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Be Alert!

Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Catch the Fire Appeal: Media Reports and Comment from Ros Phillips

Alert Focus: Persecution Mark 13:9 "But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. SALT SHAKERS E-NEWS - By Jenny Stokes - December 17, 2006 Ros Phillips of Festival of Light in South Australia, has followed the Catch the Fire case closely from the beginning. In this report she analyses Justice Nettle's comments in the decision. Ros then goes on to ouline the proposals for 'vilification' laws to be added to South Australia's Equal Opportunity law. Although they will not apply to 'religion', the proposed victimisation (similar to Victoria's vilification laws) will apply to every 'ground' covered by 'discrimination' law in the Equal Opportunity Act - including marital status and sexuality! The debate on these proposals will continue in February 2007. If you live in South Australia, please contact your MPs and ask them to vote against these laws. Ros' letter analysing the decision on CTFM is attached. Here are the media reports on the decision.... Pastors will keep 'telling truth' on Muslims The Age, Barney Zwartz, December 15, 2006. http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/pastors-will-keep-telling-truth-on-muslims/2006/12/14/1165685825233.html Free speech win for Islam critics Craig Binnie, December 15, 2006 Herald Sun. At http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,20930620-2862,00.html Preachers claim win The Australian, December 15, 2006 At http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20930443-2702,00.html A Lack of faith in these laws Andrew Bolt, December 15, 2006 YES, the Supreme Court yesterday overturned the convictions of Pentecostal pastors Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot for preaching hatred at a church seminar on Islam. But how did it get so far? As I wrote at the time, Scot in particular had been found guilty by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal of breaking the Bracks Government's vilification laws by quoting the Koran, mostly accurately. The Supreme Court even confirmed that "on any analysis (Scot's) plea to love Muslims and to minister to them comes across as sincere". And it gave an extraordinary number of examples of VCAT accusing Scot of saying what he had not -- such as calling Muslims "demons" who thought killing was "good". Ten times it corrects VCAT with: "Pastor Scot did not say . . ." What drove the Government to pass such dangerous laws? What drove the Equal Opportunity Commission to hunt these pastors? How did VCAT rule as it did? There is a touch of Salem about this. At least the Supreme Court insists there is a "distinction between hatred of the religious beliefs of Muslims and hatred of Muslims". We should now be free again to criticise a faith without being found guilty of vilifying the believer. But until these laws are scrapped, can you be sure? At http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,20928768-5006029,00.html Blog and comments at: http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_lack_of_faith_in_these_laws/ http://www.saltshakers.org.au/ Letter from Ros Phillips, Festival of Light.... 14 December 2006 Dear Friends, We are praising the Lord! This morning three Victorian Supreme Court judges - Nettle, Ashley and Neave - handed down their decision to uphold the appeal by pastors Daniel Scot and Danny Nalliah against their conviction for religious vilification. You can read the entire 51 page judgement yourself on: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VSCA/2006/284.html In my view, Justice Nettle's judgement is a damning indictment of Judge Higgins' original decision to convict the pastors in December 2004. Justice Nettle lists about 20 separate instances where Judge Higgins of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) misrepresented what Daniel Scot had said in his seminar on Islam in March 2002 (eg Higgins wrongly claimed that Scot had said "Muslims are demons"). Justice Nettle also points out that Judge Higgins in effect failed to recognise the difference between hatred of the sin and hatred of the sinner, and did not acknowledge that it is possible to criticise certain beliefs without inciting hatred against those who hold those beliefs. Justice Nettle says Judge Higgins' views on the accuracy or inaccuracy of Pastor Scot's views on Islam and the Quran were not relevant to the case, noting: "In my view it was calculated to lead to error for a secular tribunal [like VCAT] to attempt to assess the theological propriety of what was asserted at the Seminar." Justice Nettle also notes that Judge Higgins paid insufficient attention to Daniel Scot's emphasis on the need for his audience to love Muslims, to show sensitivity for Muslim culture and respect for the Quran and Mohammed. Justice Nettle says at one point: "I have listened to the tape recording of the Seminar... Unlike [Judge Higgins], however, I was unable to perceive from the tape anything in the manner of Pastor Scot's delivery which rendered his statements more likely to incite the audience to hatred and other relevant emotion of or towards Muslims. To the contrary, as it seemed to me, what one hears is a speaker who, although endowed with an admirable command of the English language, speaks it as a second language with all the difficulties which that sometimes entails. I hear a degree of nervousness in delivery, a pattern of speech which is idiomatically incongruous and consequent double entendre which the speaker sounds not to have intended. Admittedly, his style is given to ridicule in places, and the ridicule results in cynical laughter at places. But on any analysis his plea to love Muslims and to "minister" to them comes across as sincere enough as do the sounds of his audience's reaction to it." While Judge Higgins paid great attention to the hurt feelings of the three Muslims who attended the seminar, Justice Nettle says that "the affront to the feelings of the Muslim witnesses was largely if not wholly irrelevant. The concentration needed to be on the members of the audience who were not Muslims. What demanded to be assessed was whether the effect of the injunctions to love and to witness to Muslims was sufficient to prevent hatred and other relevant emotion by the non-Muslims towards Muslims. "In fact, the Seminar was replete with statements by Pastor Scot, to which neither Mr Thomas [a Muslim complainant] nor [Judge Higgins] made any reference, favourable to Muslims and ex facie calculated to persuade an audience of non-Muslims to love and 'witness' to Muslims (despite Pastor Scot's perception of the shortcomings of Islam)." Justice Nettle goes on to quote substantial parts of the seminar where Pastor Scot speaks of Muslims and their culture in positive terms. Justices Neave and Ashley have written briefer judgements than Justice Nettle, and while supporting his main conclusion, do not agree with him on all points. Judge Ashley was particularly critical of the conduct of the pastors' VCAT defence, which in his view took up too much time in irrelevant theological debate. In my view, Judge Higgins was more to blame for allowing such debate and presuming, with no theological training, to decide who was right and wrong. The orders (penalties) handed down in 2005 by Judge Higgins have been set aside - and we praise God that the two pastors are once again free to preach and teach about Islam and hold seminars like the one Pastor Scot conducted in a Melbourne church in March 2002. Yet the case is far from over. It has been sent back to VCAT - an action which could be perceived as passing the buck on this politically highly sensitive issue. The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) has been ordered to pay half the costs of the Supreme Court appeal. A VCAT judge (not Higgins) will reconsider the evidence already given and make another decision next year - guided by comments of the three Supreme Court justices. DANGER LOOMS FOR SA The two Daniels have welcomed the Victorian Supreme Court decision and have again called for the repeal of the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act - which has demonstrably created more, not less, intolerance and disharmony in Victoria's religious community as a result of cases like theirs. Other cases such as the complaint of a convicted paedophile witch against a Salvation Army officer conducting a prison Alpha Bible course show that vilification laws like these can be and are used to harass groups with differing beliefs. South Australia would face the same trauma if the SA Equal Opportunity (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2006 - due for continued debate on 6 February 2007 - is passed. Clause 61 of this bill would introduce a new SA offence of "victimisation" - in reality vilification, similar to the definition in the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act: "engaging in a public act inciting hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule of a person or group" on any of the many unlawful grounds of discrimination in the Equal Opportunity Act. Unlike in Victoria, religion is not one of the unlawful grounds in SA - but almost everything else you can think of, and many things you haven't thought of, are included. No other state with anti-vilification laws has so many prohibited grounds for vilification. Marital status and sexuality vilification would be banned under this bill and the SA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity told a delegation from Festival of Light Australia on 9 November that she would NOT automatically dismiss complaints against doctors who publicly warn of health risks of the homosexual lifestyle, or pastors who expound Bible passages which condemn divorce or homosexual behaviour. Legal advisers to the SA Attorney-General told us that truth would not be a defence against such complaints, nor would there be an exemption for acts with a religious purpose. Christian schools who discriminate in employment against practising homosexual teachers would be required to publicise that policy and report it to the Commissioner, who would be empowered by the bill to publicise such schools and "name and shame" them. No school could discriminate against pupils on the ground of marital status or sexuality; Christian schools could be prohibited from teaching biblical sexuality since such teaching could be deemed to incite hatred or contempt for those who do not practise it. The Commissioner would be empowered under the bill to investigate, without approval by the Tribunal or the Attorney-General, any matter of her choice, even where no one has lodged a complaint. We could see a resurgence of witch hunts - or rather, "Christian hunts". Remember that even if such complaints are dismissed, there is no compensation for the lost time, stress and legal costs incurred in conciliation proceedings. Interstate, the result has been that newspapers choose not to publish important facts (eg about the homosexual lifestyle) because they are not considered worth the hassle of dealing with vilification complaints by homosexual activist groups. This issue is not yet on the radar of most media. Short, topical letters to the editor and to MPs (eg Premier Mike Rann - premier@saugov.sa.gov.au ; Opposition Leader Iain Evans - davenport@parliament.sa.gov.au ) could help bring this bill to the attention of people in high places who need to understand that our freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion are seriously under threat. [For MP details: http://www.saltshakers.org.au/html/P/13/B/108 ] God bless! ROS Mrs Roslyn Phillips, B Sc Dip Ed Research Officer, Festival of Light Australia 4th Floor, 68 Grenfell Street, Adelaide SA 5000 Phone 1300 365 965 Email rhp@fol.org.au Website www.fol.org.au