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

North Dakota now first state to ban abortions based on down syndrome


Steven Ertelt - LifeNews





With the governor’s signature on the ban today, North Dakota has become the first state to ban abortions based on genetic “defects” like Down Syndrome. When diagnosed before birth, such genetic abnormalities prompt couples to have abortions 90 percent of the time. The measure would also ban abortion based on gender selection, an issue of increasing concern in the United States has people from nations like China and India migrate to the United States and bring their cultural preference for boys with them.


















Donor Conception & Surrogacy

Government doesn’t play God on surrogacy


Stephen Page - Brisbane Times





“Government doesn’t play God” said a client of mine, I’ll call her Shauna, when I told her last year of the statement by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie that the Newman government would change the Surrogacy Act so that same sex couples, singles and heterosexual de facto couples of less than 2 years would be banned from pursuing their dreams of becoming parents via surrogacy. Shauna’s daughter Adele was pursuing the last resort option to become a parent via surrogacy to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a mum. Adele was separated.
















Drugs & Alcohol

MBA calls for random drug, alcohol testing


Emma Macdonald - The Canberra Times





The Master Builders Association has called for random drug and alcohol testing on Canberra construction sites as part of its response to the Government's independent inquiry into safety. Former director of the Australian War Memorial, Major-General Steve Gower, was commissioned by the MBA to conduct a separate review of the inquiry's 28 recommendations – all of which have been accepted by the ACT Government.












Education

Funding plan is based on Gonski: Garrett


Katina Curtis - AAP





Federal schools minister Peter Garrett rejects opposition claims the Labor government is offering "a cobbled-together pig's breakfast" schools funding system. The government is currently negotiating with public, independent and Catholic schools for a new funding system based on the Gonski recommendations released last year. This includes setting a base amount per student and topping that up with loadings to address school and student disadvantage.
















Euthanasia

What should end-of-life care look like?


Paul Russell - On Line Opinion





We all know, as we get older, that we need to think of things like our Last Will and Testament, what we should be doing to prepare for retirement, how we talk to our children about what we think we might want and might not want in terms of care and support etc. and whether or not we make some kind of formal advance care directive should we find ourselves challenged by a difficult diagnosis. But how many of us actually make such plans or have these kind of conversations?














Gambling

Tom Waterhouse put on the bench at Channel 9


Dean Ritchie - The Daily Telegraph





Tom Waterhouse's presence in Channel 9's rugby league commentary team has been watered down after public complaints and intervention by the NRL. A joint select committee, led by independent Tasmanian Senator Andrew Wilkie, has been convened to look at online gambling and increasingly close links of betting agencies and sports, and yesterday heard of Mr Waterhouse's multi-million-dollar sponsorship of Nine's NRL coverage.


















Indigenous

Noel Pearson's Cape York trial 'changing lives'


Patricia Karvelas - The Australian





Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson has called for a federal takeover of indigenous affairs if the Queensland government fails to fund his radical Cape York Welfare Reform trial, amid evidence the program has cut crime rates, improved infrastructure and services and helped school attendance levels.












Indigenous kids removed from families 'at record rates'

SBS



The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care says says Australia is at risk of creating another stolen generation. Muriel Bamblett from the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency says Indigenous Australia is over-represented in child protection and under-represented in family services.














Marriage

On the second day, US Supreme Court considers the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)


Robert Barnes - Washington Post





The Supreme Court on Wednesday continues its examination of same-sex marriage, this time considering whether Congress may withhold federal benefits from legally wed gay couples by defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. The arguments will focus on a key section of the c. The Obama administration has said that it will not defend the law, and a string of lower courts has said that it is unconstitutional to deny federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in the states where they live while offering them to opposite-sex married couples.












Social science struggles for data on effects of same-sex parenting on children

Sandhya Somashekhar - Washington Post





Amid the legal arguments at Tuesday’s Supreme Court hearing on same-sex marriage, there loomed a social science question: How well do children turn out when they are raised by gay parents? Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is widely considered the swing vote, called the topic “uncharted waters.” Conservative Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wryly asked, “You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cellphones or the Internet?”












The shaky science behind same-sex marriage

Harvey C. Mansfield - MercatorNet





The case rests squarely on sociology and psychology. How reliable can this be, ask two distinguished scholars. Today the US Supreme Court begins hearings on two same-sex marriage cases. Scores of organisations have presented “amicus briefs” to the Court as background to the legal arguments. Here we present an edited version of a submission by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and two distinguished scholars. Leon Kass, of the University of Chicago, and Harvey Mansfield, of Harvard University, are experts on the limits of the scientific method and on issues relevant to the appropriate structure of family life.










How to avoid 'hate speech' in defense of marriage

Leonardo Blair - Christain Post





In a book released last fall, president of Catholics for the Common Good, William B. May, has encouraged defenders of traditional marriage to focus on the meaning of the term "marriage" to avoid the "hate speech" brand when discussing their position. "People should understand that the real question is not whether to let homosexuals marry, but whether to redefine marriage or not," said May in statement on Monday. Marriage under its current definition, said May, "is an institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers. Thus, marriage between homosexuals is not possible without completely changing its purpose and removing its primary public interest."












Pacific MP wants churches protected in gay marriage bill

ABC





A Pacific islands MP in New Zealand wants the legislation legalising same-sex marriage amended to provide protection for churches. Su'a William Sio, MP for Mangere for the opposition Labour Party, tells Bruce Hill there's concern among the Pacific community and churches that the gay marriage bill could see religious organisations forced to act against their own conscience and beliefs.
















Overseas Aid

2 doctors, 103 women, sterilisation quota achieved


Carolyn Moynihan - MercatorNet





India's target-driven quotas for female sterilisation are producing horrific scenes, all with the aid of Western money. The end of the financial year has arrived in India, as it has in a number of other countries, but there the pressure of the bottom line has produced a very shocking effect. Early last month two doctors working at a hospital in the Malda district of West Bengal, performed sterilisation surgery on 103 women in one day. Since the hospital could only accommodate 30 women the rest were carried out on rough stretchers and dumped on an open field to recover.














Politics

Zed ahead: Libs end Senate row


Noel Towell - The Canberra Times





The Canberra Liberals have settled their internal Senate preselection feud decisively with the party voting on Wednesday night to allow the nomination of Zed Seselja to stand. A motion to overturn Mr Seselja's victory over incumbent Senator Gary Humphries and hold the ballot again was voted down by 168 votes to 138 after three hours of "robust" debate at The Rex Hotel in Braddon.
















Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Ten years jail for sadistic rape of sex worker


The Chronicle





A man has been sentenced to 10 years jail for the sadistic rape of a female sex worker in a Toowoomba motel room. In what District Court Judge Sarah Bradley described as a "sadistic, brutal, violent and cowardly attack on a vulnerable woman", the 38-year-old man had held an axe to his victim's face, tied her up with tape and twice injected her with a veterinary drug used for sedating animals.
















Refugees

Govt undecided on freeing asylum families


Ehssan Veiszadeh - Brisbane Times





Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the government has yet to decide whether asylum-seeking families will be released into the community, as yet another boat, with 147 on board, has been intercepted near Darwin. The number of people arriving by boat so far this year is now over 3300, more than double the arrivals in the same period of 2012. Wednesday's boat also carried the most passengers since October last year.










400 more asylum seekers expected by end of week

Bianca Hall - SMH





Christmas Island locals are bracing for another 400 asylum seekers to arrive on the island by the end of the week, following the arrival of almost 300 people already this week. The Immigration Department has confirmed that 2107 asylum seekers were being detained in the island's detention centres at the close of business on Tuesday - 29 more people than the official capacity of 2078 people. A department spokeswoman denied the centre was over capacity, though, saying it could easily be extended.












Religious Freedom & Persecution

Muslim persecution of Christians: January, 2013


Raymond Ibrahim - Gatestone Institute





The year 2013 began with reports indicating that wherever Christians live side by side with large numbers of Muslims, the Christians are under attack. As one report said, "Africa, where Christianity spread fastest during the past century, now is the region where oppression of Christians is spreading fastest." Whether in Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, or Tanzania—attacks on Christians are as frequent as they are graphic.
















Difficulties faced by Pakistan's minority Christians

ABC





The ordeal of Rimsha Masih last year highlighted the difficulties faced by Pakistan's minority Christian community. Rimsha is a 14-year-old girl with Downs Syndrome who faced the death penalty after being accused of blasphemy for allegedly burning pages of the Koran. Hundreds of Christians have faced blasphemy charges since the laws were introduced in the 1980s. Eventually most are acquitted but that doesn't stop them being ostracised and in some cases murdered.












57 churches left in Iraq, down from 300 in 2003

Anugrah Kumar - Christian Post





Iraq had 300 churches and 1.4 million Christians in 2003, but now only 57 churches and about half a million Christians remain with members of the minority fleeing Islamist attacks, according to local reports. Patriarch Louis Sako of the Chaldean Church told Mideast Christian News the remaining 57 churches also continue to be targeted. The number of Christians has fallen from about 1,400,000 in 2003 to nearly half a million now, added William Warda, the head of the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, a registered local non-governmental organization.












Egyptian mosque used as torture parlor for Christians

Tundra Tabloids





Islamic hard-liners stormed a mosque in suburban Cairo, turning it into torture chamber for Christians who had been demonstrating against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in the latest case of violent persecution that experts fear will only get worse. Such stories have become increasingly common as tensions between Egypt’s Muslims and Copts mount, but in the latest case, mosque officials corroborated much of the account and even filed a police report.
















Sexualisation of Society

Equality doesn't stand a chance until we see women as people


Ruby Hamad - ABC The Drum





The sexual objectification of women is most overt in men's magazines and sexist films, but it doesn't end there. These sorts of depictions have real world consequences, writes Ruby Hamad. Last week, Alex Bilmes, editor of Esquire, candidly and very publically admitted what we have all long known; that his magazine, like others aimed at men, uses women as sex objects.












Pedophiles coercing kids using phone app

Nine MSN





Pedophiles are using a relatively new smartphone application to try and coerce young children into performing sex acts, police have warned. The Kik instant messenger app has become wildly popular among youngsters since launching in late 2010, allowing users to send rapid-fire text messages and pictures to each other for free. But Victorian Police have warned that pedophiles are using the app to request sexually explicit images from children - and in some cases are then using those pictures to try and coerce them into performing sex acts.
















Other

Easter, Australians and Christianity


The McCrindle Blog





Easter, even more than Christmas, is the time when society reflects on things religious, and so it is timely for us to share a research snapshot of Christianity in Australia. Christianity is still the religion to which most Australians identify (61%), having declined only slightly since the 2006 Census (64%).














Ricky Nixon gets community service for beating fiancee: when will these crimes against women be taken seriously?

Melinda Tankard Reist - MTR Blog





When disgraced AFL player manager Ricky Nixon attacked his then fiancée Tegan Gould, he grabbed her by the throat, pushed her against a wall, hit her in the head then fled police custody. In her victim impact statement, Gould said the assault left her suffering headaches, bruises, nightmares, panic attacks, and that she was intimidated, paranoid, introverted. She said she lived in fear of him hurting her again. With five serious offences against him – along with a pattern of inappropriate behaviour towards women over time – what sentence was applied to Nixon? A grand total of 200 hours community service.