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Prayer day, new lobby group, TV ad marks start of postal survey

‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns kick off in earnest

Supporters of the “No” case have organised prayer campaigns, including The Australian Prayer Network (APN) calling for a continuous “prayer watch” until the proposed Postal Plebiscite conclusion on November 7. The APN’s extensive National 24 Hour Prayer Watch has been running continuously for 17 years and has several thousand members.

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Sunday September 10 has been dubbed “marriage Sunday by a coalition of Christian leaders.

Tens of thousands of Christians will next weekend celebrate traditional marriage by teaching, preaching and praying on a biblical view of marriage, on “Marriage Sunday”  September 10, marking the start of “Australian Marriage Week”.

Hundreds of Australian churches across dozens of denominations, from Catholic and Orthodox through to Anglican, Baptist and Pentecostal, will take part.

Australia’s  tennis champion and  a Christian leader not afraid of controversy, Margaret Court, has led the call for Christians across the country to reflect on the biblical foundations and sanctity of marriage on Marriage Sunday.

“Our nation is at a crossroads but we know God is sovereign.  With Marriage Sunday starting off Marriage Week, we are urging church leaders to teach and preach on God’s design for marriage but also to pray about the future of marriage – to put our faith and trust in Him,” she said.

Pastor Wayne Alcorn, President of Australian Christian Churches (ACC), has called for a Day of Prayer and Fasting on Tuesday, September 12.

“Marriage Sunday is an opportunity for churches to stand in unison on the written word of God and stand up for what they believe,” she said.

“I have witnessed and experienced outrage, vitriol and abuse for simply believing what the Bible says on marriage,” Court said, “but on Marriage Sunday, I encourage Christians to stand together without fear of being persecuted for their beliefs.”

Court said she welcomed calls for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting by ACC President, Ps Wayne Alcorn, and reiterated that Marriage Sunday was broader than any one movement or denomination.

Pastor Wayne Alcorn, President of Australian Christian Churches (ACC), has called for a Day of Prayer and Fasting on Tuesday, September 12 (as the postal survey mailing begins). The move has been backed by Warwick Marsh, coordinator for the National Day of Prayer and Fasting. Marsh adds that cross-denominational group Christian Federation will offer an additional prayer outlet, on September 12.  “To inspire you in your prayers, the team at the Christian Federation – in collaboration with Christian leaders from all over Australia – will provide an all-day ‘Zoom Prayer’ conference call on the day from 8am-10pm,” says Marsh. “Thankfully, they are going to cover the whole week in prayer.”

James Condon, Commissioner in the Salvation Army, wants other Christian leaders to join in. “The team at the National Day of Prayer and Fasting calls for denominational leaders, prayer leaders, church networks, individual Christian churches and Christian organisations across the nation to get behind this important call for prayer,” says Condon.

In August, the leaders of the Catholic Church issued a call for for a month of ‘Prayer and Fasting for Marriage and Families’ during October this year.

“I congratulate the Catholic Church, together with all these many leaders, for showing leadership and taking the initiative to launch a call for a month of Prayer and Fasting for Marriage and Families,” said Peter Walker, an Indigenous Christian Leader. “In our culture, which has continued for thousands of years, marriage and family are paramount. Marriage is between one man and one woman. The Bible is also clear on this important issue. Jesus said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his mother and father and the two shall become one flesh’. It is wonderful that the Catholic Church is calling us back to the words of Jesus.”

A new lobby group Australian Christians for Marriage Equality (ACME) is being launched at gatherings around the country. It forms part of the Equality Campaign which advocates a “yes” vote in the (most likely) forthcoming postal survey.

They began yesterday at Sydney’s Paddington Uniting Church where minister Ben Gilmour said, “this postal vote is on the civil right of marriage equality and we believe that equality before the law is important for all. We also believe that marriage is a conservative institution that provides support for families and support for society. And so the inclusion of LGBTI people into this naming of family is important for us all.”

The “Yes” campaigners claim that a majority of Australian Christians will vote “yes”.

“We are here to encourage them to do that,” added Keith Mascord of the Equal Voices group. Channel Nine carried the launch live while a separate launch was held in Brisbane. Perth held a launch today (Thursday) with Melbourne on Friday

“It will cost $35,000 a day to ensure that millions of Australians hear the message about the consequences of change.” – Coalition for Marriage

If the ACME captured media attention yesterday, the start of the week was dominated by the launch of the “No” campaign’s TV commercial. It features three mothers who warn of the effect on education if same-sex marriage is legalised.

One of the possible effects claimed in the ad is that “the school told my son he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it.” This has been disputed by the school being referenced, Frankston High in Victoria. (UPDATE: The Victorian education department has now confirmed the mother did make a complaint directly to the department.) Another mother in the ad states that pro-LGBTI programmes in schools will become more common, and the third says “Kids in Year 7 are being asked to role-play being in a same-sex relationship.” On its fundraising site, the Coalition for Marriage describes the ad as “our first ad”, implying there will be more.

“It will cost $35,000 a day to ensure that millions of Australians hear the message about the consequences of change,” the fundraising site says.

“Your support today will ensure this campaign remains on the air, giving us the strongest chance to win the marriage plebiscite and defend marriage.”

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