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

Obama agency rules Pepsi use of cells derived from aborted fetus ‘ordinary business’


John-Henry Westen - Life Site News





The Pepsi Company, which is set to release the new product Pepsi Next in the coming weeks, is facing a more robust boycott as pro-life activists protest the company use of cells derived from an aborted fetus in flavor-enhancing research. But Pepsi has succeeded, with help from the Obama Administration, in keeping its controversial operations from consideration by its shareholders.














Children & Family

Catholic body calls for increase in minimum wage


Catholic News





The Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations (ACCER) has called on Fair Work Australia to increase the national minimum wage, claiming that current standards amount to "poverty wages" for low-income working families, reports The Catholic Weekly. The announcement was made at the launch of the organisation's Minimum Wage Submission on Mar. 6, ahead of Fair Work Australia's Annual Wage Review for 2012.
















Classification

PayPal tells publishers to pull 'obscene' E-Books


Rob Quinn - Newser





PayPal is overstepping the bounds of its role as a payment processor by trying to ban e-books it deems obscene, publishers and free speech groups complain. At least three online publishers and booksellers received emails warning them that their accounts will be "limited" unless they pull titles "containing themes of rape, incest, bestiality and underage subjects,"
















Education

Religious education discrimates against children of atheists, court told


Norrie Ross - Herald Sun





Religious education in primary schools imposes a burden on teachers and discriminates against the children of atheists, a tribunal was told today. Barrister Melinda Richards said children whose parents did not want them to receive Christian religious instruction were segregated from their classmates and given meaningless tasks to pass the time.












What’s going on at VCAT?

Meredith Doig - Online Opinion





Over the last few days in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), three parents whose children have suffered from the divisive way Special Religious Instruction (SRI) is administered in Victoria have bravely weathered relentless cross examination of their evidence from the Education Department’s barrister.












Environment

Health of Great Barrier Reef being assessed


Amy McCosker - ABC





The environmental arm of UNESCO is in central Queensland this week to assess the health of the Great Barrier Reef. There's been allegations of industry poisoning water in Gladstone and dead fish have been found. United Nations environmental investigators are assessing gas and port developments in the city.










C-word a turnoff public tells Canberra

Daniel Flitton - SMH





Labor's planned advertising blitz to sell the benefits of a carbon tax has hit a snag - the word "carbon" is a turn-off for the public. The Age has learnt the Gillard government has begun market-testing slogans for ads to coincide with the mid-year introduction of the carbon tax. A fresh wave of television and print ads are being considered to ensure public awareness of the financial compen-sation after the carbon price commences on July 1.












Homelessness

Very short step into poverty and despair for former policewoman Anna Hamilton


John Rolfe - The Daily Telegraph





Anna Hamilton is not that different from you. Except that until last week she was sleeping rough - rejected by a bureaucracy that homelessness groups say is tightening the purse strings. This story may leave you thinking she's too normal to be on the streets. But Ms Hamilton is the changing face of homelessness. And were it not for coincidence, she could be dead.


















Indigenous

Premier Anna Bligh in row over suggestion votes of Aboriginal people can be bought with alcohol


Courier Mail





Premier Anna Bligh has outraged and offended indigenous leaders by suggesting the votes of Aboriginal people can be bought with alcohol. Cherbourg Mayor Sam Murray says Ms Bligh's comments class all Aborigines as drinkers. Aboriginal activist Gracelyn Smallwood said the Premier's remarks were "obscene''. Ms Bligh on Thursday accused Liberal National Party (LNP) leader Campbell Newman of trying to "buy Aboriginal votes with grog''.












Marriage

On Wednesday night ACL's Lyle Shelton spoke on the "Richo" show on Sky News with Alex Greenwich about marriage.

The 11-minute segment is available to view on YouTube.







Catholic leader rallies Church to oppose gay marriage plans

Christian Today





The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales is to call upon churchgoers to take a stand against the Government’s plans to legalise gay marriage. Archbishop Vincent Nichols has outlined his opposition in a pastoral letter to be read out during mass this Sunday. It warns that the proposal “threatens the true meaning of a sacred union” and signals a “profoundly radical step” that will strip marriage of its “distinctive nature”.










Arguments defending children's rights over same-sex couples' rights

The Australian Family Association





Marriage between one man and one woman actually makes sense. It ensures the right of children to be raised by their biological mum and dad, and for children to know their family history, their medical history and to explore Ancestory.com to know their ancestors. This right of children is fundamental to their identity, to their health and happiness.
















Politics

Newman shuns marriage equality meeting


Nathan Paull and Kym Agius - NineMSN





Liberal National Party (LNP) leader Campbell Newman may agree to kiss another man if the price is right, but he won't attend a meeting about marriage equality for same-sex couples. Mr Newman jokingly told reporters on Thursday he would kiss federal opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey if he "reaches the reserve price".




















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Syrian Christians worry about life after Bashar Assad


Alexandra Zavis - Los Angeles Times





Reporting from Damascus, Syria— For 40 years, Um Michael has found comfort and serenity amid the soaring pillars and ancient icons of St. Mary's Greek Orthodox cathedral. But as a priest offered up a prayer for peace one recent Sunday, the 70-year-old widow dabbed tears from her eyes. "I was wishing that life would go back to the way it used to be," she said.










Islamists in Egypt use rumors to attack Christians

Dan Wooding - ASSIST Ministries & Compass Direct





Compass Direct News (CDN) is reporting that tensions remain high in an Egyptian village where as many as 5,000 mostly Salafi Muslims went on a rampage over a false rumor that a church was holding a girl against her will in order to convert her back to Christianity. Dismissing media reports of 20,000 rioting Muslims, sources told Compass that between 2,000 and 5,000 hardline Muslims, most of them from the Salafi movement, last month harassed Christian villagers in in the Nile Delta, attacked a church building to “save” the girl, damaged a priest’s house and then destroyed his car.
















Refugees

Protest refugees accepted


Kirsty Needham - The Age





Australia has accepted for resettlement another 23 Tamil refugees from the group involved in a standoff on a boat diverted to Indonesia in 2009 at the request of Kevin Rudd. A total of 38 refugees from the boat, which carried 254 asylum seekers en route to Australia when it was diverted to the Indonesian port of Merak, will now be resettled here, an Immigration Department spokesman confirmed.


















Sexualisation of Society

Airborne porn causes stir


Bill Bumpas - OneNewsNow





An anti-pornography organization says reaction to a recent incident on an airplane demonstrates the type of heavy attack the group receives from the porn industry and those who support it. Morality in Media's (MIM) Dawn Hawkins says she was exposed to child-themed pornography on a Delta flight to Texas last month when a man in front of her was openly viewing it on his iPad. She asked him to put it away, and even asked for help from a flight attendant, but to no avail. Following the incident, she made a YouTube video detailing her experience.












Porn is not free

Regis Nicoll - Link Zone





Porn is big business. With annual revenues exceeding $13 billion in the United States and $97 billion worldwide, the porn industry is bigger than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix, and EarthLink combined. Clearly, the appetite for smut is voracious. But is that a bad thing? Many would argue no. According to a 2003 survey by the Barna Group, 38 percent of adults believe that there is nothing morally wrong with viewing sexually explicit material. What's more, a 2005 Harris poll showed that 23 percent believe that there should be no restrictions on porn or its access, despite its increasingly graphic content and under-age subjects.












Other

Bickering wives plagued Bin Laden's last days


Mary Papenfuss - Newser





Not all was domestic bliss for the polygamous Osama bin Laden before he checked out. The bickering of three wives haunted the final days of the al-Qaeda leader, who appeared far older than his age at the time of his death, according to a new report. Bin Laden mostly stayed holed up on the top floor of his Pakistani compound with his fifth wife, the youngest and his favorite wife, and another spouse.