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

Pro-life advocates rally against abortion


Dominic Cansdale - Brisbane Times





Pro-life advocates have held a major rally in Brisbane's central business district. Abortions are illegal in Queensland under legislation based on the English Parliament's 1861 Offences Against the Persons Act. However, the procedure can be performed if a pregnancy places a woman's mental or physical health at risk.
















UK: Dozens of abortions carried out on foetuses with minor imperfections such as cleft lip or club foot

Becky Evans - Daily Mail





Foetuses are being aborted for minor and treatable imperfections such as cleft lip and palate or club foot every year in the UK. New research suggests that dozens of abortions are carried out but the reasons are not being officially recorded. Health bosses have admitted there may be 'discrepancies' in their records after European monitoring group Eurocat found the number of abortions for minor abnormalities could be up to three times as high as official statistics show.














Drugs & Alcohol

Drugs menace is a great game


Editorial - Herald Sun





Fears about developing drug use in the AFL have now enveloped Essendon, one of the oldest and proudest clubs in the competition. Yesterday's admission by Essendon officials that they have referred possible performance-enhancing drug use for investigation came only hours after the Herald Sun was told the club had no such concerns. We asked about the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs by players. After denying any knowledge of drug issues at Essendon, the club later expressed concern to the AFL and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.












Medical marijuana a sensible step back from past paranoia

Desmond Manderson - SMH





The NSW upper house is considering legalising the medical use of cannabis. This reflects increasing recognition of the benefits of marijuana use in some cases, and comes after dramatic changes in the US where 18 states now allow it in certain circumstances - a milestone in undoing the catastrophic experiment known as drug prohibition.














Euthanasia

Ethics taken out of euthanasia debate


Rosemary Bolger - The Examiner





After promising it for 2 1/2 years, Lara Giddings and Nick McKim (acting as individual MPs, not government or party leaders) have finally handed down a discussion paper outlining their proposed model for voluntary euthanasia. But not everything is up for a discussion. They want feedback on the model, not a general debate on the issue. The reason, according to Mr McKim, is because that part of the discussion is over. Opinion polls show 80 per cent of the community want law reform in this area.












How my mother died

Tom Mortier - MercatorNet





A mentally-ill Belgian woman sought euthanasia to escape her problems. The doctors told her, sure, why not? Since 2002 a law was passed in Belgium that allowed people to be euthanased when they were suffering intractable and unbearable pain. Today euthanasia is more often granted to people suffering from mental illnesses like chronic depression, schizophrenia, chronic anorexia nervosa and borderline personality disorder, etc.
















Gambling

Election market shut down after flurry of mystery bets


Simon Benson - The Daily Telegraph





A major betting agency was forced to shut down an online market for the federal election date just hours before Julia Gillard made the shock announcement last week, after a flurry of mysterious bets. Sportsbet confirmed that it had become suspicious when a high volume of small bets began to flood in on for a September election date last Wednesday morning, for no apparent reason. Only a handful of people were said to be in the loop on Ms Gillard's plan, including several ministers, some staff, the independents and the Greens.


















Indigenous

Time for health vision to be reality


Jody Broun and Mick Gooda - Canberra Times





The Prime Minister will deliver her report to Parliament on Wednesday on progress towards closing the gap. The speeches from Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott offer an unparalleled opportunity for all political parties to restate their commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality. In this election year, it is vital that all sides of politics at all levels strengthen their commitments to closing the gap by 2030. Long-term commitments to programs and services will provide surety and results that are literally a matter of life and death for our peoples.














Marriage

British MPs approve gay marriage law


AAP





British MPs have voted in favour of legislation allowing gay marriage despite a split in Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party. Members of parliament voted by 400 to 175 to approve the draft law allowing same-sex couples to marry in England and Wales. In a late intervention just two hours before MPs voted, Cameron made a televised statement to say the move was about "making our society stronger". But Conservative opponents to the bill had spoken out angrily in the debate before the vote, arguing that they undermined marriage and could damage the party's prospects at the next general election in 2015.












Shape or be shaped: Christians in an era of marriage decline

Carolyn Moynihan - MercatorNet





The religious lives of young people are being damaged by family breakdown, a new report shows. How will churches respond? Christians throughout the West are dismayed at plummeting church attendance figures. They blame video games, or left-wing teachers, or Richard Dawkins. But perhaps the real answer is closer to home -- their own families. Divorce, single motherhood and cohabitation have been destabilising family life in America and other developed countries for decades. About one million children in the US each year experience the divorce of their parents, and more than half the children born to women under 30 are now born outside marriage. Reproductive technologies are also adding ambiguity -- and potential fault lines -- to family relationships.












Vatican signals options for legal protection of gay couples

Catholic News





A high-ranking Vatican official has voiced support for giving unmarried couples some kind of legal protection even as he reaffirmed the Catholic church's opposition to same-sex marriage, reports The Religion News Service on NCR Online. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, also said on Monday the church should do more to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in countries where homosexuality is illegal.




















Overseas Aid

Australia set to rejoin UN aid agency


NineMSN





Australia is likely to rejoin the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) despite the federal opposition's objections to the move. Australia was a founding member of the United Nations aid agency but pulled out in 2004 because of governance concerns. The federal government last year announced it would rejoin IFAD, which is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries after it had implemented major reforms. It has pledged $126.4 million over four years from 2012/13.












Politics

Labor mates snowed under by Eddie Obeid's generosity


Kate McClymont, Linton Besser, Sean Nicholls - SMH





Three of Labor's most senior politicians - the federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, and the NSW Opposition Leader, John Robertson - have been dragged into a corruption probe after admitting they accepted lavish ski trips from the ALP powerbroker Eddie Obeid. In his final moments in the witness box at the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Tuesday, Mr Obeid named six senior Labor figures he said had accepted thousands of dollars worth of hospitality from his family at a lodge in the Perisher ski resort.










Thomson set to face court for first time

ABC





Former Labor MP turned crossbencher Craig Thomson is due to appear in a Melbourne court today where he will be formally charged with 150 counts of fraud. Thomson was arrested last week after a long-running investigation by Victoria Police into his alleged misuse of union funds. He says he is innocent and will contest the charges.
















Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Woman told to use tea in sex act: court


Isabel Hayes - AAP





One of several women allegedly forced into sexual servitude at a Sydney brothel was told she had to perform a sex act involving ice cubes and green tea, a court has heard. One of the alleged victims, known only as Witness A, told the District Court in Sydney on Tuesday that she was not allowed to select her customers or the hours she worked when she came to Sydney from Malaysia in September 2008.












Refugees

Manus Island children draw on desolation of detention


Bianca Hall - SMH





In her childish self-portrait, the 12-year-old girl's cheeks are streaked with tears as she stands forlornly beside a purple, boarded-up school. A lone palm tree is the only clue to her location: Papua New Guinea's Manus Island processing centre. On Monday, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young released drawings done by some of the 34 children in the island's camp to the media, saying they backed a scathing report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released on Monday, which expressed grave concerns for the plight of the children on the island.














Religious Freedom & Persecution

Bringing Jesus to the Super Bowl


Larry Taunton - USA Today





A scantily clad Kardashian or Danica tottering around in stilettos? No problem. Taking Jesus' name not in vain, however, was going too far.










Muslim fundamentalists driving Christians from Libya

All Voices





In an interview with the Vatican missionary news agency Fides, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Giovanni Martinelli, claimed that Christians are being driven out of the eastern Libya area of Cyrenaica by Muslim fundamentalists Vicar Martinelli called the situation "critical" and the "atmosphere very tense". Martinelli said that two religious communities had already left after pressure from fundamentalists. The Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi had been advised to take shelter before a large-scale demonstration scheduled for February 20. Martinelli said: "In past days, the Congregation of the Holy Family of Spoleto who had been there for nearly 100 years were forced to abandon Derna.
















Other

How can Christians influence the Boy Scouts?

Jim Denison - Christian Post





The Boy Scouts of America have excluded gays from membership or leadership since the inception of the organization in 1910. The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that they have a legal right to continue this position. The Scouts reaffirmed this policy just last year. However, companies such as shipping giant UPS, drug manufacturer Merck, and the United Way have stopped or postponed donations as long as their no-gays policy is in force.
















Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, on Fox News: Boy Scouts of America proposed policy change

FRC - Fox News





Family Research Council President Tony Perkins appeared on Fox News 3 February 2013 to discuss the Boy Scouts of America's proposed policy change which would remove the restriction on homosexual Scout leaders and Scouts.












The search for a godless vision of morality in Australian politics

Mitchell Landrigan - Online Opinion





Julia Gillard took office as Prime Minister as an atheist. This statement might be unremarkable except that her appointment as Prime Minister heralded an end to a sustained period of Christian leadership by her predecessors, Kevin Rudd and before him, John Howard. On two political issues – gay marriage and asylum seekers – the Prime Minister's stance has perhaps led to confusion in the electorate about the ethical framework that guides the Prime Minister's decision-making.










Washington state considers gender-neutral language bill

Rachel La Corte - Associated Press





In Washington state, dairymen, freshmen and even penmanship could soon be things of the past. Over the past six years, state officials have engaged in the onerous task of changing the language used in the state's copious laws, including thousands of words and phrases, many written more than a century ago when the idea of women working on police forces or on fishing boats wasn't a consideration.










Live-on-the dole MP shuns cattle class

VexNews





Adam Bandt finished up his live-on-the-dole week by reaching the conclusion that his policy prescriptions were correct. Naturally, he wants more taxpayers’ money spent although hasn’t proposed how it would be funded. It doesn’t matter because it’s just a thought-bubble. This very morning, Bandt flew from Melbourne to Canberra on Qantas flight 804, arriving at 8.17am. He flew in seat 2A, business class. The cost of the business class seat is listed on Webjet at $737. One-way.