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Marriage equality law passes Australia's parliament in landslide vote


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Australia’s parliament has legislated for marriage equality, passing a bill almost unanimously to allow two people, regardless of sex, to marry.

On Thursday the House of Representatives passed a cross-party bill after an unprecedented national postal survey gave unstoppable momentum to legislate the historic social reform.

Australia, which changed the law in 2004 to say that marriage is only between a man and a woman, now becomes the 25th country to recognise same-sex marriage.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/07/marriage-equality-law-passes-australias-parliament-in-landslide-vote

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    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
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      With Case Study 54 only a few days away, THIS FRIDAY (AUSTRALIAN TIME) MARCH 10, 2017 (You do the math for local time...) a lot of discussion has been circulating as to exactly what we can expect when Watchtower appears once again before the Australian Royal Commission.
      I’ve decided to chip in a few observations here to help set expectations and to contribute to the discussions as best I’m able. So without further ado, let’s quickly run through what we know:
       
      What exactly will be discussed?   According to the Commission website, the scope of the study is as follows
      1.      The current policies and procedures of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd in relation to child protection and child-safe standards, including responding to allegations of child sexual abuse.
      2.      Factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse at Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd institutions.
      3.      Factors that may have affected the institutional response of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd to child sexual abuse.
      4.      The responses of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd to relevant case study report(s) and other Royal Commission reports.
      5.      Any related matters.
      The purpose of this public hearing is not to inquire into individual sets of facts or particular events as has occurred in previous Royal Commission case studies.
      Why does the Case Study 54 hearing appear to be only one day long?   This may appear at first glance to be a surprise. How can a single day of testimony possibly be enough to cover the vast and complex issue of Watchtower’s child abuse scandal?
       
      Well, remember that Case Study 54 isn’t a fact finding mission. That was Case Study 29. The Commission spent days digging and interviewing, and Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . As far as the Commission is concerned, the facts are in. There is no further debate. Case Study 54 is tasked purely with a quick review of those facts and then with publicly asking Watchtower what is has done to address the damning failures identified in Case Study 29.
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      So what has Watchtower done in the 21 months since Case Study 29?   As far as I am aware, the only potential effort from  Watchtower to address any of the concerns raised in the Royal Commission has been to no longer require an abuse survivor to confront their attacker. However, it was not clear from testimony if this practice had actually been halted before the Commission sat. Watchtower seemed to insist in testimony that it was, but their documentation did not reflect this.
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      The men in charge of Watchtower are firstly very deluded. They genuinely think they are defending God’s organization against Satanic and apostate attack, and feel that compromise will be a victory for Satan.   The men in charge of Watchtower are very out of touch with real life, spending all their days in a world where you don’t question Watchtower or those who run it, and now they’ve risen to the top. Their word is law. Odds are that no-one has told Anthony Morris III that his ideas are stupid for a very long time. They have no idea how to handle the kind of environment the Royal Commission brings to the table. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , where Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. was proof of that.   The men in charge of Watchtower are caught between being honest with a Commission that has all of their dirty little secrets on the one hand, and playing to the growing audience of JW’s who they know WILL find out about March 10th one way or the other. They have to both be as compliant as possible to the Commission whilst also appearing to be steadfast and unmovable to the Witnesses who will end up seeing the testimony on YouTube.   So delusion, seclusion, and public relations are all going to crash into once horrible mess as they did in Case Study 29 and as a result I have no idea what Watchtower will do on Friday.
       
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    • By Bible Speaks
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      Aaron Cockman, a Jehovah's Witness whose family was killed in the Margaret River massacre, spoke of his children going to a "new system" after their tragic deaths.

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    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      (New news ....)  A MONTANA Judge Orders Jehovah’s Witnesses to Turn Over Internal Documents Related to Childhood Sexual Abuse
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      On April 5, 2018, Judge James Manley of Sanders County, Montana ordered the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization to produce documents and testimony related to internal reports and investigations into the childhood sexual abuse of NPR’s two clients.
       
      In this case, the two Plaintiffs were sexually abused as children by a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Elders in the local Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Thompson Falls, Montana were aware of the abuse and failed to report it to the police, choosing instead to handle the reports and investigations internally pursuant to Jehovah’s Witness guidelines. Their decision not to report the abuse to authorities allowed the perpetrator to remain in the congregation and continue to abuse one of the Plaintiffs.
       
      Throughout this case, and similar childhood sexual abuse cases across the country, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have refused to produce documents related to their internal handling of reports of sexual abuse and related investigations and disciplinary actions claiming that the information is protected by the clergy-penitent privilege and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
       
      Through briefing to the court, NPR convinced the Judge that Defendants’ privilege claims were unsupported and improper under the law. The Court agreed that Defendants could not blanket everything related to their investigations in secrecy and that they must turn it over to the Plaintiffs. Often, this is the very evidence that can win or lose a case like this against a religious institution.
       
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      The plaintiffs in this case are represented by NPR partner D. Neil Smith and associate Ross E. Leonoudakis.
       
      ----------------------------------------------------------
      A Jury of 12 held in public view ... or a tribunal of three held in complete secrecy.
      Which would YOU choose,  to get Justice?
       
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      Our congregation of 40 publishers in Victoria, Australia, listening to our young ones appreciation for Sophia & Caleb during the ‘Forgive FreelyÂ’ part.  thank you

    • By Srecko Sostar
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      "Jehovah's Witnesses accused of failing to adopt abuse inquiry recommendations"
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Un hombre de la Costa Central que violó y torturó a una sucesión de mujeres durante más de dos décadas fue condenado a por lo menos 27 años de cárcel. El hombre de 53 años, que no puede ser identificado por razones legales, fue declarado culpable de 55 cargos relacionados con el abuso físico, sexual y psicológico de mujeres con las que vivió entre 1988 y 2014. El hombre, que era miembro de los Testigos de Jehová, fue acusado de violar a las mujeres con objetos domésticos y detenerlas. La naturaleza sádica de las ofensas incluía atacar y violar a las mujeres por no doblar correctamente el lavado, hacer que comieran del piso, encerrarlas en armarios y atarlas y colocarlas boca abajo en una bañera llena de agua. Algunas de las mujeres han sufrido lesiones físicas permanentes derivadas del abuso. Una de las mujeres conocidas como JF fue encerrada en un armario después de llamar a su hermana que contactó a la policía. Cuando la policía visitó la casa, el delincuente dijo que había salido. En la declaración de impacto de su víctima, JF dijo que "es difícil comprender el miedo a menos que haya vivido con él", y que "con frecuencia creía que no estaría viva al día siguiente". Al entregar la sentencia en el Tribunal del Distrito de Downing Center, la jueza Sarah Huggett dijo que el hombre usó "crueldad gratuita ... diseñada para enfatizar la impotencia y la impotencia de la víctima". "Cuando una víctima encontró la fuerza para escapar, encontró un reemplazo", dijo. "No tengo dudas de que había previsión, premeditación y planificación". El juez Huggett dijo que el grado de violencia era una consideración relevante en la sentencia y que el delincuente "asustaba, controlaba y socavaba la sensación de seguridad de cada víctima". El tribunal escuchó mientras estaba bajo custodia, el hombre había sido verbalmente agresivo hacia los visitantes y el personal de enfermería. El hombre será elegible para libertad en 2041.
       
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    • Guest Nicole
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      Los Testigos de Jehová: epidemia de casos
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      Cahill y Wilkinson atribuyen la mala gestión de los abusos en ambientes de Testigos de Jehová a su lectura literal de Deuteronomio 19,15, que pide dos testigos del acto de abuso, por la que los responsables de las comunidades dejaban impunes a los abusadores y sin tratar las denuncias.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      An Iranian illegal immigrant who faked a homosexual relationship and claimed he had torn up the Koran and become a Jehovah’s Witness has had his application for asylum rejected in Federal Court.
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    • By Jack Ryan
      A former member of the Jehovah Witness congregation will appear in court next week after he was charged with sexually assaulting four boys.
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      All Exhibits for Case Study 54, Jehovah's Witnesses and Watchtower, have been released by the ARC.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. EXHIBIT LIST
      Joint Statement of O'Brien and Spinks Child Protection Guidelines for Branch Office Service Desk Child Safeguarding Policy of Jehovah's Witnesses in Australia (draft version as presented to ARC) Legal Guidelines on Reporting Obligations (State-by-State) Correspondence between Watchtower and Governing Body Summons to Produce Watchtower body of elders letter Watchtower response to ARC plus more.
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      Child pornography: Showing pornography to a minor is considered to be child sexual abuse. Although viewing child pornography is not considered to be child sexual abuse, it is still a serious violation of Jehovah’s standards. A person in-volved in viewing child pornography should be strongly counseled. Depending on the frequency and the extent of his viewing, he could be subject to congregation judicial action. In such cases, the Service Department may decide that branch-imposed restrictions are warranted.—See the April 10, 2012, letter to all bodies of elders
      I will allude to the April 10th 2012 letter to elders that made a distinction between regular porn and "abhorrent" pornography:
      He may continue to serve if his involvement consisted of (1) a few brief viewings, (2) he displays a heartfelt desire to desist from looking at pornography in any form, (3) the elders are convinced that he will refrain from viewing pornography, (4) he continues to retain the respect of others who are aware of what he did, and (5) his conscience allows him to do so.
      ...
      An entrenched practice of viewing, perhaps over a considerable period of time, abhorrent forms of pornography that is sexually degrading. Such pornography may include homosexuality (sex between those of the same gender), group sex, bestiality, sadistic torture, bondage, gang rape, the brutalizing of women, or child pornography. Brazen conduct would be involved if the offender was promoting such material, such as by inviting others to view it, thus giving evidence of a brazen attitude. — w12 3/15 pp. 30-31; w06 7/15 p. 31.
      ...
      Thererefore, viewing pornography escalates to gross uncleanness if the type of pornography viewed was abhorrent or sexually degrading in nature, as described in the second example above. An additional factor to be considered would be if it were a practice for "many years." As a general principle, when these elements are present, a judicial committee would need to handle the matter. At Ephesians 4:19 Paul stated: "Having come to be past all moral sense, they gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every sort with greediness." (Gal. 5: 19; w83 3/15 p. 31 par. 3) When an individual has 'given himself over' to this unclean practice as evidenced by his repeatedly viewing abhorrent pornography, the matter has escalated to gross uncleanness and needs to be handled judicially. — w06 711 5 pp. 29-3 1.
    • By Jack Ryan
      The Coordinators Committee of the Governing Body, in evidence the Australian Branch submitted to the Australian Royal Commission:
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      The leak mentioned in that document was the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      via Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. World News
    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
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    • By Bible Speaks
      Brisbane Assembly Hall, Park Ridge, Queensland, Australia.…Thank you @eldeb_jw_my_photography

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Source: @CARoyalComm/Twitter
       
      More than one in five members of the Christian Brothers order were alleged child sexual abuse perpetrators and 7% of Australian Catholic priests have allegedly perpetrated abuse since 1950, the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has been told.
      The commission reopened in Sydney today for its 50th case study, looking into the policies and procedures of Catholic church authorities. Six archbishops from across Australia have been called to give evidence in the coming weeks. It’s the 16th time the four-year-long inquiry has looked into the Catholic church and the first time figures have been released on abuse levels.
      Senior counsel assisting, Gail Furness SC, outlined shocking levels of child sexual abuse in her opening address, saying 4,444 people were allegedly abused between 1980 and 2015 in around 1000 different institutions.
      “Of priests from the 75 Catholic Church authorities with priest members surveyed, who ministered in Australia between 1950 and 2010, 7.9% of diocesan priests were alleged perpetrators and 5.7% of religious priests were alleged perpetrators,” Furness said. “Overall, 7% of priests were alleged perpetrators.”
      The average age of the victims was just 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys. On average, it took around 33 years from the incident before claims of abuse emerged.
      The widespread levels of abuse outlined by Furness over the last four decades include the Marist Brothers, which like the Christian Brothers, runs schools, and 20% of the order were perpetrators. The figure climbed to a staggering 40.4% in the St John of God Brothers order.
      Among the abusers, nearly 1,900 have been identified, but another 500 are still unknown. Among the perpetrators, 32% were religious brothers, 30% were priests, and 29% were lay people, with religious sisters at 5%.
      Data suggested 21.5% of priests from the Benedictine Community of New Norcia were alleged perpetrators.
      There were regional hotspots of abuse, most notably in Sale and Sandhurst in Victoria, with around 15% of priests allegedly responsible, followed by Port Pirie in South Australia, and Lismore and Wollongong in NSW.
      Nearly four in every 10 private sessions (37%) held with abuse survivors involved the Catholic church.
      Furness said accounts of abuse survivors “were depressingly similar”.
      “Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious (members) were moved,” she said.
      “The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past. Documents were not kept or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed as did cover ups.
      “Priests and religious (members) were not properly dealt with and outcomes were often not representative of their crimes. Many children suffered and continue as adults to suffer from their experiences in some Catholic institutions.”
      The abuse claims were made to 93 Catholic Church authorities and the Holy See blocked attempts by the royal commission to find out what action was taken by the church against priests suspected of abuse.
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      “Breakfast congee” with maple granola, blueberries,and poached strawberries. Photo: Melissa Hom
      Australians have contributed many things to the New York coffee shop, flat whites and avocado toast among them. And as of next week, the Good Sort brings something new to the category: sweet and savory congees, the rice porridge commonly consumed in China for breakfast. This makes sense, since the shop is co-owned by Australian expat Eddy Buckingham and his Chinese-born partner Jeff Lam, and is adjacent to their restaurant, Chinese Tuxedo. There’s a turmeric-and-coconut congee with Champagne-poached cranberries; a mushroom congee with braised shiitake and jicama, served with the Chinese cruller called youtiao; and even “Aunt Kate’s pear crumble congee.” There are also Chinese teas, espresso drinks, and come spring, fresh juices, all categorized by color. Another innovation: Everything is vegan, including the pastries and the “milks” (oat, coconut, almond) in the lattes.

      Clockwise from top left: Aunt Kate’s pear crumble congee with poached pears. Turmeric-and-coconut congee with Champagne-poached cranberries. “Breakfast congee.” Not a congee: pandan tapioca with kaffir-and-palm-sugar caramel, lychee, pineapple, and puffed rice. Photo: Melissa Hom

      Color-coded vegan lattes, made with non-dairy “milks” and no coffee: Red (beet), Black (sesame and activated charcoal), and Gold (turmeric). Photo: Melissa Hom

      Algae-enhanced Blue latte. Photo: Melissa Hom

      The Green Latte, with matcha. Photo: Melissa Hom

      Prior to becoming a Sino-Australian vegan coffee shop, the space was a Chinatown liquor store. The espresso machine is Italian; the Vittoria coffee beans come from Australia. Photo: Melissa Hom

      The shop is next to Chinese Tuxedo on Chinatown’s most atmospheric block. Photo: Melissa Hom

      The name refers to Aussie slang for “a person you like and would like to spend more time around,” according to co-owner Eddy Buckingham. Photo: Melissa Hom

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A masseur who raped an 80-year-old woman during a massage in her Victorian home has been jailed for three years and nine months for a crime a judge described as "incomprehensible".
      Malcolm Lee, 56, was hired by the woman's daughter to provide a massage therapy session for the older woman, and on April 1 attended her home and had her lie on her back, without a towel over her naked body.
      Lee rubbed her legs, the County Court heard, and then digitally raped the woman, touched her breast and kissed her on the lips.
      He later told police he thought the woman was consenting to what he was doing, but judge Gerard Mullaly on Friday rejected that explanation as fanciful.
      Judge Mullaly said Lee's conduct was "an abhorrent violation of a vulnerable woman", and bewildering.
      "Any right-minded member of the community would immediately be taken aback and ask how you could do such a thing to a vulnerable 80-year-old woman in her own home, all within an hour or so of meeting her for the first time, and all while you were there for the purpose of providing a professional massage," the judge said.
      "It would have been plain to you that the massage organised by a daughter for her 80-year-old mother would be an orthodox massage.
      "That is a massage performed in accordance with well-understood standards of a proper massage therapy.
      "It simply would go without saying that this was not to be a massage where it would be conceivable, let alone be permitted, for you to touch the victim in any sexual way whatsoever.
      "Unfortunately for the victim, and for you, inappropriately touching her was exactly what you did."
      Judge Mullaly said Lee's violation left the woman stunned and frozen in fear, but that she summoned great dignity when she told him: "Thank you for what was quite a massage. Much more intimate than I expected and somewhere along the way some boundaries were crossed."
      Lee later told police he believed the woman consented to what he was doing, although he also told the woman's daughter he had crossed boundaries and was sorry.
      Judge Mullaly described as preposterous Lee's claim of consent.
      "Rather, you touched her in the ways that you wanted because you wanted to. Simple as that," he said.
      Lee, a masseur for 14 years who was registered with the national body, pleaded guilty to rape and sexual assault.
      His lawyer this week called for him to be spared jail because of his mistaken belief about consent, his subsequent remorse and previous good character. He had since split from his wife and was ostracised by his family and friends in the Jehovah's Witnesses church.
      But Judge Mullaly said jail was the only appropriate penalty for the "brazen" breach of trust, which had had a significant impact on the woman and her daughter.
      The victim endured nightmares initially and her shock and anger had subsided into sadness and depression that had "diminished the quality of her life". The daughter felt guilt at arranging the massage, but Judge Mullaly said she was blameless and that Lee alone was responsible.
      Lee must serve 2½ years before he is eligible for parole.

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    • By Jack Ryan
      fyi, 10/12/2016 at melton assembly hall. 1,266 in attendance.
      Two 15 yo, one male one female baptised.
      Costs for the day, $6,951:00 
      Before costs contribution to Sydney branch office from last assembly surplus $3,000:00
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A FORMER Jehovah's Witness elder who apologised to his alleged victim on Facebook has been charged with two counts of indecent assault. Richard Hill will appear in the Heidelberg Magistrate's Court on March 1 over allegations that he sexually assaulted a six-year-old girl in 1981.
      The victim, now 38, told Fairfax Media that Mr Hill did everything except penetrate her - ''he tried, but couldn't manage''.
      She said she ''did not realise the gravity'' of what had happened until she was about 14.
      At that point she told her mother, who could not act because of a Jehovah's Witness rule that allegations of sexual abuse would only be acted on if two elders witnessed it, she said.
      Much later, the victim confronted Mr Hill on Facebook. ''He turned around and apologised,'' she said. ''He became an elder within the church and rose quite high up. Since he was charged, he has stepped down.''
      The Victorian inquiry into how churches handled complaints of child sex abuse heard from two former Jehovah's Witnesses on Monday, who say they have been ostracised by the church.
      Fairfax Media reported on Monday that the child was one of four who clubbed together their pocket money to raise the $69.70 needed to launch a prosecution against the church over its alleged refusal to get working-with-children checks.

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    • By The Librarian
      Greetings from chandler Cong tagalog Brisbane Australia, chandler Kingdom hall @jazzme_jw
      Thank you
       
       
      View the full article
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Los Testigos de Jehová no protegen "adecuadamente" a los menores del riesgo de ser víctimas de abusos sexuales en el seno de esta congregación cristiana en Australia, revela un informe oficial divulgado hoy.
      El informe de una comisión gubernamental australiana, que investiga la respuesta institucional a la pederastia, también señaló que esta organización de culto no "responde adecuadamente a las denuncias de abusos sexuales a menores".
      El informe realizado por la comisión es el resultado de las audiencias realizadas en julio y agosto de 2015 en Sídney sobre los casos de dos víctimas de abusos sexuales cuando eran menores, así como los testimonios de testigos y expertos.
      En el "Estudio del Caso 29: La Respuesta de los Testigos de Jehová", también se analizaron los sistemas, políticas y procedimientos de esta organización para prevenir, responder y denunciar los abusos sexuales a menores, así como las denuncias, informes o quejas de más de mil sus miembros.
      "De las evidencias presentadas, la comisión considera que la organización de los Testigos de Jehová se apoya en políticas y prácticas obsoletas para responder a las acusaciones de abusos sexuales que no están sujetas a una revisión constante y continua", se indica en un comunicado.
      La comisión también considera que los Testigos de Jehová adolecen de "una falta grave de entendimiento sobre la naturaleza del abuso sexual de un menor".
      La investigación determinó que los procedimientos para lidiar con las quejas no se han revisado desde la creación de esta comunidad a finales del siglo XIX y se apoyan en normas de hace casi 2.000 años.
      En el seno de los Testigos de Jehová, los casos de abusos sexuales son investigados por dos ancianos, que deben establecer la verdad de acuerdo a los estándares bíblicos, que incluyen la confesión del supuesto agresor.
      "Si el acusado no confiesa, hay un requerimiento inflexible de que debe haber dos testigos oculares de un incidente de abuso sexual a un menor" para que la congregación considere probada la agresión sexual, se indica en el documento.
      Además, hasta 1998 la denuncia debía formularse en presencia de éstos y del presunto agresor.
      La comisión autora del informe investiga desde 2012 la respuesta de las instituciones a los abusos sexuales a menores que estaban bajo el cuidado de organizaciones públicas, sociales o religiosas y que ha llevado a comparecer como testigo al mismo cardenal George Pell, máximo representante de la Iglesia australiana y ministro de Finanzas del Vaticano.
      A principios de mes, el Gobierno australiano anunció que indemnizará a las víctimas de estos abusos con hasta 150.000 dólares locales (115.200 dólares o 103.759 euros) como parte de un plan que el Gobierno federal implementará a partir de 2018.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Young people participating in a drama about Moses
       




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    • Not the usual Hebrew word for "law" but a late word borrowed from Persian, which is why they say it only shows up in Daniel and Esther (meaning law or custom). It did not come to mean ceremony/ritual until even later. In MODERN Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew, is it also used to describe someone who is religious. From what I can tell, this is not the same word "dat" which is related to data/datum. That word "dat" is from the word "give" implying "thing" as it to "give a thing" or "any gi
    • Well the GB and Elders act as judges that's for sure, but they will suffer for it later.   
    • Interesting. In both Arabic and Hebrew the words for religion are “din” and “dat”, which both mean “law”. Religious leaders are basically judges. By the way, the word “dat” is the origin of the word “data”.
    • Any collective belief in some approach as "the way" to solve problems is, literally, a bringing together of individuals (re = again, ligio = bond, reverence, and religare = to bind).
    • Bitcoin adoption took another boost in South America yesterday after the Argentinian central bank announced measures to tighten controls on the movement of foreign currency. The announcement came shortly after the Argentine peso plunged over 10%, setting the long-suffering Argentinian people back further. Only 20 years ago, the Argentine peso was 1:1 with the USD, but corruption and mismanagement has seen its economy collapse and the national currency is now artificially pegged at 72:1
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    • Eric Ouellet

      Qu’est-ce que le Jour du Jugement ?

      La Bible dit que Dieu “ a fixé un jour où il va juger la terre habitée ”. (Actes 17:31.) Pour beaucoup, l’idée d’être soumis à un jugement, quel qu’il soit, est désagréable. Voyez-vous les choses ainsi ?
      SI C’EST le cas, rassurez-vous : le Jour du Jugement est une disposition pleine d’amour qui apportera de grands bienfaits à la famille humaine, y compris aux morts (Matthieu 20:28 ; Jean 3:16). Mais pourquoi est-il nécessaire ? Et que se passera-t-il réellement pendant ce “ jour ” ?
      Pourquoi le Jour du Jugement est nécessaire
      Lorsque Dieu a placé les humains sur la terre, il ne la destinait pas à n’être qu’un lieu d’épreuve en vue d’une existence dans un autre monde. Il a créé les humains pour qu’ils y vivent éternellement. Bien que parfaits physiquement et mentalement, Adam et Ève, le premier couple, se sont rebellés contre Dieu. Ils ont alors perdu la perspective de la vie éternelle pour eux-mêmes, et ont transmis le péché et la mort à tous leurs descendants. — Genèse 2:15-17 ; Romains 5:12.
      Le Jour du Jugement sera une période de mille ans durant laquelle les hommes auront la possibilité de retrouver ce qu’Adam et Ève ont perdu*. Remarquez que, selon Actes 17:31, cité plus haut, ce “ jour ” concerne les personnes qui vivent sur “ la terre habitée ”. Celles qui recevront un jugement favorable vivront sur la terre, éternellement et dans des conditions parfaites (Révélation 21:3, 4). Le Jour du Jugement contribue donc à l’accomplissement du dessein originel de Dieu pour l’homme et pour la planète.
      Le Juge que Dieu a établi est Christ Jésus. La Bible révèle qu’il va “ juger les vivants et les morts ”. (2 Timothée 4:1.) Qui sont “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés ? Comment les morts vont-ils revenir à la vie sur “ la terre habitée ” ?
      Jésus juge “ les vivants ”
      Nous sommes maintenant proches de la fin annoncée du présent système de choses, où Dieu va détruire tous les éléments de la société humaine corrompue et supprimer les méchants. Les personnes qui réchapperont seront “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés. — Révélation 7:9-14 ; 19:11-16.
      Durant la période de jugement qui durera mille ans, Christ Jésus ainsi que 144 000 hommes et femmes ressuscités pour vivre dans les cieux dirigeront la terre. Exerçant les fonctions de rois et de prêtres, ils dispenseront les bienfaits du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus et amèneront progressivement les humains fidèles à la perfection physique et mentale. — Révélation 5:10 ; 14:1-4 ; 20:4-6.
      Pendant le Jour du Jugement, Satan et ses démons ne seront plus libres d’influencer l’activité humaine (Révélation 20:1-3). Toutefois, à la fin de ce “ jour ”, Satan sera autorisé à éprouver la fidélité de tous les humains alors en vie. Ceux qui resteront fidèles à Dieu passeront avec succès l’épreuve à laquelle Adam et Ève ont échoué. Ils seront jugés dignes de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre redevenue un paradis. Ceux qui décideront de se rebeller contre Dieu seront détruits pour toujours, de même que Satan et ses démons. — Révélation 20:7-9.
      Le jugement des “ morts ”
      On lit dans la Bible qu’au Jour du Jugement les morts “ se lèveront ”. (Matthieu 12:41.) Jésus a dit : “ L’heure vient où tous ceux qui sont dans les tombes de souvenir entendront sa voix et sortiront, ceux qui ont fait des choses bonnes, pour une résurrection de vie, ceux qui ont pratiqué des choses viles, pour une résurrection de jugement. ” (Jean 5:28, 29). Il n’est pas question ici des âmes désincarnées des défunts. Ces derniers sont totalement inconscients et n’ont pas d’âme qui survive à la mort (Ecclésiaste 9:5 ; Jean 11:11-14, 23, 24). Jésus relèvera sur la terre tous ceux qui se sont endormis dans la mort.
      Seront-ils jugés sur la base de ce qu’ils ont fait avant leur mort ? Non. Les Écritures enseignent que “ celui qui est mort a été acquitté de son péché ”. (Romains 6:7.) Ainsi, tout comme les survivants de la fin du système actuel, les ressuscités pour la vie sur la terre seront jugés “ selon leurs actions ” au cours du Jour du Jugement (Révélation 20:12, 13). En fonction de l’issue de leurs actions, leur résurrection se révélera aboutir soit à l’éternité, soit à la destruction. Nombre de ces ressuscités découvriront Jéhovah Dieu et ses exigences pour obtenir la vie. Ils auront la possibilité de se conformer à la volonté de Dieu et de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre.
      Aucune raison d’avoir peur
      Le Jour du Jugement ne sera pas seulement un temps d’instruction divine, mais aussi un temps où tous les vivants appliqueront ce qu’ils apprendront et en verront les bienfaits. Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus et progresserez à leurs côtés vers la perfection !
      Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus.
      Au terme du Jour du Jugement, Dieu permettra à Satan d’éprouver la fidélité des êtres humains. Il n’y a cependant pas lieu d’être inquiet ou d’avoir peur. Tous seront alors solidement armés pour faire face à cette dernière épreuve. Ainsi, le Jour du Jugement est une étape dans l’accomplissement du dessein divin qui effacera toutes les conséquences de la rébellion originelle contre Dieu dans le jardin d’Éden.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Chantons avec coeur et allégresse 
      Psaumes
      146 Louez Jah!
      Que tout mon être loue Jéhovah !
       2 Je veux louer Jéhovah toute ma vie.
      Je veux chanter des louanges à mon Dieu aussi longtemps que je vivrai.
       3 Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les princes,
      ni dans un fils d’homme, qui est incapable de sauver.
       4 L’esprit de l’homme sort, l’homme retourne au sol ;
      ce jour-là, ses pensées périssent.
       5 Heureux celui qui a pour secours le Dieu de Jacob
      et dont l’espoir est en Jéhovah son Dieu,
       6 Celui qui a fait le ciel et la terre,
      la mer, et tout ce qui s’y trouve,
      celui qui reste fidèle pour toujours,
       7 celui qui garantit la justice aux spoliés,
      celui qui donne du pain aux affamés.
      Jéhovah libère les prisonniers ;
       8 Jéhovah ouvre les yeux des aveugles ;
      Jéhovah relève ceux qui sont courbés ;
      Jéhovah aime les justes.
       9 Jéhovah protège les résidents étrangers ;
      il soutient l’orphelin de père et la veuve,
      mais il contrecarre les projets des méchants
      10 Jéhovah sera Roi pour toujours,
      ton Dieu, ô Sion, de génération en génération.
      Louez Jah !

      · 0 replies
    • REDROCHA  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you Sister !!!!
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LES QUALITÉS D'UN BERGER ET LES ASSISTANTS DE L'ASSEMBLÉE 

      PREMIÈRE LETTRE DE TIMOTHÉE

      3 La parole suivante est digne de foi : Si un homme aspire à être un responsable, il désire une belle œuvre. 2 Il faut donc qu’un responsable soit irréprochable, mari d’une seule femme, modéré dans ses habitudes, réfléchi, ordonné, hospitalier, capable d’enseigner, 3 que ce ne soit pas un ivrogne ni un homme violent, mais un homme raisonnable, non querelleur, non ami de l’argent, 4 un homme qui dirige d’une belle façon sa propre famille, qui tienne ses enfants dans la soumission en toute dignité 5 (car si un homme ne sait pas diriger sa propre famille, comment prendra-t-il soin de l’assemblée de Dieu ?), 6 que ce ne soit pas un homme récemment converti, de peur qu’il se gonfle d’orgueil et tombe sous le coup de la condamnation portée contre le Diable. 7 D’autre part, il faut aussi qu’il reçoive un beau témoignage des gens extérieurs à l’assemblée, afin de ne pas tomber dans le déshonneur et dans un piège du Diable.
      8 De même, il faut que les assistants soient des hommes dignes, qu’ils n’aient pas un langage double, qu’ils soient modérés dans la consommation de vin, non avides d’un gain malhonnête, 9 attachés au saint secret de la foi avec une conscience pure.
      10 De plus, qu’ils soient d’abord mis à l’épreuve quant à leurs aptitudes ; puis, s’ils sont exempts d’accusation, qu’ils servent comme ministres.
      11 De même, il faut que les femmes soient dignes, non calomniatrices, modérées dans leurs habitudes, fidèles en toutes choses.
      12 Les assistants doivent être maris d’une seule femme et diriger d’une belle façon leurs enfants et leur propre famille. 13 Car les hommes qui servent d’une belle façon acquièrent une belle réputation et une grande confiancepour parler de la foi en Christ Jésus.
      14 Je t’écris ces choses, bien que j’espère venir bientôt chez toi, 15 pour que, au cas où je serais retardé, tu saches comment tu dois te conduire dans la maison de Dieu, qui est l’assemblée du Dieu vivant, colonne et soutien de la vérité. 16 Oui, il faut avouer qu’il est grand, le saint secret de l’attachement à Dieu : « Il a été manifesté dans la chair, a été déclaré juste dans l’esprit, est apparu aux anges, a été prêché parmi les nations, a été cru dans le monde, a été enlevé dans la gloire. »





      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bergers, imitez les Grands Bergers
       
      Christ [...] a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un modèle pour que vous suiviez fidèlement ses traces » (1 PIERRE 2:21)

      QUAND un berger s’intéresse de près au bien-être de son troupeau, les moutons se portent bien. Selon un manuel sur l’élevage ovin, « l’homme qui se contente de mener le troupeau au pré puis n’y prête plus attention risque fort, en quelques années, d’avoir de nombreuses bêtes malades qui ne rapportent rien ». Par contre, quand les moutons reçoivent l’attention voulue, le troupeau prospère.
      La qualité des soins et de l’attention que les bergers du troupeau de Dieu prodiguent à chaque brebis dont ils sont responsables influera sur la santé spirituelle de toute la congrégation. Tu te souviens peut-être que Jésus a eu pitié des foules parce qu’« elles étaient dépouillées et éparpillées comme des brebis sans berger » (Mat. 9:36). Pourquoi se trouvaient-elles en si piteuse condition ? Parce que les hommes chargés d’enseigner la Loi de Dieu au peuple étaient durs, exigeants et hypocrites. Au lieu de soutenir et de nourrir les membres de leur troupeau, les guides spirituels d’Israël posaient sur leurs épaules de « lourdes charges » (Mat. 23:4).
      Les bergers chrétiens d’aujourd’hui, les anciens, ont donc une lourde responsabilité. Les brebis du troupeau sous leur garde appartiennent à Jéhovah ainsi qu’à Jésus, qui s’est présenté comme « l’excellent berger » (Jean 10:11). Les brebis ont été « acheté[e]s à un prix », que Jésus a payé avec son propre « sang précieux » (1 Cor. 6:20 ; 1 Pierre 1:18, 19). Jésus aime tellement les brebis qu’il a bien voulu sacrifier sa vie pour elles. Les anciens ne devraient jamais oublier qu’ils sont des sous-bergers sous la surveillance du Fils bienveillant de Dieu, Jésus Christ, « le grand berger des brebis » (Héb. 13:20).
      Comment les bergers chrétiens devraient-ils traiter les brebis ? Les membres de la congrégation sont exhortés à « obéi[r] à ceux qui [les] dirigent ». De leur côté, les anciens ne doivent pas « commande[r] en maîtres ceux qui sont l’héritage de Dieu » (Héb. 13:17 ; lire 1 Pierre 5:2, 3). Alors comment peuvent-ils diriger le troupeau sans le commander en maîtres ? Autrement dit, comment peuvent-ils répondre aux besoins des brebis sans abuser de l’autorité dont Dieu les a investis ?
      « IL LES PORTERA SUR SON SEIN »
      Parlant de Jéhovah, le prophète Isaïe a déclaré : « Comme un berger il fera paître son troupeau. De son bras il rassemblera les agneaux ; et sur son sein il les portera. Il conduira doucement celles qui allaitent » (Is. 40:11). Cette comparaison montre que Jéhovah se soucie des besoins des membres de la congrégation faibles et vulnérables. De même qu’un berger connaît les besoins particuliers de chaque brebis de son troupeau et se tient prêt à les combler, Jéhovah connaît les besoins des membres de la congrégation et est heureux de leur apporter le soutien voulu. À l’image d’un berger qui, si nécessaire, porte un agneau nouveau-né dans le pli de son vêtement, « le Père des tendres miséricordes » nous portera, ou nous consolera, quand nous serons durement éprouvés ou rencontrerons un besoin particulier (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).

      Quel exemple admirable pour un berger chrétien ! Comme son Père céleste, il lui faut être attentif aux besoins des brebis. S’il est au courant des difficultés qu’elles rencontrent et des besoins qui méritent une attention immédiate, il sera en mesure d’offrir l’encouragement et le soutien nécessaires (Prov. 27:23). Il doit donc bien communiquer avec ses compagnons chrétiens. Tout en respectant la vie privée de chacun, il s’intéresse à ce qu’il voit et entend dans la congrégation, avec amour, il se rend disponible pour « venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:35 ; 1 Thess. 4:11).
      Parlons de la mentalité de bergers que Jéhovah a désapprouvés. Aux jours d’Ézékiel et de Jérémie, Jéhovah a dénoncé ceux qui auraient dû s’occuper de ses brebis, mais ne le faisaient pas. Quand personne ne surveillait les brebis, le troupeau devenait la proie de bêtes sauvages et se dispersait. Ces bergers exploitaient les brebis et, plutôt que de les faire paître, « ils se paissaient eux-mêmes » (Ézék. 34:7-10 ; Jér. 23:1). Le reproche que Dieu leur a fait est tout aussi valable pour les chefs de la chrétienté. Mais il souligne également combien il est important qu’un ancien s’occupe avec sérieux et amour du troupeau de Jéhovah.
      « JE VOUS AI DONNÉ L’EXEMPLE »
      En raison de l’imperfection humaine, certaines brebis peuvent être lentes à comprendre ce que le Berger suprême attend d’elles. Elles ne se conforment pas toujours à un conseil biblique ou ont un comportement trahissant un manque de maturité spirituelle. Comment les anciens doivent-ils réagir ? Ils devraient imiter la patience qu’a eue Jésus envers ses disciples quand ils cherchaient à savoir qui parmi eux serait le plus grand dans le Royaume. Au lieu de perdre patience, Jésus a continué à les enseigner et à leur donner des conseils bienveillants sur la pratique de l’humilité (Luc 9:46-48 ; 22:24-27). En leur lavant les pieds, il leur a fait une démonstration d’humilité, qualité que les surveillants chrétiens sont tenus de manifester (lire Jean 13:12-15 ; 1 Pierre 2:21).
      Le point de vue de Jésus sur le rôle du berger n’était pas le même que celui que Jacques et Jean ont un jour manifesté. Ces deux apôtres cherchaient à s’assurer une place en vue dans le Royaume. Mais Jésus a rectifié cet état d’esprit ainsi : « Vous savez que les chefs des nations dominent sur elles, et que les grands usent d’autorité sur elles. Il n’en sera pas ainsi parmi vous ; mais quiconque voudra devenir grand parmi vous sera votre serviteur » (Mat. 20:25, 26, Bible de Darby). Les apôtres devaient résister à l’envie de « commander en maîtres » leurs compagnons ou de « dominer sur » eux.
      Jésus tient à ce que les bergers chrétiens traitent le troupeau comme lui le traitait. Ils doivent être disposés à servir leurs compagnons, pas les dominer. Paul a manifesté une telle humilité. Il a dit en effet aux anciens de la congrégation d’Éphèse : « Vous savez bien comment, depuis le premier jour où j’ai mis le pied dans le district d’Asie, j’ai été avec vous tout le temps, travaillant comme un esclave pour le Seigneur, avec la plus grande humilité. » L’apôtre souhaitait que ces anciens soutiennent les brebis avec dévouement et humilité. Il a ajouté : « Je vous ai montré en toutes choses que c’est en peinant ainsi que vous devez venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:18, 19, 35). Il a par ailleurs dit aux Corinthiens qu’il ne dominait pas sur leur foi. Il était plutôt leur humble compagnon de travail, pour leur joie (2 Cor. 1:24). C’est un bel exemple d’humilité et de courage pour les anciens de notre époque.
      « FERMEMENT ATTACHÉ À LA PAROLE FIDÈLE »
      Un ancien doit être « fermement attaché à la parole fidèle pour ce qui est de son art d’enseigner » (Tite 1:9). Mais il le sera « dans un esprit de douceur » (Gal. 6:1). Un bon berger chrétien ne force pas une brebis à agir de telle ou telle façon. Non, il réfléchit à la manière dont il stimulera son cœur. Il attirera peut-être son attention sur les principes bibliques à considérer avant de prendre une décision importante. Il reverra avec elle ce que les publications ont dit sur la question. Il l’exhortera à réfléchir aux conséquences de tel ou tel choix sur ses relations avec Jéhovah. Il pourra aussi insister sur l’importance de demander à Dieu sa direction avant de prendre une décision (Prov. 3:5, 6). Ensuite, il la laissera prendre elle-même sa décision (Rom. 14:1-4).
      La seule autorité que les surveillants chrétiens détiennent leur vient des Écritures. Alors ils doivent absolument se servir de la Bible avec habileté et adhérer à son contenu. Ils se garderont ainsi d’un éventuel abus de pouvoir. Car ils ne sont que sous-bergers ; chaque membre de la congrégation est responsable devant Jéhovah et Jésus de ses propres décisions (Gal. 6:5, 7, 8).
      « DES EXEMPLES POUR LE TROUPEAU »
      Après avoir déconseillé aux anciens ( prêtres )« commander en maîtres ceux qui [leur] sont échus en partage », l’apôtre Pierre les exhorte à « devenir des exemples pour le troupeau » (1 Pierre 5:3, note). De quelle façon sont-ils des exemples pour le troupeau ? Prenons deux des choses requises d’un frère qui « aspire à une fonction de surveillant ». Il lui faut être « sain d’esprit » et « présider de belle façon, sa propre maisonnée ». S’il a une famille, il doit la présider de manière exemplaire, car « si quelqu’un [...] ne sait pas présider sa propre maisonnée, comment prendra-t-il soin de la congrégation ( assemblée) de Dieu ? » (1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4, 5). Il doit également être sain d’esprit, c’est-à-dire comprendre clairement les principes divins et savoir comment les appliquer dans sa propre vie. Il est calme et équilibré et se garde de porter des jugements hâtifs. Autant de qualités qui inspirent confiance aux membres de la congrégation.
      Les surveillants donnent également l’exemple en prenant la tête dans l’œuvre de prédication. Jésus lui-même leur a donné l’exemple à cet égard. La prédication de la bonne nouvelle du Royaume a occupé une grande partie de son activité terrestre. Il a montré à ses disciples comment il fallait l’accomplir (Marc 1:38 ; Luc 8:1). Qu’il est encourageant, de nos jours, de prêcher aux côtés des anciens, de constater leur zèle pour cette œuvre salvatrice et d’apprendre de leurs méthodes d’enseignement ! Leur détermination à consacrer du temps et de l’énergie à la prédication malgré un emploi du temps chargé insuffle du zèle à toute la congrégation. Enfin, les anciens donnent l’exemple en préparant les réunions de la congrégation et en y participant, mais aussi en prenant part à des activités comme le nettoyage et la maintenance de la Salle du Royaume (Éph. 5:15, 16 ; lire (Hébreux 13:7) 
      « SOUTENEZ LES FAIBLES »
      Quand une brebis se blesse ou tombe malade, un bon berger vole à son secours. Pareillement, quand un membre de la congrégation souffre ou a besoin d’une aide spirituelle, les anciens doivent réagir rapidement. Un chrétien âgé ou malade a sans doute besoin d’une aide pratique, mais il a surtout besoin d’un soutien spirituel et d’encouragements (1 Thess. 5:14). Les jeunes rencontrent peut-être des difficultés. Résister aux « désirs de la jeunesse » en est une (2 Tim. 2:22). Le berger doit donc rendre régulièrement visite aux membres de la congrégation dans le but de comprendre les épreuves qu’ils traversent et de les encourager par des conseils bibliques bien choisis. Quand ces visites pastorales sont faites au bon moment, beaucoup de problèmes peuvent être résolus avant qu’ils ne s’aggravent.
      Et si les difficultés d’un chrétien s’aggravent au point de menacer sa santé spirituelle ? « Quelqu’un parmi vous est-il malade ?, a demandé le rédacteur biblique Jacques. Qu’il appelle à lui les anciens de la congrégation, et qu’ils prient sur lui, l’enduisant d’huile au nom de Jéhovah. Et la prière de la foi rétablira celui qui est souffrant, et Jéhovah le relèvera. De plus, s’il a commis des péchés, il lui sera pardonné » (Jacq. 5:14, 15). Même quand un chrétien « souffrant » « appelle à lui les anciens », ces derniers doivent lui venir en aide dès qu’ils sont au courant de son état. Les anciens qui prient avec sont là pour le fortifier et aussi tout frères en difficulté, et ils les soutiennent, se révèlent une source de réconfort et d’encouragement (lire Isaïe 32:1, 2).
      Dans tout ce qu’ils font au sein de l’organisation de Jéhovah, les bergers s’efforcent d’imiter « le grand berger », Jésus Christ. Grâce à l’aide de ces hommes dignes de confiance, le troupeau se fortifie et prospère. Tout cela nous réjouit profondément et nous pousse à louer le plus Grand Berger sans pareil,  notre Dieu Jéhovah



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