle school science teacher who was fired in 2011 for teaching creationism in his class will have his day in the Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday when his lawyers will argue that his firing was a violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free speech and religion. "In oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court tomorrow, February 27, The Rutherford Institute will defend the right to academic freedom of a science teacher fired for encouraging students to think critically about the school's science curriculum, particularly as it relates to evolution theories," said the Rutherford Institute in a statement released in response to questions from The Christian Post on Tuesday.












Evangelist recruits Christians to join Facebook debate against atheists

Alex Murashko - Christian Post





Evangelist Ray Comfort says he's deluged with so many questions and comments from atheists on his Facebook page that he's decided to recruit Christians to join the online conversation between hundreds if not thousands of people. "It suddenly dawned on me how Facebook is an incredible medium for the gospel. One of my posts was seen by 1.2 million people – many of whom are non-Christians," Comfort told The Christian Post via an email exchange. "Think of what it would cost and how much work it would take to have a Billy Graham-type crusade that reached 1.2 million people. But we can reach that many at no cost and with just a click of a keyboard button."