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Prayer Network Newsletter

Note from Rowland. I don’t endorse everything (justice issues are pro and con homosexuality, abortion etc., for example) here but post this for general interest. PS I’m waiting for Saltshakers to post information about discrimination/injustices against GLBTI folks.










(Editors note: Talk to most Christians in Australia about approaching persecution and they think you have lost your mind. How could persecution ever happen in a country like Australia they say. Violent physical persecution as suffered by many Christians overseas may not be imminent, however spiritual and emotional persecution is very near. This article outlines what is happening today in nations with a proud Christian history. We will have similar stories to tell in Australia unless we wake up to the need to protect our freedoms and liberty which are under constant attack.)

Who would have thought, 30 years ago that in 2009 Christians would be persecuted for not endorsing sexual immorality or for suggesting someone pray about their illness, but that is what is happening regularly in Britain and the United States today. Here are some cases where Christians have been vilified, sacked, demoted or harassed simply because they held and expressed Christian morals and/or values.

Theresa Davies, who works at Islington Borough Council in London was demoted because she refused to preside over same sex ‘civil partnership’ ceremonies. At issue in this case is, ‘will Christian faith present a bar to Governmental and private sector employment opportunities because of ‘equality’ or anti-discrimination laws’? In a number of recent decisions it has been deemed lawful for an employer to require adherence to an Equal Opportunity Policy that compels people to support sexual conduct they believe is sinful. An appeal against her dismissal has been lodged.

Gary McFarlane, a relationship counsellor, was sacked because his Christian beliefs prevented him giving sex therapy counselling to homosexual couples.

A Christian paediatrician was dismissed as a medical adviser because she could not professionally recommend the placement of children with same-sex couples – she was only reinstated after media support and a public outcry.

A senior London teacher was suspended and threatened with the sack for expressing his Christian beliefs at work – he was re-instated after a threat of legal action.

A Homelessness Prevention Officer with Wandsworth Council was dismissed from work for encouraging a homeless woman with an incurable medical condition to look to God for help. Doctors told her they’d given up hope.

Christian hotel owners, Peter and Hazelmary Bull had a case lodged against them under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which made it unlawful to refuse a person goods or facilities on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Two male homosexuals claimed £5,000 damages – alleging ‘direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation’.

A number of foster parent couples have been told their beliefs about sexual ethics and in particular the practice of homosexuality did not meet diversity standards and they would be refused children. These rulings, and many others, will drive Christians out of jobs, especially those in Government employment, as significant restrictions are placed on their liberty simply to placate and normalise sexual immorality and a minority lifestyle.

Toni Lemly, a Christian nurse with 23 years of experience, was horrified when told the hospital where she was employed had plans to open a “family-planning” clinic that would perform abortions. This caused a serious dilemma for Toni who would be required to administer abortion-inducing drugs, an action that would run directly counter to her faith. She expressed her concerns to her superiors explaining that to give pills to take a life would for her be an act of direct disobedience to what she believed was God’ will. For that, she was fired from her full-time position.

Four firefighters in San Diego, California were forced against their objections to ride in a so-called “homosexual pride parade.” For three long hours, they were repeatedly sexually harassed and humiliated by lewd, scantily clad people along the entire parade route. When the firemen complained, they experienced harassment, retaliation, and in one case a denied promotion.

The Rolling Hills Consolidated Library in Missouri, fired librarian Connie Rehm after she requested Sundays off because of her religious beliefs.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suspended Larry Dombrowski for seven days without pay and transferred him from Kentucky to Alabama because of his alleged “stereotypical” remarks about Scripture and homosexual behaviour.

Several Minnesota state prison guards were disciplined for allegedly creating a “hostile work environment” by displaying Bibles in the office.

Linda Shifflett and Mickey Shatkin, employees of the University of Texas at Arlington, received letters of termination from their employer after praying together after work for a vacationing co-worker.

Counsellor Marcia Walden who worked for a government contractor got a pink slip when, for religious reasons, she referred a person who was seeking counsel for their same-sex relationship to another colleague.

This is increasingly happening here in Australia, and as anti-discrimination and vilification laws increase it will become more of a challenge. A ‘Bill or Charter of Human Rights’ and a possible ‘Freedom of Religion’ Bill here will make that situation even worse, as will greater powers being sought by Equal Opportunity Commissions. Christians who want to uphold Biblical Truth will find themselves more and more marginalised despite our country, like Britain, being founded on freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

Source: Saltshakers and American Development Foundation



Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities, Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, has received death threats from banned militant organizations for pursuing justice for victims of violence in Gojra last month when Muslims set fire to over fifty houses. Seven Christians lost their lives as a result of the incident and the brutal attack left scores more injured. Most of the Christian residents of the area have since fled the town fearing more trouble. Mr. Bhatti has received written letters and messages from militants, warning him to stop pursuing justice for victims of Gojra.

Militant groups have published statements in the Pakistani media, warning that they would not allow anyone to touch the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Shahbaz Bhatti, has been campaigning for the protection of minority rights, religious freedom and the repeal of all discriminatory laws against minorities in Pakistan since 1985. In the past, Mr. Bhatti has faced an assassination attempt, for raising a voice against Pakistan Sharia Laws and injustices against minorities. He has been a vocal voice against militant groups, who are involved in violence and terrorism in Pakistan.

Mr. Bhatti has condemned violence against the Christians in Gojra. When the victims of the violence blocked the railway track and demanded Police action against the culprits of the attacks, the Federal Minister joined the protesting victims, and staged a sit-in along with the victims who were protesting. He announced that he would not go from the scene until a Police report was lodged. This statement had the desired effect and prompted the authorities to lodge a report against the culprits. The Federal Minister also asked the protesting victims to remain peaceful.

Pakistan Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik has said that the government would not allow anyone to destabilize Pakistan and the country’s President, Asif Ali Zardari, and Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, have vowed that Pakistan would continue to fight against terrorism. Several minority leaders in Pakistan have expressed concern over Mr. Bhatti’s safety in the wake of the death threats to him by militants. They have appealed to Christian brethren across the world to pray for him at this difficult time.

Source: Assist News



In a ground-breaking event featuring Lutheran and Anglican youth from across Canada, the National Planning Committee (NPC) for the 2010 gathering announced “Hands On” as the theme of next year’s gathering which is taking place in August in London, Ontario. Drawing from the text in Isaiah 64:8, “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand”, the gathering will explore how God calls us to use our hands to help shape the world around us.

Hands On 2010 is considered to be a ground-breaking youth gathering as it is the first time the national gathering will be jointly planned by both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). Hoping for more equal representation of youth from the two churches, the name of the gathering will also be officially changed from Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering (CLYG)

to Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth (CLAY) gathering.

“I’m so excited to be a part of this gathering,” says Rev. Christie Morrow, NPC chair. “Together we will explore how God has been at work moulding and shaping us so that our churches, communities and the world will see the work of God’s hands through our youth.” Youth gatherings take place every two years with a new location each time. The last youth gathering was held in 2008 in Whitehorse, Yukon. Over 1000 participants made the journey from all parts of Canada to take part in the national event.

Source: Anglican Church of Canada & Evangelical Lutheran Church



A 70-year-old man who lost eight teeth, required 40 stitches to a cut to his upper lip, and had his hearing aid crushed into the inner canal of his ear during a road rage attack last year astonished Baton Rouge court officials with an act of forgiveness. Steve Bonfanti told the court he would give the $41,000 restitution that Judge Richard Anderson ordered, to the mother of his attackers for the education of her two young grandchildren. Judge Anderson sent brothers Johnny and Etic Mutrie to prison and put their mother, Rhonda Mutrie on probation for the violent beating of Bonfanti.

Johnny and Eric Mutrie pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree battery and cruelty to the infirm. Rhonda Mutrie pleaded guilty to cruelty to the infirm. Before they were sentenced, the Mutries apologized to Bonfanti in court. “If I could take it back, I would,” Johnny Mutrie said. Eric Mutrie and his mother asked for forgiveness. “I’ve had almost 365 days to think about it. I still feel bad about it,” he said. Bonfanti asked for jail time for all three Mutries. Anderson noted that Rhonda Mutrie had a clean record before pleading guilty in the Bonfanti case.

Source: The Advocate



Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 150 people for eating during Ramadan. The authorities are cracking down on anyone, including foreigners and non-Muslims, who are found drinking, eating or smoking during the fasting hours. This is the first time that Egyptian officials are taking such drastic action. And it is another indication of further Islamization in the country’s public life. Egypt now seems to be following the practices of the conservative Gulf States, where eating, drinking or smoking during Ramadan results in imprisonment for a month or a fine of $350.

“This is against basic human rights of citizens. We as Christians are not Muslims and don’t believe in Islamic fasting. Even for Muslims, the decision to fast or not to fast is a personal issue,” said Magdhi Kalil, the director of the Middle East Freedom Forum. Jonathan Racho from International Christian Concern said, “Punishing non-Muslims for eating or drinking during Ramadan is both outrageous and a clear violation of the freedom of religion. We condemn in strongest terms the measure by Egypt to force Muslims and non-Muslims alike to fast during Ramadan.”

Source: International Christian Concern



Pavel Peichev, the head of Uzbekistan’s Baptist Union, and two colleagues face up to three years in prison when they go on trial for teaching children Christianity against their and their parents’ will at a Baptist-run summer camp. The three have rejected the accusations against them. One of the accused, Dmitri Pitirimov, the leader of the Joy children’s camp, insists that two parents testifying against them knew “perfectly well” that they were sending their children to a Baptist camp, where the children would be taught the Bible, and signed documents to confirm this.

He said one boy cited in the indictment had decided not to come this year as the Prosecutor’s Office had warned him it was an “illegal” camp. Begzot Kadyrov of the state Religious Affairs Committee refused to discuss the case, as did officials at Tashkent City Prosecutor’s Office. The trial date has not yet been announced.

Source: Forum 18 News



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