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

Pancakes, Mass at start of 40-day abortion vigil


Catholic Weekly





The 40 Days for Life pro-life Lenten campaign begins on Shrove Tuesday, 12 February, with more than 2000 pancakes to be consumed by the hundreds of people expected to gather in the courtyard at St Peters Church, Surry Hills. “Each year the launch gets bigger and so does the pancake production,” said Maria Campos, events and recruitment co-ordinator. 40 Days for Life is a non-stop pro-life vigil in which participants fast and pray for an end to abortion.














Bioethics

Withdrawing treatment from premature babies – when doctors and parents disagree


Neera Bhatia - The Conversation





Parents of babies born severely premature or with serious abnormalities are turning to the courts in a bid to override medical opinion to commence or continue life-sustaining treatment for their infants. It’s difficult enough for parents to witness the birth of their child with such an acute handicap; it can be incredibly confronting when they are presented with the views of their treating doctors that it’s not in the best interests of the child to keep him or her alive.










Should Christians pursue prenatal testing?

Amy Julia Becker - Christianity Today





The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends that doctors offer all pregnant women prenatal testing, which can detect chromosomal conditions like Down syndrome before their babies are born. As a result, they all face a decision, or a series of decisions, on what to do. Although there is no one right answer for how women should approach these tests, they can inform themselves and consider the test's limitations and possibilities before making a final decision in a doctor's office. Prenatal tests were designed to provide women with the option of selective abortion, but not all women choose testing with abortion in mind.
















Children & Family

Strict new hygiene rules for childcare will wrap kids in a bubble, says AMA


Natasha Bita - News Limited Network





Kids will be banned from blowing out candles on communal birthday cakes, under strict new hygiene rules for childcare. But doctors warn the latest National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines go too far in "bubble-wrapping" children. The NHMRC is urging childcare centres to stand up to parents who insist on sending a sick child to daycare - even if they have a medical certificate.














Classification

Win! Bookworld forced to withdraw incest titles


Melinda Tankard Reist blog





We’ve just campaigned against Condom Kingdom selling products that eroticise sex with underage girls and therefore, paedophilia. But Condom Kingdom isn’t the only retailer providing masturbatory material for sexual predators. Bookworld – formerly known as Borders – has been selling multiple titles eroticising incest.


















Drugs & Alcohol

Explosive claims in footy drugs probe


Jim Wilson - Yahoo!7





The Federal Police and Australian Crime Commission are investigating elite sports for the use of banned substances.

Seven News can reveal it's alleged organised crime gangs are importing performance enhancing drugs. The allegations come days after the AFL was rocked with claims of illegal performance enhancing boosters being used by Essendon. Now there are explosive claims other sports, including rugby league, will be implicated.












Ex-addict GP fights to stay in work

Paul Bibby - SMH





Sydney doctor Riju Ramrakha freely admits that he is an alcoholic who knowingly prescribed highly addictive medications to patients with long histories of abusing drugs. The former Balmain GP concedes that, as his lunchtime drinking sessions approached, he would become abusive towards his staff, returning intoxicated in the afternoon and subjecting them to inappropriate sexual comments.
















Environment

Doubts over paper giant's rainforest pledge


George Roberts - ABC





Conservationists say they are suspicious of an announcement by one of the world's biggest pulp and paper companies, which says it will no longer log virgin rainforest. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) is the world's third largest company pulp and paper company and sells its products in 65 countries, including Australia. In Indonesia alone, where it made the announcement, APP has a production capacity of 9 million tonnes of product per year.












Burke seeks legal advice on super trawler

Nick Perry - AAP





Environment Minister Tony Burke will wait for legal advice before deciding if a banned super trawler should be allowed to operate as a giant freezer for smaller ships fishing in Australian waters. The company behind the Abel Tasman, the factory ship controversially banned from fishing last year, has written to Mr Burke about its proposal to act as a "mother ship" for smaller vessels. Under the proposal from Seafish Tasmania, small ships could transfer catches of mackerel and redbait to the Abel Tasman's large onboard freezer facilities for processing.










The disgusting consequences of plastic-bag bans

Ramesh Ponnuru - Bloomberg





Conservatives often point out that laws, no matter how benign they may appear, have unintended consequences. They can reverberate in ways that not many people foresaw and nobody wanted: Raising the minimum wage can increase unemployment; prohibition can create black markets. The efforts in many cities to discourage the use of plastic bags demonstrate that such unintended consequences can be, among other things, kind of gross.
















Euthanasia & Suicide

Innocents abroad - Lightweight politicians have written a lightweight report on euthanasia for Tasmanian voters


Michael Cook - MercatorNet





Tasmanians are once again gearing up for a debate over euthanasia. Labor Premier Lara Giddings and her Greens Deputy Nick McKim released a report yesterday arguing that euthanasia and assisted suicide are compassionate responses for “patients who are dying in prolonged suffering”. After a failed attempt in 2009, they hope that a revised private member’s bill will pass before the end of 2013.










WA Labor promises to fight for euthanasia

Herald Sun





West Australia's Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has promised to introduce a euthanasia bill to parliament if he wins the March 9 election and no one else puts forth the laws. Mr McGowan has been a vocal supporter of euthanasia for people who are terminally ill and says he sees it as a conscience issue rather than a political one. "I am of the view it should happen," he told ABC radio on Wednesday. Mr McGowan said he would like to see legislation during his term in government if he wins the election and would introduce it himself if no one else did, although it was not his highest priority.










Barriers preventing suicide attempts to be installed on Story Bridge

Andrew Macdonald - The Courier-Mail





Safety barriers will be installed on Brisbane's Story Bridge by mid 2014 in an effort to curb future suicide attempts. Brisbane City Council announced the decision on Wednesday after commissioning an independent report last February to examine ways of reducing opportunities for future incidents.














Human Rights

Free speech challenge to Australian vilification laws


Jo Coghlan - On Line Opinion





Brendan O'Connor, the newly announced Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, will likely defer to his predecessor Chris Bowen and allow controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders a visa to Australia this month. Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, who is Tony Abbott's parliamentary secretary, has previously supported a bid by Wilders to visit on the grounds of free speech.It is unlikely the new Minister will meet Wilders to debate his views, which Bowen called offensive.












People power defeated Roxon's radical agenda

Janet Albrechtsen - The Australian





Less than two years in the job, the former federal attorney-general will leave parliament with a swan song that is hard to beat. Not only did Nicola Roxon prove to be Australia's most radical attorney-general with draft anti-discrimination laws that sought to render illegal opinions that were offensive and insulting. But her reluctant decision to scrap these provisions after a community backlash provides the perfect lesson in the power of ideas.
















Indigenous

Abbott, Gillard unite on grog bans


Patricia Karvelas - The Australian





Tony Abbott has joined Prime Minister Julia Gillard in denouncing the Northern Territory Government's decision to scrap the banned drinkers register in the top end. The move signals the Opposition leader is prepared to take a tough line on alcohol and confront his political colleagues in the states and territories on the divisive issue.














Marriage

UK move spurs new Greens push for gay marriage


Stephanie Peatling - SMH





The Greens will introduce an updated marriage equality bill into the Senate after the British House of Commons voted in favour of extending equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. The bill was passed on Tuesday in London after the Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, allowed his MPs a conscience vote.
















UK: Gay marriage: ban on same sex church weddings 'may not be legally watertight'


Telegraph





The Church of England may not be safe from court challenges forcing it to conduct gay marriage as there is "no unanimous" legal opinion on the issue, a research briefing for MPs says.












UK: Gay marriage: Tory MP Sir Roger Gale calls for Cameron rethink

BBC





Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale has said he hopes the the prime minister will make changes to the legislation allowing gay marriage in England and Wales. The Commons voted in favour of the The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by 400 to 175, a majority of 225. ''There are a huge number of people who are very concerned indeed,'' Sir Roger Gale said.












UK: Tories give Lords a signal to create trouble over gay marriage

Gary Gibbon Blog





Looks like David Cameron failed to get a majority of his own MPs in the gay marriage vote. Some 139 Tories voted against him. Around 30 abstained. Only 1 2 I’m told voted with the PM. That’s at the worst end of expectations and is a giant signal to the Lords to create trouble when the bill gets there. It’s a massive piece of disobedience to the leader’s call to arms and will feed into growing perceptions of the Tories as divided.












UK: A liberal Lords or Backwoodsmen?

Politics Home





There is a lot of chatter around that the equal marriage bill now risks getting bogged down in the Lords. The idea of Tory 'backwoodsmen' digging in to prevent change is tempting for MPs and journalists alike. But perhaps the Upper House is actually more liberal than many think? For one thing, the large majority in the Commons tonight makes it difficult for the Lords to defy its will. Yet the raw arithmetic on the red benches is also important. Even if 120 Tory peers plus a few dozen crossbenchers and Labour peers vote against the bill, that could see an overall 'No' vote of around 170.














Politics

Night the PM knifed me


Samantha Maiden - The Daily Telegraph





Dumped Labor Senator Trish Crossin has revealed the brutal details of the night her political career was terminated at Lodge in an "unfair dismissal" including the moment the Prime Minister told her: "I am offering you nothing." Senator Crossin, who will be awarded a taxpayer-funded pension for life when she leaves politics at the next election has confirmed she asked the Prime Minister for an appointment to a board or an ambassadorship on learning she would be dumped, a suggestion that was angrily rebuffed by the Prime Minister.
















Refugees

O'Connor to visit Nauru amid rape, self-harm claims


Karen Barlow - ABC





New Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor says he will visit the Nauru detention centre to personally investigate claims of self-harm and rape. An Australian nurse who worked in centre last year says she saw several people attempt suicide and heard stories of gang rapes at the centre. Mr O'Connor says the accounts are disturbing. He says the Government will work with the United Nations, Nauru and Papua New Guinea to prevent such things happening.
















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Muslim Persecution of Christians: December, 2012


Raymond Ibrahim - Gatestone Institute





As usual, the month of Christmas saw an uptick in Christian persecution under Islam, in a variety of forms, from insults to murders. In Iran, Pastor Youssef Nadarkhani—after being imprisoned and tormented for years for converting to Christianity, then recently released thanks to international pressure—was rearrested again, on Christmas Day, to serve the remainder of his 45 days, which the court had earlier decreed could be served in the form of probation. In Syria, near Christmas, Islamic rebels beheaded Andrei Arbashe, a 38-year-old Christian man, and fed his body to dogs. In Nigeria, Christmas mass celebrations in several churches, were, once again, turned into scenes of carnage; and in Pakistan, Christians spent yet another "Dark Christmas."
















Other

The beauty of Christ


Peter Sellick - On Line Opinion





Following my brief analysis of the situation of the Church in late Modernity I left hanging the question, "What Now?" Given that the concepts that are central to the Christian faith are now no longer shared with many or most in our society, what does the Church have to do on Sunday morning to break through the impasse? The Church growth movements of the 80s and 90s concentrated on managerial solutions to congregational malaise. While some of this was useful it did not address the key causes of the Church's alienation from its surrounding culture; the seismic shift of our understanding of what it means to be human.