The non-church replies
The central aim of Christians, starting from Christ himself has always been to lead people to salvation from "kolasin", the everlasting cutting off (Matt. 25:46). We know what John 3:16 says: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that those who believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life". Being saved into eternal life is the basic Christian offering. But the very word "salvation" is not mentioned below. The only mentions of anything religious are the two vague phrases: "faith and life in Christ" and: "the way of Christ in the mission of God.".
The accusations aimed at the
Today’s Daily Telegraph has run a series of inaccurate and vexatious news items about the Uniting Church and our Uniting community services agency in NSW and the ACT. The accusation on the front page of the newspaper that the Church is removing Christ and religious symbols is totally incorrect.
The explicit Christian commitment to people in the care of Uniting Church agencies remains the same as it has for the last 40 years. Our Church, since its beginning, has borne witness to a unity of faith and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and racial boundaries. The work of our agencies is a crucial expression of our continuing faith and mission. The Uniting agency in NSW and the ACT states clearly on its website "Christ invites us to serve humanity by creating an inclusive, connected and just world."
Uniting, the largest provider of social services in NSW and the ACT, changed its brand name last year. This decision was taken to ensure that awareness of our services reaches more of the vulnerable and disadvantaged people we seek to serve.
Preparation for moves towards the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the shift to self-managed care were important considerations in this decision. Other church agencies are considering adopting the Uniting brand.
The Daily Telegraph articles also misrepresent the Church’s very real concern for survivors of child sexual abuse. The suggestion that branding decisions are "a desperate bid to distance itself from child sex abuse scandals" is completely false and despicable.
The Uniting Church has acknowledged, apologised and expressed our deep regret to those children who were sexually abused in our care. We are committed to working with survivors to make amends for what happened in the past.
Our formal apologies to survivors predate the Royal Commission by many years. Yet the Daily Telegraph takes survivor group comments out of context to conflate an allegation about a "culture of denial". The representative quoted in the article has since verified to the Church that she told the journalist that she would not provide comment on specific institutions.
I would like to thank the many Uniting Church members and supporters who have condemned the Daily Telegraph for its disgraceful coverage. Their ongoing support and commitment is a significant endorsement of the effectiveness of our work as an inclusive justice-oriented Church seeking to follow the way of Christ in the mission of God. [Christ said to "seek first the kingdom of God" (Matt. 6:33). THAT is the way of Christ, not secular do-gooding]
Germany's top court rules Muslim schoolgirls MUST take part in mixed swimming lessons after pupil, 11, complained that even wearing a burkini was too revealing
Germany's highest court ruled that ultra-conservative Muslim girls must take part in mixed swimming classes at school.
It comes after an 11-year-old pupil who had argued that even wearing a burkini, or full-body swimsuit, breached Islamic dress codes.
The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe rejected an appeal by the girl's parents that she should be excused the classes because a burkini did not conform with Islam's ethic of decency, German media reported.
A spokesman for the court could not be reached for comment.
Germany is in the grip of a heated public debate about the role of Islam in society as it seeks to integrate more than a million mainly Muslim asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution who have entered this year and last.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose conservatives have been punished at the polls in regional elections by voters angry at her open-door policy, on Tuesday proposed a ban on full-face Muslim veils.
Her Christian Democrats, who have been bleeding support to the AfD, a populist party that says Islam is incompatible with the constitution, toughened their tone on integrating migrants at a party conference this week.
Wednesday's ruling could give more credibility to future attempts by the government to ban the full-face veil after a parliamentary election next year.
The girl had argued before lower courts that swimming in a burkini revealed the shape of her body, something that goes against her religion.
The Constitutional Court noted that lower courts had found this to be untrue, and further found there were 'no binding rules in Islam' to define appropriate clothing.
‘Ayatollahs of Secularism’: French Court Orders Mayor to Remove Virgin Mary Statue
A French senator has slammed what she called “ayatollahs of secularism” after a tribunal ordered the mayor of a small town near the Swiss border to remove a statue of the Virgin Mary, erected in a public park five years ago.
The mayor of Publier, a town of 6,500 inhabitants overlooking Lake Geneva Lake, received the order from the district’s administrative court in Grenoble, which said if the statue was not removed within three months, the city will have to pay a penalty of 100 Euros (around $107) per day.
Mayor Gaston Lacroix said in a statement he would look for a new location for the statue – on private land – as soon as possible.
“I am not deaf to the decisions of the administrative court,” he said. “For five years, I have never received any injunction from the state nor from any court. Now I have.”
Lacroix pointed out that as an elected mayor in France he is required to be “a guarantor of secularism.”
But Senator Nathalie Goulet of the center-right Union of Democrats and Independents slammed the court ruling, which followed complaints by secularists. “I call those so-called free thinkers the ‘ayatollah of secularism,’” she said in a phone interview.
“It is the same thing as forbidding Muslim women to wear a burkini on beaches as happened last August in southern France.,” Goulet added. “Does it mean that we have now to change names of streets in our cities because they are called Saint Dominique or any other saint’s name?”
Jacques Closterman of the far-right National Front also criticized the court ruling saying in a tweet that decisions of that nature represent “a new tyranny.”
Critics say Lacroix used public fund to erect the statue in a public park in 2010.
After a citizen complained, an association of activists advocating free thinking and secularism took up the case in a bid to compel the mayor to comply with secular law.
Lacroix sold the statue to a religious organization for 24,000 Euros ($25,800) – which went back into the city coffers – but tried without success to also get it to buy the piece of land where the statue stands.
Goulet said many French mayors finance church roofs or other religious building without any problem, although she admitted in most cases the buildings are considered national heritage.
“If the mayor built the statue with taxpayers’ money without any council debate then it is wrong,” she said. “But going to the courts to remove a statue of the Virgin Mary erected in a public park seems to me very intolerant.”
France has very strict secular laws passed in 1905 and incorporated into the 1958 constitution. Displaying religious symbols in public is banned.
Last year some city halls came under fire for having nativity scenes set up in their premises.
Although the practice had taken place in previous years without problems, this year, many city halls are being more discreet, moving the nativity scenes to alternative locations to avoid potential complaints.
Goulet said she opposed stopping the tradition because a few secularists complain.
She recalled having recently attended a ceremony in a village in her ward – some 200 kilometers east of Paris – where a veterans’ flag was blessed by the local bishop. She wondered how secularists would have reacted to that kind of ceremony.
The Left's Arrested Development
In the wake of Donald Trump's election victory, the emotional instability many leftists have demonstrated is mind-boggling and, in some cases, downright hysterical.
We get being disappointed when your candidate loses. After all, there was plenty of disappointment — and even some fear — among Liberty-loving conservatives when Barack Obama ascended to power with the promise to "fundamentally transform" the land of the free and the home of the brave. There was even more dismay when the country saw what Obama had done ... and re-elected him anyway.
But we didn't ditch dating, chop off our hair, or lose our faith because of it. Clearly, "progressives" are outdoing us in their post-election mourning.
So great was the grief of Trump's win for single mom Stephanie Land, for example, that she gave up dating. And not just in theory. She actually ditched a man who was a potentially promising husband. "There is no room for dating in this place of grief," Land wrote in the Washington Post. "I've lost the desire to attempt the courtship phase. The future is uncertain. I am not the optimistic person I was on the morning of Nov. 8. ... Dating means hope. I've lost that hope in seeing the words 'President-elect Trump.'" And so, Land told her almost-significant other, "I can't. I just can't". (Despite her emotional dependency on Hillary Clinton, Land apparently didn't embrace Clinton's mantra that we are "stronger together.")
Then, there is hair. And no, not Trump's. New York magazine details the "post-Trump haircut." One client at the Georgetown Salon & Spa told her stylist, "Think of Melania Trump and go in the opposite direction. I don't want to be that person people see as sexual, I want to be seen as strong." Meanwhile, marketing director Julianna Evans had colored her hair the same shade for years, but when "president-elect" was prefixed to Trump's name, she "cried for three days." Then, she did the unthinkable. Instead of using medium-brown coloring, she went for natural black! "The election deadened my soul," she said. "I think I wanted to do something defiant to feel stronger." Because in the age of gender equality and breaking glass ceilings, we women find our greatest strength in our hair color.
The strong, feminist women aren't alone in their despondency. Benjamin Ryan writes in the Huffington Post that he learned of Trump's victory "while midstream in providing a urine sample for the emergency psychiatric staff of a New York City public hospital" where he had checked himself in after the results from battleground states started coming in. Ryan was eventually sent home and told, "You don't belong here," yet he characterized himself as having suffered "a genuine mental health crisis." Notably, he is a self-described Ivy League graduate. Those bastions of reasoned discourse sure prepare folks for the real world.
Haircuts, dating and safe spaces are one thing, but losing your religious affiliation? That's what Trump's win supposedly did to Brandi Miller. As the Wall Street Journal reports, after the election, Miller wrote on Facebook, "On Nov. 8, white evangelical Christianity and I called it quits." She noted that as a biracial woman, she couldn't condone the racial divide highlighted by exit polling showing 81% of white evangelicals backed Trump. "Evangelicals have decided who and with what they will associate. It's not me." Miller still calls herself a Christian, but not evangelical.
At least one person is taking an ever so slightly more reasoned approach to the loss — which isn't saying much. Instead of peeing in a psychiatric ward, journalist Mark Weston is calling for mass tax evasion if a Republican ever again wins the presidency without winning the popular vote. Give us the president we want or else we... we... we... won't pay taxes! He waves the banner of "no taxation without representation" because, you know, the inability to handle disappointment is on par with pledging one's life, fortune, and sacred honor. And note the hypocrisy of crying that Trump didn't pay taxes, only to turn around and promise not to pay taxes.
Aside from leftists displaying the maturity level of a five-year-old, the irony of all this is that regardless of how much the Left may hate Trump and Republicans, the latter aren't the ones trying to micromanage everyone's lives. While under the next administration liberals may lose their supposed right not to get offended and their ability to try to control everything, they won't lose their Liberty or true rights. What's worse, they may even be forced to endure hearing opinions different from their own.
And for Hillary-worshipping, glass-ceiling-breaking damsels in distress everywhere — and for the metrosexual males too traumatized to rescue them — living through such hardship may require not just a new hair color but also a full mani-pedi.
Anger in Australia over welfare for multiple Muslim wives
Conservative MP Cory Bernardi says the payment of Centrelink spousal benefits to the wives of polygamous Muslim men is political correctness gone mad.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott called for action after learning about the issue, only to be told that it would cost more to pay them the single parent benefit, News Corp Australia reported on Sunday.
Centrelink said it did not hold data based on polygamous relationships or religion. The Islamic marriages are religious unions that are not registered.
"We are always told the data is not kept. I think that is a convenient excuse," Senator Bernardi told News Corp.
"(T)he lack of will to confront some individuals who seek to apply a different law to themselves means politicians are afraid to speak out."
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann dismissed the story, saying the government doesn't recognise multiple marriages. "The proposition that somehow the government is authorising polygamy, that is just completely ridiculous," Senator Cormann told Sly News.
He also rejected the suggestion the government was refusing to crack down on such payments because of some sort of political correctness motivation.
He said there are only two options for these payments - a single parent payment, which is higher than partner payments.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.