26 May, 2009

Helping prostituted persons politically incorrect...

An appeal from the Saltshakers organization I received today reads like this:

News - Discrimination laws #3

We are saddened to note the following headline on the web over the weekend...
" Sex workers win apology from Salvation Army after threatening protest on Red Shield Appeal "

As part of this years Red Shield Appeal the Salvation Army had prepared advertisements with stories of how they had helped people. An advert in last Friday's Telegraph newspaper in Sydney told the brief story of a male prostitute who had been helped out of prostitution.

The Scarlet Alliance, which represents the interests of prostitutes nationwide, were upset by the ad and threatened to issue a ‘red ban’ on the Red Shield Appeal which was launched Friday. They claimed the ad was "capitalising on DISCRIMINATION against sex workers".
The Salvation Army issued an apology and said it would not use the advert again!!!!! It would appear they were afraid it would affect their appeal receipts.
The liveNews web site contains a video of the apology

How absurd this whole issue of discrimination has become, when prostitutes can blackmail a Christian organisation and accuse them of discrimination for telling such a story.

Yet, on The Scarlet Alliance web site, they have a picture of the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence", men dressed as Nuns, and a "naughty nurse" at Mardi Gras 07. They are clearly discriminating against the Catholic church and nurses!!
They also have a section titled, " Internet Viewing For Whores and Whore Lovers"!
One Goal of Scarlet Alliance is "To promote the civil and human rights of past and present sex workers [prostitutes] and to work toward ending all forms of discrimination against them".

Prostitutes 'rights' now appear to supersede the right of free speech and the 'right' to tell a HAPPY story of someone leaving such a degrading lifestyle.

Frankly, I think William Booth would be very disappointed to know that the organisation he founded had given in to such ridiculous provocation.
If this capitulation can happen when exceptions are in place - What next?
Action - Please write to the Salvation Army

Please write to the Salvation Army - commend them for the work they do and for tackling the issue of prostitution.
Express your concern that they were blackmailed in this way but that you are disappointed that they removed the ad and apologised for speaking the TRUTH.
Point out that this sets a terrible precedent that will affect any other Christian who dares call sin a sin in this nation.
They may not retract their apology but we could suggest it.
Email: salvosaus@aus.salvationarmy.org

Prostitution destroys lives, marriages and families. Many prostitutes are drug addicts. Either because they are prostitutes and the drugs hide the pain or they are users trying to make enough to pay for their habit.
They need our help.
At the same time society needs to be reminded that prostitution is neither healthy nor moral.
Peter Stokes
Executive Officer
Salt Shakers
03 9800 2855

22 May, 2009

Finding asylum within Australia

I went on a visit today to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne. I have never witnessed anything like it. Sometimes we think The Salvation Army has a monopoly on doing good, and on being the only ones who serve the ‘last and least’. Well, I hate to break the news to you, but we don’t. Here is a secular organization filled with some of the brightest and most qualified people, mostly volunteering, some being paid a pittance, sacrificing their time and status to work with the forgotten and rejected (even by The Salvation Army). And their work is outstanding. They help with legal, medical, counselling, financaial, material aide, food, social and recreation, all in this amazing, friendly and non-judgemental way. The people are so humble and committed and it felt like walking into a giant family home. I loved it, and felt even more convinced that this is work that we should be supporting.
I would encourage you to check out their website, and if you live locally, to find a way you can help them out. If the Army aren’t going to do this work, we need to help someone who is.
Happy collecting everyone,

Some information you may find interesting…

Asylum seekers and refugees do not get large handouts
from the government

Most asylum seekers in the community are not allowed to work. Any person
who takes longer than 45 days to seek asylum will be given a visa that denies
them the right to work, Medicare or an income. Also, anyone who seeks the
humanitarian intervention of the Minister for Immigration to ask to stay in
Australia must give up their work rights and access to Medicare to do so.
• The reality is the majority of asylum seekers are forced into a life of poverty
and reliance on organizations such as the ASRC just to survive as a result of
deliberate policies of destitution by our Federal Government.
• Asylum seekers want to work and support themselves but are not allowed
to. If caught working to support their family, they will be placed into a
detention centre. Asylum seekers who have no work right are not even
allowed to do volunteer work.
• Asylum seekers do not come to the Australia to claim benefits. In fact, most
know very little about how even to seek asylum in Australia or whether they
have any entitlements to government support.
• Asylum seekers do not jump the queue for public housing as they are not
eligible for public housing. Asylum seekers are forced to rely on the goodwill
of local communities, charities and churches for housing.
• Asylum seekers do not get any special benefi ts or perks. All asylum seekers
are denied access to: Centrelink, a Health Care Card, Job Network, Settlement
Programs, AMES English Classes and all Federally Funded Programs.
• Most asylum seekers are living in poverty and experience poor health and
Asylum seekers and refugees are law-abiding citizens
Contrary to government and media depictions of asylum seekers, the vast
majority of people seeking asylum are law - abiding citizens.
• Asylum seekers are no more likely to commit crimes than anyone else.
• Asylum seekers often feel unable to report incidents of racial/sexual
harassment or violence.
• Many female asylum seekers do not go out at night due to fear of abuse and
Department of Immigration officers have the power to detain asylum
seekers, even if they have not committed any crime.

Asylum seekers are looking for a place of safety
There is no such thing as illegal asylum seeker. Under international law,
anyone has the right to apply for asylum in Australia and to remain here until
the authorities have assessed their claim.
• Asylum seekers are not economic migrants. The top ten refugee producing
countries in 2006 all have poor human rights records or are places where war
or conflict is ongoing.
• The 1951 Refugee Convention guarantees everybody the right to apply for
asylum. It has saved millions of lives. No country has ever withdrawn from it.
• Most asylum seekers do not choose their destination country.
• Many refugees and asylum seekers hope to return home at some point in
the future, provided the situation in their country has improved.
Australia’s asylum system is very tough
• The Australia asylum system is one of the harshest and toughest in the
Western World. It’s very difficult to get asylum.

19 May, 2009

A Great Blog by Jim Wallis on Obama's controversal speech at Notre Dame

After weeks of controversy surrounding Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to receive an honorary doctorate as this year’s commencement speaker, we have seen both the American democratic tradition at its best and the worst examples of those who would rather wage culture wars than engage in that democratic tradition. read the rest here.

Is your cell phone fueling a war?

~ Rob

17 May, 2009

operation 58

Two nights of Operation 58 with Eastern Vic celebrating Isaiah 58 and God's call for us to live out justice as worship. Good times. Amazed by this generation's hunger for justice... and looking forward to how Operation 58 will help bring about a revolution of justice as worship and a lifestyle. If you'd like to get in on the action go here to hear the speak or get involved with fairtrade or etiko (a company that produces fairtade products) and get busy living out justice.

13 May, 2009

A tale of two trains

These photos came to me this week for another reason, but as I looked at them, I was of course able to connect it to justice!

So, this first one:

I don't know where this comes from, but I imagine it's not a stretch to say that something like this is a real experience for someone, somewhere. Wow, can you imagine something even remotely like this being a valid form of transport? And I grimace when there are noisy school girls giggling too loudly on the bus!

And this is the second one:

This is a shot from a Melbourne train station this week. And the article from the Herald-Sun reads...
"A HORRIFIED Premier has slammed the actions of a man captured riding on the back of a train. John Brumby today said he could not imagine a more stupid, idiotic or dangerous thing to do. A horrified reader captured the moment a man risked his life hitching a ride on the back of a train on Friday night. Mr Brumby called on anyone considering such a dangerous stunt to think of their loved ones before risking their lives. 'I would just say to that young person, while he may believe he’s infallible and may not care much for his own life if he is injured someone else bears the burden of that,' he said."

It just made me pause for a minute to compare the two situations. One, clearly worse than the other, is deemed 'normal', and the other is deemed an outrage and calls us to be 'horrified'!
It just makes you wonder how our world has developed such disparity of practice and values, and why we are so reluctant to ask some of the bigger questions that could lead to potential answers...doesn't it?


12 May, 2009

U2's 40 - A Hymn of Praise

some worship and justice. Perhaps it's time to join the Psalmist and Bono in the cry, 'how long?'

09 May, 2009

Fairtrade Fortnight - don't miss the opportunity!

This year’s Fair Trade Fortnight is set to be the biggest yet! With one more week to go, there’s still plenty of chances to be part of it!

Go to www.fairtrade.com.au/ftf09 for the latest Fair Trade Fortnight news, events, activities and promotions.

Victoria’s RMIT University and New South Wales’ Macquarie University have celebrated Fair Trade Fortnight by becoming the country’s first Fair Trade Universities. In doing so, RMIT and Macquarie have joined a growing number of Australian workplaces, schools, faith groups and councils who have signed up to help tackle poverty by becoming a Fair Trade Community. Read more here...


You only have a couple of more weeks to help us find Australia’s Most Fairtrade Friendly Supermarket for your chance to win a $2000 Fairtrade prize pack! The Award will be announced at the end of May and will go to the supermarket store found to be stocking the biggest range of Fairtrade Labelled products in the country. Visit www.checkoutfairtrade.org.au for more details on how to enter today and be sure to spread the word by including the competition on your organisation’s website, newsletter or blog – just click here to download the Checkout Fairtrade promotional image and text.


Hosting a Fairtrade Coffee Break with your workmates, faith or community group is a simple and easy way to take part of Fair Trade Fortnight while helping others realise the life-changing impact Fairtrade is making in the lives of developing country producers. To receive your FREE Fairtrade Coffee Break kit register online now at www.fairtrade.com.au/coffeebreak. Each Kit contains Fairtrade product samples, a guide on where to buy Fairtrade products and more information on the difference buying Fairtrade makes.

While hosting your Fairtrade Coffee Break be sure to watch the journey of Papua New Guinea Fairtrade coffee from tree to cup in The Okapa Connection – download it now! (*QuickTime required)


Tell your family, friends and workmates about Fair Trade Fortnight and the life-changing difference buying Fairtrade makes! There are a range of promotional materials available from the Resources section of the Fair Trade Fortnight website and you can also download Fairtrade Coffee Break and Checkout Fairtrade web banners as well as images and text for inclusion on your organisation’s website, newsletter or blog.


Major events happening in the second week of the Fortnight include:

· Saturday 9 May: Perth Fair Trade Fiesta @ City Farm, East Perth from 10am – 3pm

· Saturday 9 May: Manly Fair Trade Markets @ Manly Council Forecourt from 9am – 4pm

· Saturday 9 May: Adelaide World Fair Trade Day Quiz Night @ Deaf Can Do Hall (262 South Terrace, Adelaide) from 7pm – 10pm

· Saturday 9 May: Sydney World Fair Trade Day Big Bang Event @ The Fair Trade Coffee Company (33 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe) from 2.30pm – 4.30pm

· Friday 15 May: Melbourne Fair Trade Fiesta @ RMIT’s Storey Hall, Melbourne from Noon – 10pm

· Saturday 16 May: Brisbane Fair Trade Market @ the West End Club from 9am – 4pm

· Sunday 17 May: Parramatta Fair Trade Fair @ Parramatta Baptist Church from 10am – 3pm

These are just some of this week’s events so be sure to visit www.fairtrade.com.au/ftf09 to find out more about what’s happening in your local area. Holding an event? Please email info@fairtrade.com.au with any images from your event and we will add them to the Fair Trade Fortnight website!

04 May, 2009

02 May, 2009

Prostitutes likened to AFL draftees in trial.

check out this article for a taste of the kind of horrific rhetoric used to defend traffickers in Australia.
It likens them to the AFL drafters.
Please pray for the survivors of trafficking in Australia that they will receive the full protection of the law and provision for their lives to be rebuilt (including visa protection) AND that the traffickers will be fully prosecuted!!
If you'd like to join a prayer list called Freedom Fridays just email us and you are in.

01 May, 2009

Fairtrade Fortnight.

Don't miss this great opportunity to spread the good news of Justice to your workplace, community or school! Check out this site for resources and ideas of how to spread fair trade!