CRITICAL DEVELOPMENTS RELATING TO THE SEXUAL ORIENTATION REGULATIONS (SORs)
28th November 2006
Critical developments in the situation regarding the SORs have taken place over the past few days. Having taken many people by surprise in publishing the Northern Ireland (NI) Regulations early, and before even responding to the consultation process that had taken place, the Government have now accelerated the process still further by rushing to lay the NI SORs before Parliament late last Friday (24th November).
The laying of the Regulations coincided with our discovery that the Government have chosen to use a special Parliamentary procedure to push the Regulations through WITH NO NEED FOR ANY DEBATE OR VOTE IN PARLIAMENT AT ALL. This ‘negative resolution procedure’ means that the mere elapsing of 40 days from the date of the Regulations being laid will see the SORs become law in Northern Ireland. This in turn will set a dangerous precedent for the England, Wales and Scotland SORs which are due to come into force in April 2007.
The only way the NI Regulations can now be amended and improved to deal with the current infringement of freedom of conscience and freedom to practice Christianity that they create, is 1) by the Government agreeing to withdraw and amend them or 2) a member of the House of Commons or House of Lords seeking an annulment of the SORs and sufficient time being granted by the Government for such a debate and vote to take place.
This all emphasises the need to pray and act on the issue NOW. The momentum in the media is growing as awareness increases regarding the impact of these Regulations on Christians and the manner in which they will discriminate against those who believe in the Bible (see the link to the front page of the Daily Mail, below).
Please read the 2 attached letters which have been sent to all MPs and Peers to understand in greater detail the issues involved.
Information on what action can be taken to influence this issue can be found below.
· SORs make front page news in the Daily Mail (28th November) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=419067&in_page_id=1770&ct=5
· Full page advert published in the Times newspaper (28th November) by churches to expose the Government’s behaviour in relation to the SORs.
· A powerful letter from Jim Shannon (member of the Northern Ireland Assembly) written to the Prime Minister in relation to the SORs.
· Press release from the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship explaining some of the problematic issues surrounding the Government’s rushing through of the NI SORs.
As the momentum grows in the media, the role of Christians in seeking amendments to the law to protect freedom of conscience and freedom of religion becomes increasingly important. If Christians mobilise and act together they will form a powerful lobby which the Government cannot ignore. So now is the time when it will be most effective for Christians to speak out in defence of our right to speak openly from the Bible and to live according to the Bible’s teaching about sexual morality, whether in church on a Sunday, or in our jobs during the week. It is a key matter of principle that British law is not used to make it illegal to follow any aspect of the Bible’s teaching.
They key things that all Christians can do are:
Pray and inform others of this situation.
Continue to lobby MPs and Peers. THIS IS VITAL. There are under 40 days remaining in which politicians can seek to have the NI SORs annulled so that an improved law can be put in their place. The very least we want is delay on this matter until the England, Wales and Scotland SORs are finalised, so that such an improved law can be put in place for the whole of the UK.
Of equal importance is asking MPs to petition the Government to withdraw the NI SORs whilst a principled settlement is agreed safeguarding freedom of conscience and religion. EVERY CHRISTIAN LIVING IN BRITIAN HAS AN MP AND SHOULD REQUEST THAT THEIR MP REPRESENT THEIR VIEWS TO THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE SORs MUST BE WITHDRAWN WHILST A SOLUTION IS SOUGHT. The ministers who should be contacted in particular are Peter Hain (minister for Northern Ireland), Ruth Kelly and Meg Munn (who have jurisdiction over the England, Wales and Scotland Regulations).
Their contact details are:
Peter Hain, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Kelly, Department for Communities and Local Government, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London. Telephone 0207 9444400. E-mail: email@example.com
Meg Munn, Women and Equality Unit, 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET. Telephone 0207 215 5000. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
All newspapers (national and local) are becoming increasingly interested in this matter. It is key for Christians to respond to articles that are written (particularly by sending letters to go in the ‘comments’ section of newspapers) by setting out clearly and truthfully the need for the Government to re-think the SORs. Commenting on online discussions relating to this matter is also an excellent opportunity to set out the teaching of the Bible to those who might otherwise not hear it.
We particularly need Christians who are providers of goods and services to speak out if the law will affect them, particularly if the SORs would force them to choose between following the Bible and following the new law. In particular, a Christian printer should draw attention to the difficulty they would have printing anything which promoted homosexual practice, a Christian teacher should draw attention to the difficulties that will be caused if pupils can sue them for teaching that marriage, not homosexual relationship, is the correct context for sex and for raising children, a Christian parent should draw attention to the fact that they want their child’s teachers to be free to promote marriage above Civil Partnerships, and a Christian leader should draw attention to the chilling effect that the SORs will have on their congregation who will be under threat of being taken to court if in living out their belief in the Bible, this requires them to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.
For guidance on what to write on this matter, please use the Information and Action Pack, found at http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/sor/10nov6.php (please note that this Pack was written before the issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Regulations came to light).
More press articles
Anglican bishop threatens to close youth clubs in protest at gay rights
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
CRITICAL DEVELOPMENTS RELATING TO THE SEXUAL ORIENTATION REGULATIONS (SORs)
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
by Jan Markell Olive Tree Ministries
If you have followed this ministry for some time, you know that I have made the issue of "America's Pastor", Rick Warren, a lesser focus than other issues with which we deal. I have had a radio debate focusing on both sides of the "Purpose Driven" movement and have mentioned some other "Purpose Driven" issues occasionally. I have received hundreds of emails over three years, most expressing sorrow about church splits and being tossed out of a church for not approving of PDL coming in, but also emails that talk about remarkable spiritual and numerical growth due to the PDL plan for church growth. To be perfectly honest, the negative emails outnumber the positive ones twenty to one. [Emphasis ours as we have seen the same thing in the U.K.]
Several stories have been developing over the last ten days that at the very least must be reported on. I will highlight some for your consideration. I encourage all to pray for Rick Warren, as a pattern is developing that is most troublesome.
Read Entire Article...
Monday, November 27, 2006
Rick Warren in Syria AUDIO CLIP
(Courtesy Bruce DeLay)
Mr Warren, Excuses, Excuses
New Age Leader, Marianne Williamson, Comes to Rick Warren's Defense - "Meditation" is Common Ground
Rick Warren's Damascus Road Experience
Rick Warren Denies Praising Syria
American Personalities Criticize US Foreign Policy
American Priest Says no Peace without Syria
Sincerely, Editors - Lighthouse Trails Publishing
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I got this email from a friend of our ministry. He spotted it on the web. Rick Warren's letter is in italics.
From: "Pastor Rick" email@example.com
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2006 12:53:56 -0800
Subject: MESSAGE THIS WEEKEND!
Dear Saddleback Family, Happy Thanksgiving. This weekend I'll announce the new giving commitments that are joining the rest of us in "EXTENDING THE VISION; For the Next Generation" PLUS ... I'll be sharing a very personal message on "Living By Your Convictions."
If by "living by your convictions" Warren is speaking of "doing what is right in (his) own eyes" (Judges 17:6) then he is a proper authority to speak on that subject. If by "living by your convictions" he means living in accordance to the Word of God, then I can't see how he could POSSIBLY be a good person to preach on this subject. Rick Warren and his whole program of Dominionism have NOTHING to do with our mandate as Christians to be light and salt in the world. Who told Rick to brag in his P.E.A.C.E. plan that we can "overcome" five of the biggest problems of the world? “Our goal will be to enlist 'one billion foot soldiers for the Kingdom of God', who will permanently change the face of international missions to take on these five “global giants” for which the church can become the ultimate distribution and change agent to overcome Spiritual Emptiness, Self-serving Leadership, Poverty, Disease and ignorance (or illiteracy)." (http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s05040087.htm) The only time the problems of poverty, disease and ignorance will be "overcome" is in the Millenial Kingdom by Jesus Christ Himself. For now we will always have the poor with us (Mark 14:7), disease has and will continue throughout the history of the world and through the Tribulation, and ignorance is a universal problem, especially among those who twist Scripture like Rick Warren. (2 Pet. 3:16). Self-serving leadership? Need I say more? ...
Read Entire Article...
Friday, November 24, 2006
by Roger Oakland
It was another one of those headlines that immediately caught my attention: “Non-Catholic visitor sees Jesus in local chapel.”  Ever since I became aware of the Roman Catholic New Evangelization program to win the world to the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Christ, I have been expecting a news item of this nature.
The St. Charles Herald Guide reported that a petroleum geologist by the name of Andy Petty experienced a manifestation of “Jesus” at the Adoration Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Quoting from the article:
It all started when Petty visited Our Lady of Perpetual Help Adoration Chapel in Rivertown. Little did he know that someone was waiting for him there. Petty, who belonged to the Worldwide Church of God, was only attending Our Lady of Perpetual Help to be with his fiancé, Ina. When Ina said, “let’s go to the chapel” he thought she meant wedding chapel. 
For those not familiar with this topic, adoration of the Eucharistic Jesus that takes place in adoration chapels is a major part of the New Evangelization program. In order to understand what this means, some basic terms and concepts need to be defined.
First, a priest performs the act of transubstantiation. This is when it is believed that a host (wafer) actually becomes the presence of Jesus – the Eucharistic Christ. Second, the host is placed in a container called a monstrance. Third, the monstrance is placed in an adoration chapel where the faithful come to worship and adore the Eucharistic Christ...
Read More About Last Days Appearances of Jesus...
at Understand The Times International
Monday, November 06, 2006
This article or excerpt is from Lighthouse Trails on November 4, 2006 @ 1:35 am
Many Christians believe that the Christian tradition of communion is the same as the Catholic tradition of the Eucharist. But this is not so. The Eucharist (i.e., Transubstantiation ) is a Catholic term for communion when the bread and the wine supposedly become the very body and blood of Jesus Christ; thus when taken the partaker is said to experience the presence of Jesus. These transformed elements are placed in what is called a monstrance and can then be worshipped as if worshipping Jesus Himself. The implications are tied in with salvation. With the Eucharist, salvation becomes sacramental (participation in a ritual) as opposed to justification by faith in Christ alone. While this mystical experience called the Eucharist is a form of idolatry (as well as the very heart of Catholicism), there appears to be an increase of interest by evangelical Christians towards this practice.
In Roger Oakland's vital book, Another Jesus?: The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization, he explains that the Catholic church leadership, concerned because of apathy for the Eucharist within the Catholic ranks, is hoping to "rekindle the amazement" of the Eucharist through what is called their "new evangelization program." With a two-fold purpose - to keep present Catholics and to bring evangelicals into the Catholic church - church leadership hopes to enliven the Eucharist. By saying "rekindle the amazement," they mean bring out the mystical, supernatural element of the Eucharist.
Acceptance of the Eucharist by evangelical Christians has been simmering in the background for some time. Chuck Colson's Evangelicals and Catholics Together document played a significant role with desensitizing believers into finding common ground with Catholicism. Rick Warren has openly shown, time and again, his affinity to joining Catholicism and evangelicalism together. But as we have succinctly pointed out in our other works, it is mysticism that unites all the world's religious traditions. In that mystical realm that is achieved through contemplative prayer, it is taught that God is in all things, and God is all things. To those who traditionally haven't had much ritual in their lives (i.e., Protestants) the ambiance of the Mass would have great appeal because of it's religious novelty - thus the interest in the Eucharist by those evangelicals who promote contemplative. And for most Catholics, the Mass (where the Eucharist is presented), in and of itself, is not a mystical experience, but if you add the contemplative as a draw, one actually does enter the mystical realm. On the surface this phenomenon seems complex, but when you look underneath it makes perfect sense. Within the contemplative prayer realm you actually are getting in touch with a spiritual power or force. Combining the tradition of the Eucharist, which appeals to many raised in the Catholic church, with the relatively recent explosion of contemplative practice, the Catholic church sees this as a way to recover its robust state it had in previous decades.
Read Entire Article of Evangelical Christians Combine Contemplative Mysticism with Catholic Eucharist ...
at Lighthouse Trails Research Project site and Blog