Claims evangelical Christian churches preach gay hate in public schools | SBS

July 1, 2016

Odd that SBS have removed the story “Claims evangelical Christian churches preach gay hate in public schools” from their web site.  The cached version is currently here and pasted below.  It also appears on a variety of other places on the Internet.


  • Maitland Evangelical Church operates from within the East Maitland Public School. (Supplied)
  • “God’s good design for sex within marriage” is between “one man and a woman” according to one sermon. (Getty Images)
  • “Even though books have been written and studies have been conducted to show that the gay lifestyle is not a happy one, people persist in the rejection of God.” (Getty Images)
  • Maitland Evangelical Church operates from within the East Maitland Public School. (Supplied)
  • “God’s good design for sex within marriage” is between “one man and a woman” according to one sermon. (Getty Images)
Exclusive: Serious allegations have emerged that gay hate messages are being preached inside public schools by evangelical groups.
By

28 JUN 2016 – 12:37 PM  UPDATED 52 MINS AGO

Evangelical Christian churches are using some New South Wales schools to allegedly preach homophobic messages, SBS can reveal.

Recordings of sermons obtained by SBS include teachings that the punishment for gay sex is death, marriage and sex is between a man and a woman only, and that the gay “lifestyle” is “unhappy”.

The sermons are being delivered by members of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. Many of the churches are housed on public school grounds in NSW, where they conduct weekly services by arrangement with the individual schools.

One recording of a sermon on homosexuality and the Bible’s book of Leviticus from the Lakes Christian Church, based inside the Berkeley Vale Campus, Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College on the NSW Central Coast, includes references to the “death penalty” as a punishment for the “sin” of homosexuality.

“In Chapter 20, He [God] states the death penalty for those who disobey. And notice throughout…if it is not the death penalty, it’s being cut off from the people of God, which is still death, not just instant death and so God is serious about sexual purity,” the pastor claims in the recording, which has since been removed from the church’s website.

The Hunter Bible Church which operates from Lambton Public school in NSW.

The Hunter Bible church which operates from Lambton Public School in NSW. (Supplied)

The sermon goes on to preach that: “God’s good design for sex within marriage” is between “one man and a woman”.

“Even though books have been written and studies have been conducted to show that the gay lifestyle is not a happy one, people persist in the rejection of God. Let me encourage you that if you are in any doubt about how destructive that sexual sin is…have a look at the research and I can, I can point it out to you.”

In a response to questions about the sermon from SBS a spokesman for The Lakes Church said it was from 2013 and that he did not believe the sermon was homophobic in nature.

“Views on sexual ethics differ in society,” he said.  “Our beliefs are those of mainstream Christian churches around the world. We teach that Christ offers life and hope in a world which lacks both.”

The spokesman also told SBS the sermon was specifically in relation to a talk on sexual ethics at The Festival of Dangerous Ideas and that it was being misconstrued when taken outside of that context.

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said it was forbidden to use school facilities to spread homophobia.

“The Department of Education does not allow any group or church to use school grounds to preach homophobic messages,” he told SBS, referring to the NSW Department of Education’s policy on the use of school facilities.

Berkeley Vale Campus, Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, Lambton High School and Maitland Evangelical Churches did not respond to requests for comment by SBS.

Maitland Grossman High School said it did not wish to comment.

Darrin Morgan, from the lobby group Human Rights Advocacy Australia (HRAA), said he complained to both the Department of Education and Berkeley Vale Campus, Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College in April this year but said other than asking the church not to preach homophobic messages, no further action had been taken.

“HRAA believes that NSW public school facilities should not be used to promote beliefs which marginalise members of both the school and wider community,” he told SBS.

Coming in the school gate: The battle over religious education in public schools
A series of incidents involving extreme Christian teachings about wives submitting to husbands, gender roles and Harry Potter being witchcraft in NSW public schools has led to renewed calls to ban scripture classes during school hours.

In response to a complaint from HRAA to Lakes Secondary College Berkeley Vale Campus, the acting principal confirmed the school was aware of the sermon and that it was not appropriate material.

“I have determined that the sermon described in your complaint was not consistent with the expectations of the community use agreement between Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Berkeley Vale Campus and The Lakes Church,” she wrote in response to HRAA’s complaint.

However the church continues to operate from the school. The Lakes Church spokesman said he believed the Church was compliant with the Department’s guidelines.

“We believe that we comply with the conditions of our agreement to use school facilities,” he told SBS.

Mr Morgan said religious groups with these views should not be accessing school facilities.

“HRAA is simply asking the minister for education and the Department of Education to implement the department’s own policies and procedures in an objective and neutral manner. This requires such organisations to be deemed ‘inappropriate organisations’ and therefore must be denied use of public school facilities,” he said.

SBS can reveal at least two other churches from the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches based in NSW public schools have made anti-gay sermons.

In two recordings posted online by the Hunter Bible Church, based at Lambton High School in Newcastle, a pastor states that homosexuality is a sin and wrong.

“Homosexuality is one of the things that send people to hell,” the pastor states.

“Anything outside of that, whether it is homosexuality, or adultery or pornography or sex before marriage; anything that doesn’t conform with what God created us into, is wrong.”

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“Even though books have been written and studies have been conducted to show that the gay lifestyle is not a happy one, people persist in the rejection of God.” (Getty)

A spokesman for the Hunter Bible Church denied anti-gay sermons had been preached on the school site.

“No message that fits what you’ve described has been given on school grounds,” he told SBS.

When SBS drew his attention to the recordings about homosexuality on the church’s website, the spokesman did not respond further.

An audio recording from the Maitland Evangelical Church discusses the evils of incest, homosexuality and adultery in the same sermon.

“God does not want us sinking in a sea of shame,” the Pastor says.

“If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, with the wife of his neighbour; both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death. Now that sounds drastic doesn’t it and it is  – God will judge sexual sin  – the Israelites didn’t get away with it back then, and we will not get away with it either.”


Facebook playing the man, not the ball.

June 17, 2016

Last night Facebook slapped another 30-day ban on my account for sharing this photo of a graffiti’d bill-board of Jason Ball, candidate for the Australian Greens in the Melbourne seat of Higgins.

 

I have been advised to contact Facebook’s PR agency N2N in Sydney to resolve this matter:

N2N

So I sent them an email and await their reply:

From: Michael Barnett
Date: 17 June 2016 at 10:50
Subject: Fwd: Facebook repeatedly banning my account for 30-day periods
To: facebook@n2n.com.au
Cc: …

Hi Jack,
Thank you for taking my call.
Below is the email I sent to your main email address.
As I said on the phone, I run the Facebook group “Proud to be a Second-Class Australian“, that I started in 2009. This group has an immediate reach of over 3,000 people, all keen equality advocates, including a range of media contacts and other high-profile community members.
I have documented two of my previous Facebook bans here:
As you can see, there is no logic for the bans on my account given the content posted.
I can be contacted on ….
I hope you can assist in a prompt resolution of this unpleasant matter.
Regards,
Michael.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Michael Barnett
Date: 17 June 2016 at 10:30
Subject: Facebook repeatedly banning my account for 30-day periods
To: info@n2n.com.au
Cc: …

Dear N2N,

I write to you as a well-known activist in the LGBTIQ community in Australia.
I have just received a 30-day ban from Facebook for sharing a photo of a bill-board of Green’s candidate Jason Ball graffiti’d with the word FAG on it.  Please see attachments.
I have received 2 similar 30-day bans in the last year for similar issues, ie sharing content raising awareness of hate content.
I find this response from Facebook outrageous, especially as I have no recourse.  It damages my mental health and causes me great personal distress.
I am in constant contact with the LGBTIQ media who are very keen to understand why I am receiving these 30-day bans for sharing content that is deemed to be unacceptable, yet is simply raising awareness of attacks on LGBTIQ people.
I will follow this email up with a phone-call to your office.
Sincerely,
Michael Barnett.

UPDATE: N2N managed to get my 30-day ban overturned and my Facebook account was restored to normal the morning of Saturday June 18.


Ross Featherston: “At Brighton Grammar boys who are bullied should harden the fuck up”

May 17, 2016

blame-the-bullied


MELISSA ANDERSON MAY 01. 2016

Bullying: helping your son be the victor, not the victim

As a resilience coach I am adamant that, in any bullying situation, you must own your part of the problem, no matter how small, no matter how unfair it may seem. No one is lily-white and blameless.

As a wise person once said – you must clean up your side of the street.

Earlier this year, I employed a gardener to do some work in our backyard. For 2.5 hours he worked but stopped many times to chat to me. In a short period I heard his life story – his marriage breakup, how his children were not talking to him, how he lost everything, how he had a breakdown, how he doesn’t have many friends, how hard it was to find a girlfriend. His life narrative was all negative and I heard not one moment of self-reflection or the taking of responsibility. He also asked not one question about my life. Such self-absorption may explain a lot.

This gardener was a bore. He was no people magnet.

Importantly, he appeared to take no responsibility for his situation. So, nothing for him will change.

You can only change what you are prepared to acknowledge.

If your son is currently being bullied, in the spirit of cleaning up your side of the street:

  • Is he part of the problem? Even 5%?
  • Is he a whinger, a complainer, self-absorbed, an exaggerator, loose with the truth, a passive doormat, displaying negative body language, an approval addict, a try hard, critical or a bad sport?

Of course, you might say but how can my son clean up his side of the street if he is the target of cruel taunts because he has buck teeth, acne, a disability or a lisp. That’s not his fault.

Of course, it’s not his fault, but owning his small part of the unpleasant problem may be learning to stand up for himself, developing grit, steely self-belief, strong self-esteem, choosing his friends wisely and reminding himself that the bullies are dealing with their own demons and that the problem lies principally with them and not him.

After having been bullied myself for most of high school, it was only when I was brave enough and self-aware enough to ‘own’ my part of the problem that the bullying stopped. I earned respect whilst building self-respect.

Time to own your part, and stop playing the victim.

Be the victor, not the victim.

Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School.

Brighton Grammar is hosting a FREE PARENT SEMINAR featuring Melissa Anderson, exploring the issue of bullying including coping skills for parents and their children. Click here for bookings. 


Digital Activism: Human Rights and Equality – Talking Digital Media, Episode 11

May 3, 2016


Apology to David Werdiger

April 8, 2016

David Werdiger apology


James Kennard: dinosaur or responsible principal?

March 22, 2016

From: Michael Barnett
Date: 22 March 2016 at 01:10
Subject: Will you break your silence on homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism?
To: James Kennard <jkennard@scopus.vic.edu.au>

Dear Principal Kennard,

Tonight I attended a Save Safe Schools rally at the State Library of Victoria.

Present at this rally was State Education Minister James Merlino, along with a range of teachers, students, parents and other concerned parties.

These people are collectively concerned about the welfare of students, and in particular, those students who experience difference in terms of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Their concern stems from credible research that shows without necessary support, there are elevated levels of suicide.  Let me repeat.  Elevated levels of suicide.

I know you are an orthodox rabbi.  You are also the principal of a school.  I know that as an orthodox rabbi who is a principal of a school you are personally conflicted, because your training as a rabbi puts you at odds with the research, sadly.  And despite this you are a signatory of the Statement of Principles, a document that could be so much more but ultimately is one that pities homosexual people and blames them for their rates of suicide.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 7.06.21 PM

Rabbi James Kennard – signatory to ‘Statement of Principles’

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 7.09.12 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 7.07.58 PM

It’s the intolerance that’s the problem, not the homosexuality!

I am writing to you not to plead or beg for you to change your perspectives on homosexuality or related issues because that would be a complete waste of my time.

What I am writing to you is to ask you how you are making the students at your school understand how you can comfortably live with the knowledge that in not talking openly and inclusively about the the wonderful diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity, you are elevating their levels of mental illness, self harm and risk of suicide.

I know you probably don’t ask them what they think of your attitudes toward these icky issues, but trust me, many other people are talking about you and your intolerance of such diversity.  And these people are not just the parents, but also the teachers and the principals of other schools.

They are looking at you and wondering how a dinosaur like you can be in a position of authority at a prominent day school in Melbourne.  I know dinosaurs are supposed to be extinct, but someone recently discovered a Christenosaurus and a Bernardi-Rex, so it stands that a Kennarderatops could still be alive.

I’m not joking.  These dinosaurs are killing our students.  They are driving them to the depths of despair, exacerbating their anxiety levels and making life unbearable.

Personally, I’d rather not have to write this letter but if I didn’t write to you I’d feel I hadn’t made my best effort to stamp out bigotry, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Mount Scopus Memorial College.

If my dreams were to come true I’d see a response to this letter saying “But Michael, we’ve had Roz Ward come to talk to us and we’re signing up to Safe Schools tomorrow, just like King David, Bialik and Sholem Aleichem have done.  We know Safe Schools is best practices, has proven outcomes and is respected nationally.”

I’m not sure that I’ll be so lucky in my wishes, but I can hope.

This is not complicated.  Either you are committed to the best outcomes for your students or you are ripping off the parents at your school.  If you are committed to the best outcomes for your students, in terms of overall well-being, academic excellence, sporting excellence and self-respect, then unless you are talking openly and unconditionally about these issues, I’d say you’re failing the entire school community.

Except perhaps those people who believe the Torah has it right about homosexuality, the bit where we are sinners.

I’ll let you in on a secret.  I was bullied at school.  I was tormented and ridiculed.  I was scared to fucking hell of being gay, because when I had the shit kicked out of me on a regular basis, told I was a poofter and a pansy, that I was a fag and a homo, when I was scared to be creative, to be expressive, to shine as a student because that would make me gay, because I was scared I would be kicked out of home if my parents found out I was homosexual, because I had terrible anxiety through my teens and I hated every day I was alive, because I barely passed my year 12 exams because I didn’t want to excel in English because I was hiding a secret and found failure more rewarding, this was all because I had no one tell me that I was ok, that I was normal, that I was fine, that I was not a sinner, not a pervert, not an abomination, not aberrant, not broken and not deviant.

How many students at your school are openly accepted and affirmed because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex or any other configuration other than heterosexual and cis-gender?  Do you know or do you bury your head in the sand and go la-la-la-la-la?

How many same-sex marriages of past students does your school recognise in it’s newsletter?  How many rainbow families are reflected in the school’s religious program, like the shabbat service with two ima’s and/or two aba’s?  How many students are openly supported in transitioning their gender at your school?

I will confidently tell you that unless you can make a public statement that addresses all of these issues in a positive, affirmative and inclusive light, free of harmful religious rhetoric, you are failing your entire school community, your students, their families, your board and ultimately yourself.

I don’t need a lesson on halacha in reply.  I just need you to understand that every day of silence is another day you haven’t done your best to prevent the death of the next trans, bi, gay, or queer student at your school.  And if you haven’t done your best, you are not worth being the principal of any school.

What is it Principal Kennard?  Are you doing your best or are you failing everyone?

Sincerely,
Michael Barnett.

PS.  As a courtesy, I’m letting you know this letter is going online and will be distributed to a variety of people who care about the welfare of students at your school.  I want people to see the harm that is being inflicted on their students by your ongoing silence.


 

A helpful background piece on this issue can be found here along with a petition here.


 

Staggering to see Principal James Kennard ‘like’ a post on Facebook questioning the merit of the Safe Schools program.  He has since reversed the ‘like’ on the post, but that he liked it in the first place is unfathomable for someone of his standing.


 

A selection of my photos from the Save Safe Schools rally at the State Library of Victoria and down Swanston Street:

DSC_0713.JPG

Protesting the cuts to the Safe Schools programme

DSC_0549.JPG

James Merlino, Minister for Education

DSC_0807

Protesting the cuts to the Safe Schools programme

DSC_0827

Nevo Zisin and others protesting the cuts to the Safe Schools programme


Facebook. Cünt Of The Day.

March 16, 2016

Over the past couple of years I’ve sustained a number of increasingly harsh bans on my Facebook account as a result of reports against content that I’ve posted.

The most recent report on my account resulted in a 30 day ban on posting that went beyond any other ban against me, including sending private messages, liking posts or pages, unsubscribing from groups (that others added me to) and so on.

I try to play fair on Facebook because I don’t really want to lose my access and I don’t really want to be a problem user.

This is what Facebook took exception to most recently:

12715682_228926514112991_4133936651161371284_n

The message in question was one I sent via Twitter that was cross-posted to Facebook.  I didn’t feel this a particularly offensive message given that the words “poof” and “dyke” are in common use in Australia and given that Lyle Shelton did admit he was concerned that people might think him gay if marriage equality became a reality in Australia.

One might say that the words “poof” and “dyke” are offensive.  They can be, depending on context and who is using them, much like the word “nïgger” can be offensive.  I couldn’t get away with reasonably calling someone a nïgger as easily as an African American could.  Similarly, as a gay man I have no concern appropriately referring to myself or someone else who is gay (or who is perceived to be) as a poof.  In the right context it can even be a term of endearment.

So to my use of the words “poof” and “dyke” on Facebook, it’s hard to think Facebook actually has a problem with them:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 02.09.52

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 02.11.10

So if Facebook permits the use of the words “poof” and “dyke” in its groups, pages and places, what actual justification does it have for slapping a 30 day ban on my account for using these words, in a context that is factual?

Double standards Facebook?

PS.  Facebook doesn’t even seem to have a problem with the word “nïgger” appearing in it’s pages (etc):

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 02.17.26

or “cünt”:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 02.18.53

 

 


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