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.
Bishops join anti-abortion protests
Calla Wahlquist - The Examiner
Politicians have been lobbied by anti-abortion groups since Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne released a private members bill proposing the law change two weeks ago. On Wednesday, a silent protest by 80 people was held outside her Launceston office in opposition to the laws. Abortion is a crime in Tasmania but medical terminations may be performed at any time if two doctors certify that it is necessary to avert a physical or psychological risk to the woman.
Hospitals refuse late abortions
Vulnerable women seeking late-term abortions are being turned away from hospitals because doctors are refusing to perform the procedure unless the foetus has a genetic abnormality. Women's rights campaigners say that five years after Victoria decriminalised abortion, access to late-stage terminations for the most vulnerable patients - including rape victims and the intellectually disabled - has never been more restricted.
Donor Conception & Surrogacy
Surrogacy's painful path to parenthood
Julia Medew - The Age
When Sam Everingham employed an Indian surrogate to carry a child for him in 2009, he never imagined losing two baby boys in a Delhi hospital - nor terminating multiple pregnancies in women he did not know. Yet these are some of the painful memories he and his partner Phil Copeland carry after spending four years navigating India's unregulated surrogacy system. While the couple now have two healthy daughters, Ruby and Zoe, they say Australians should know about the moral, legal and financial risks in the booming global market.
Drugs & Alcohol
Young people who get drunk aware of risk of sex attack
Amy Corderoy - Sydney Morning Herald
Unwanted sexual encounters and unsafe sex are rife among drinkers and drug users, a survey has found. Nearly one in four of the 6605 Australian respondents to the Global Drug Survey said they had been taken advantage of sexually because they were vulnerable after consuming drugs or alcohol.
Earth Hour is environmental tokenism
Sonia Bowditch - Online Opinion
Started in Australia in 2007, Earth Hour is now embraced by over one billion people in 152 countries. That’s a lot of people wanting to make a difference. It’s indicative that hope for action on climate change is growing – and that is a good thing. However, taking a look at how the Earth Hour campaign came into being and what it has (not) achieved in its six years reveals that it may not be the smartest way to galvanise people into taking action on global warming.
Homelessness & Poverty
Cleaning our streets of beggars: our third world
Lyn Bender - Online Opinion
Pope Francis 1 has chosen his name in honour of St Francis Of Assisi, who cared for the poor , but do we? I pass them every day, on the streets of Melbourne. Sometimes I am one amongst the many who barely give them a second glance. At other times I stoop to drop coins in their polystyrene cup, or the traditionally upturned hat. They are the professional beggars of Melbourne, so called, by Robert Doyle. They are to be brought before the courts and put on diversionary programs. He aims to revitalize the streets. These are the same streets where the laneways emit the unmistakeable aroma and reveal the debris of the cashed up late night revellers.
Free haircuts leave homeless feeling groomy amid welcome festival fun
Carolyn Webb - The Age
Few community festivals offer you a dental check-up, free books and plants and a vet session for your dog along with bands and food. Where the Heart Is could be Melbourne's most exclusive event - it's run by the Royal District Nursing Service for homeless people only. In its 10th year, the event, held all day Friday at Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy, was strictly alcohol free. But it boasted free entry, free food and drink and free services such as massages, photography and dog grooming; the services were provided by 174 volunteers.
Police clash with anti-gay marriage protesters in Paris
French police used tear gas and batons to remove hundreds of protesters against a proposed gay marriage law who had gathered on the Champs-Élysées in Paris late on Sunday. Earlier, police had banned tens of thousands of protesters who staged a march against same-sex marriage from entering the famed avenue. A hugely controversial bill to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption has been comfortably passed by the lower chamber of parliament and will go to the senate for examination and approval in April.
Gay marriage debate hits US Supreme Court
Chantal Valery - AAP
The US Supreme Court will consider the divisive issue of legalising same-sex marriage, in a hotly anticipated hearing next week that could have historic consequences for American family life. Although gay couples are barred from marrying in 41 out of 50 US states, including some where bans were enacted by popular vote, polls show more Americans than ever - 58 per cent in one recent survey - support same-sex marriages.
Knot Yet: putting the baby carriage before marriage
Barbara Ray - Mercator Net
A profound shift is happening in America. Somewhere around 2000, the country quietly reached a tipping point: women, in a trend driven largely by “middle-American” women, collectively began putting the baby carriage before marriage. In fact, for women on the whole, the age of first birth is now 25.7 while the age at first marriage is 26.5. Let that sink in a moment. And here’s another startling fact: one in two mothers in America is now having a baby first and marrying later, if at all.
Rob Bell's recipe for spiritual disaster
Michael Brown - Charisma News
In the midst of his announcement on Sunday that he now supports same-sex marriage, Rob Bell warned American evangelicals to “adapt or die.” His counsel, intended to be helpful, is actually a guaranteed formula for failure and a proven recipe for disaster. In fact, the only way for us to make a lasting impact on the culture and maintain a relevant witness to society is to do the opposite of what Bell advised.
Labor woes may stifle Gillard's hopes for clear air
James Glenday - ABC
Senior Labor ministers are hoping this week's leadership spill and subsequent resignations will give Julia Gillard clear air to sell the party's message. But some supporters say uniting a divided party will be extremely difficult this close to an election, and analysts are predicting more leadership troubles if the party slips further in the polls.
Prostitution & Sex Trafficking
Rapist allegedly running a brothel
Yoni Bashan - The Daily Telegraph
A high-profile sex offender who wears an ankle bracelet and is monitored 24 hours a day has been arrested after allegedly running a suspected brothel right under the nose of Corrective Service authorities. The man, who cannot be named because he is on the sex offender register, was arrested last week during search warrants on his Maroubra home and a "massage" parlour based in Drummoyne. Business records show the venue was registered in his name last June, but despite being one of the most watched men in NSW, the alleged breach was only identified this month.
Asylum seeker numbers rise by more than a third
Ben Doherty - The Age
The number of people arriving in Australia to claim asylum jumped by more than a third last year, driven by a spike in numbers from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2012, 15,800 people claimed asylum in Australia, up 37 per cent from 2011. Afghan nationals (3079) and Sri Lankans (2345) accounted for more than a third of asylum seekers to reach Australian shores. The increase in Sri Lankans travelling to Australia by boat attracted intense public and political interest last year.
Religious Freedom & Persecution
Pakistan ‘blasphemy’ girl facing prison; mother death sentence
Stefan J. Bos - BosNewsLife
Pakistani authorities have reopened a trial against a mentally challenged Christian girl on charges of "blasphemy" while a Christian mother faces a possible death sentence for allegedly making "derogatory remarks" about Islam's prophet Mohammed, lawyers told BosNewsLife Saturday, March 23.
Indonesia: Batak church demolished by Bekasi government
Camelia Pasandaran, Jonathan G. Vit & Sandra Siagian - The Jakarta Globe
The congregation of Bekasi’s beleaguered HKBP Taman Sari church huddled close, forming a barrier between their church and the idling bulldozer sent to demolish their house of worship on Thursday. They sang tearful Batak hymns in the afternoon heat, wailing between the verses, as church member Megarenta Sihite shouted at the officers from the Bekasi District Public Order Agency.
Thousands of trapped Christians rescued in Sudan
Some 1,500 Christians trapped in Sudan are on their way to neighboring South Sudan, as part of a massive rescue operation dubbed 'Exodus', an aid group told BosNewsLife Thursday, March 21. The Christians bring the total of rescued believers under the program to roughly 3,800 – almost double the number originally planned, explained Barnabas Fund.
The trouble with atheism
Rod Liddle - SMH
From the highly-acclaimed Dispatches current affairs show comes a comprehensive look at the history of atheism and whether it can rightly be considered as the rational alternative to religion. Award-winning journalist Rod Liddle speaks to the world's most renowned scientists, theologians and philosophers and asks them the questions we have always wanted to ask ourselves. These include what happened before the Big Bang? Can Richard Dawkins really contend that the nature of our religious beliefs can best be compared to the spreading of a flu virus? Liddle weighs up the evidence from all sides and the answers that are presented throw up many thought-provoking arguments which reflect on our contemporary society, our history and human nature itself.
Christian resistance to the 'Cult of the Self'
Michael Stafford - ABC Religion and Ethics
The Cult of the Self is at the centre of the various economic, social and environmental problems our society faces - from abortion to the decline of the family to growing economic inequality and even global warming. Not surprisingly, the Cult of the Self is inextricably intertwined with our current form of late-modern extractive, exploitative, socially irresponsible capitalism. Indeed, our reckless banks and corporations are in some ways merely reflections of us. As Daniel Bell Jr. has ob erved in his book The Economy of Desire, they are idealised versions of our modern autonomous selves "writ large - self-interested and profit maximising."
Time poor Australians abandoning good manners
Petra Starke - News Limited Network
Nanna would be horrified: Aussies are abandoning good manners as work, relationships and family life leave us time-poor, frazzled and more inclined to be rude. New research shows we are abandoning common etiquette such as saying "please", "thank you" and even "hello'' as traditional signs of respect diminish in importance. Giving up one's seat to the elderly, holding a door open for women and not swearing in public are also on the wane, according to a survey of more than 500 people conducted by social analysts McCrindle Research.