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.




US States make headway on abortion restriction

Cheryl Wetzstein - The Washington Times

At least 75 bills to restrict abortion passed one state legislative chamber in the first quarter of 2012, the Guttmacher Institute said Friday. While this wasn’t quite the flurry seen in 2011, when a record 127 abortion-restricting bills passed one chamber, it was “still higher than usual for an election year,” the research group said. As of April 1, nine bills had been enacted, it added.

Children & Family

Understanding families of children with disabilities

Health Canal

In his recently published book, Family Consequences of Children’s Disabilities, Dennis Hogan offers the first comprehensive account of families of children with disabilities. He talked with Courtney Coelho about his findings, including some of the more surprising ways having a child with a disability can affect the family structure.


UK: MPs call for automatic block on all online porn to stop the surge in children watching adult material

Gerri Peev - Daily Mail

Internet users should automatically be blocked from accessing pornography at home to stop the surge in children seeing adult material, MPs will demand today. Anyone wanting to view hardcore images online should have to ‘opt out’ of a special filter, according to the panel of MPs and peers looking into child protection. Their report said that six out of ten children download adult material because their parents have not installed filters. The use of protective filters in homes has fallen from 49 per cent to 39 per cent in the last three years.

Breivik may be living a fantasy

Canberra Times

A witness in the Anders Behring Breivik case believes he could not distinguish reality from computer games.

Drugs & Alcohol

Addiction to opioids has higher risk of death than alcohol or other drugs

News Medical

People with an opioid addiction had the highest risk of death when compared with rates for alcohol and other drugs, according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). For those dependent on opioids, the risk of death was 5.71 times higher than healthy individuals in the population of the same age, gender and race. Those with methamphetamine use disorders were next highest with a 4.67-fold risk, followed by those with addictions to cannabis (3.85), alcohol (3.83) and cocaine (2.96). Alcohol dependence was related to the highest number of deaths overall.


UK energy quest embraces a great frack record

Michael Hanlon - SMH

The name fracking is, perhaps, unfortunate. And the company hoping to exploit the technology in Britain sounds more like a sci-fi monster than an energy company. Earthquakes and tales of flame-spewing bath taps do not help. Yet the controversial technique of fracking, which is used to blast hydrocarbon fuels from rock deep underground, promises (say its fans) to solve Britain's energy crisis, slash its carbon emissions and to turn the Lancashire Riviera into an unlikely new Arabia. This week, a report commissioned by the UK government recommended that fracking for natural shale gas should be allowed to resume.


Warning from Wilkie as pokie reform talks close to collapse

Phillip Coorey - The Age

Talks between the government and Andrew Wilkie on watered down poker machine reforms are on the brink of collapse, prompting the Tasmanian independent to warn he will be a ''ticking time bomb'' for the government if no deal is reached.


Twelve beds to a room: life in a boarding house a creeping reality

Miki Perkins - SMH

Sleeping rough, dossing in hostels and staying in dozens of Melbourne rooming houses — in 12 years of back and forth between prison and the streets Danny has unenviable experience of housing available to those who live on the margins. But it may surprise some that his worst experiences were in the rooming houses — one had 12 beds in a room, another no cooking facilities or fire alarms and yet another was riddled with lice and bed bugs.


How the tables have turned: the night intolerance came to dinner with Tony Abbott

Greg Sheridan - The Australian

Dining in the heart of Greens MP Adam Bandt's seat, Tony Abbott might not have expected the support he got from Lygon Street customers last Sunday night. If Labor and the Greens are losing in Melbourne's Carlton, the government really may be in for an electoral Armageddon. That strikes me as the only long-term political point to take out of an unpleasant little kerfuffle in Melbourne last Sunday night, when I had dinner with the Opposition Leader . . . . the champions of equality and tolerance continued screaming and began banging on the windows.

A court’s conundrum: When same-sex partners want to split

Ellen McCarthy - Washington Post

When Jessica Port showed up in court Friday to pursue a divorce, she first stopped to consult with her lawyer. Then she crossed the room to hug her ex, chatting happily until it was time to be seated. The electronic board outside the courtroom identified the case as “No. 69, Jessica Port v. Virginia Anne Cowan.” That title is misleading. Port and Cowan are on the same side of this case: They both want to get divorced. But a Prince George’s County judge said they could not, reasoning that because same-sex marriage is not legal in the state, neither is same-sex divorce.


NBN alternative a huge saving, says Turnbull

Bianca Hall - SMH

Many of the benefits of the national broadband network could be delivered for one-third to one-quarter of the price, the opposition communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, will tell telecommunication business leaders today.

Bligh Government spent $300,000 a day on advertising during final three months in office

Steven Wardill - The Courier-Mail

More than $300,000 a day was being spent by the Bligh Government on advertising during its ill-fated final three months in office. Figures released to The Courier-Mail have revealed $21 million was tipped into advertising in the first quarter of 2012. In the final six months of 2011, a further $45 million was spent on advertising despite the Budget hurtling towards a $4 billion deficit at that stage.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

New Zealand researchers predict brothels will offer robot prostitutes by 2050

Staff Writers -

In the future brothels will serve-up robot prostitutes offering clean, guilt-free sex, say researchers. The prediction was made in a research paper examining what the sex industry will be like in the year 2050.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Country of Concern: Turkey suppressing Christian worship

Gary Lane - CBN News

The Protestant churches of Turkey documented 12 attacks in 2011. This included the beating of Christians for sharing their faith with Muslims. No one has been prosecuted for any of these crimes, putting Turkey on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's list of "countries of particular concern" (CPC) for the first time. Nina Shea, one of the commissioners supporting that move, said the Turkish government is suppressing Christian worship, and as a result Christian numbers are dwindling.

Religious Education now includes Paganism, Witchcraft in UK schools

Stoyan Zaimov - Christian Post

While Christianity will remain the dominant focus at Cornwall Council schools, students will now also learn about the ancient druid beliefs of the British Isles that thrived before Christianity, aspects of witchcraft, and the worship of gods from various regions, the Daily Mail reported. The syllabus, put forth by Cornwall's advisory group, makes it clear that students ages 5 and above will learn mostly about Christianity, but 40 percent of the other religious material will be devoted to non-Christian and pagan beliefs.


Parramatta welcomes new refugees

Lisa Upton - SBS

A special ceremony has been held in Sydney's west to welcome the newest group of refugees to be integrated into the community. In Parramatta today, there was a dance to welcome Australia's newest arrivals.

From Burma to Bunbury: refugees may be resettled in WA coastal town

Debbie Guest - The Australian

Burmese refugees could soon be making their new home in the West Australian coastal town of Bunbury under a plan being considered by the Gillard government. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is in talks with the town's mayor to resettle about eight Burmese families by the end of the year. Another 20 to 30 families could follow next year and in the years after.

Sexualisation of Society

Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept: new book to help parents and kids discuss inappropriate touch

Melinda Tankard Reist

An interview with Jayneen Sanders. I’m often asked for resources for children to help them protect them from possible sexual abuse. There has been nothing I could recommend. Until now. Melbourne author, primary school teacher and mother, Jayneen Sanders, has filled the gap by publishing a picture book for children titled Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept. The book is designed to help parents and all who care for children.


Don't single out church over abuse: Abbott


Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has embraced the Victorian Government's parliamentary inquiry into clergy abuse, but has warned against singling out the Catholic Church. Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu yesterday announced an inquiry would be held after a police report uncovered dozens of suicides linked to child abuse by Catholic clergy. Mr Abbott says child abuse is "a terrible blot on society" that has to be eliminated but the blame should not be solely directed at the church.

Charles Darwin, biologist, botanist and racist

Matt Busby Andrews - The Punch

Exactly thirteen decades ago, in Down House Cottage, Kent, a coughing Charles Darwin bravely told his wife and children, “I am not the least afraid to die.” For an educated man, one had an embarrassingly narrow view of the world. Later that day, the world said goodbye to its most important biologist. The world’s thinkers are still surfing the ripples in his wake. Not least, Professor Richard Dawkins. Like his hero, Dawkins is disproportionately influential because he enjoys speaking about things well outside his discipline.