Religion News Australia

January 19 – 26, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Historic Christian Brothers sexual abuse case receives letter admitting repeated rape of orphan (ABC News)
Jan 21 – In an open letter, delivered on the eve of a WA trial, the Christian Brothers have admitted several brothers sexually abused child migrant John Thomas Lawrence for years from the age of nine in two Perth boys’ homes.

Christian Brothers trial hears child migrant was bashed and raped after reporting sexual abuse (ABC News)
Jan 25 – A child migrant sexually abused by Catholic brothers in Perth has testified he was raped by his school principal after reporting the abuse.

Catholic church attempts to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 25 – The Catholic church is attempting to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse because he took too long to come forward, prompting criticism that it has learned nothing from the royal commission.


We need to talk about a better National Day for Australia (Brisbane Times)
Jan 23 – (Opinion: Dr Peter Catt) This week, as a nation, we find ourselves once again challenged to explore what it is to be Australian, and to reflect on how we celebrate our national life.

Anglican Church

Sex is for married heterosexual couples only, says Church of England (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 23 – The Church of England has stated that sex belongs only within heterosexual marriage, and that sex in gay or straight civil partnerships “falls short of God’s purpose for human beings”.


Indonesia’s top clerical body threatens fatwa against Netflix – or does it? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 25 – Jakarta: The streaming company doesn’t want to talk about it.


Woman, 90, tells of meeting Mengele (The Australian)
Jan 23 – The diary of Jewish girl has been published describing her deportation to Auschwitz and an encounter with notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

Religious Violence

Houthi rebels kill at least 80 Yemeni soldiers in missile attack on mosque (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 20 – More than 80 Yemeni soldiers have been killed and scores injured in a missile and drone attack blamed on Huthi rebels in central Yemen, medical and military sources said Sunday.

Panama cult survivor recounts chaotic rite that killed 7 in remote jungle village (ABC News)
Jan 21 – A survivor of a cult that killed her daughter and six other people in a remote village in Panama has described how she was ordered to close her eyes and beaten and knocked unconscious during the ritual.

International Court of Justice orders Myanmar to prevent Rohingya genocide (ABC News)
Jan 23 – The International Court of Justice has unanimously ordered Myanmar to “take all measures within its power” to prevent all acts of genocide against the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority group.


‘We are protecting religious liberty’ (The Australian)
Jan 25 – Donald Trump addressed America’s biggest annual anti-abortion rally, the first president to do so.

Also: Trump knows all he needs for evangelical votes is to crack down on women’s rights (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 26 – (Opinion: Arwa Mahdawi) Donald Trump gave up some of his precious “executive time” on Friday to speak at the annual March for Life in Washington.

Alice Cooper: When I’m not touring I’m at Bible studies on Wednesday in Arizona (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Jan 25 – He’s the godfather of shock-rock, but what many people don’t know about Alice Cooper is his devotion to God, true love, golf, and the thing that scares him most.

How we live together: the Quakers (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 26 – (Opinion: Chris Hall) Quakerism is about integrity, equality, simplicity, community – all of the things I aspire to.


Court’s recognition ‘for her tennis achievements only’: Tiley (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 21 – Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley has reiterated the governing body’s opposition to Margaret Court’s controversial views ahead of her 50th anniversary grand slam ceremony next week.

Also: Margaret Court ceremony at Australian Open to be awkward sideshow for Tennis Australia (ABC News)
Jan 25 – Tennis Australia’s (TA) event recognising the 50th anniversary of Margaret Court’s Grand Slam promises to be one of the most awkward moments in Australian sport.

Exclusive Brethren cult leader’s millionaire son accused of assault (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 21 – The multi-millionaire son of Exclusive Brethren world leader Bruce D. Hales has been accused of assaulting a man on a public street outside the religious leader’s mansion in suburban Sydney.

Satanists play devil’s advocate (The Australian)
Jan 21 – (Opinion: Alice Workman ) The Noosa Satanists have weighed in on the proposed religious discrimination bill.

‘Virginity’ harms and excludes many of us. Is it time we got rid of it? (ABC News)
Jan 22 – (Opinion: Kellie Scott) Look, I never expected to be getting sex education from celebrities, but I must credit them for recently reigniting conversations about virginity.

Inside a happy Mormon marriage; ‘we believe families are eternal’ (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Jan 25 – These two young Mormons say they’re both hopeless romantics. The newlyweds say kids and a move to the US for Dakota’s singing career are next on the cards.

How we stay together: ‘You have to be best friends as well as spouses’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 26 – Cultural barriers, religious differences and a stressful five years apart because of war were no match for the love between Liz and Morie Goli.