Religion News Australia

August 28 – September 4, 2022

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Alleged sexual abuser ‘used religion’ to get to boys and men (Brisbane Times)
Aug 30 – A 61-year-old man who has been charged with 21 counts of rape on the Sunshine Coast is believed to have used his Jehovah’s Witness status to allegedly assault teenage boys and young men.

De La Salle school sold to pay for abuse restitution and ageing brothers (The Age, Melbourne)
Sept 1 – De La Salle Brothers will sell their Malvern school, which has net assets of $27 million, to fund compensation claims from victims of historic sexual abuse and to financially support ageing brothers.


It may offend, but this outrageous take on grief is ‘comedy gold’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 31 – (Review) Death. It’s not the first thing that springs to mind when you think “comedy gold”.

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. review – megachurch satire isn’t worth praise (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 3 – (Review) Not every Black actor is called to play a church pastor on screen.


As a woman, I am glad to be free of the Anglican Church (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 1 – (Opinion: Kate Milner) Over the past several years I have read with quiet interest commentary related to both family violence and ultra-orthodoxy within the Anglican Church.


Knox Grammar School labels student group chat referred to police ‘unacceptable’ (ABC News)
Sept 1 – Police are reviewing the contents of a group chat run by students of an elite Sydney school after messages were passed on by the Daily Telegraph.

Also: Eastern suburbs schools grapple with Nazi salutes and anti-Semitic bullying (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 4 – Sydney high schools are seeing a rise in anti-Semitism, with at least two in the eastern suburbs dealing with incidents of Nazi salutes and Jewish students being bullied.

NSW’s Islamic schools surge in popularity as principals push for cap increase (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 4 – Islamic school enrolments across NSW are surging amid record demand but principals say strict enrolment caps mean they are forced to turn away hundreds of prospective students every year.

Religious Violence

Soon-to be-released Bali bombmaker Umar Patek participated in a ‘deradicalisation’ program.  (ABC News)
Aug 30 – News that Bali bombmaker Umar Patek was to be released after serving only 10 years of his 20-year sentence sparked outrage.

Clashes kill 10 as loyalists of Iraq’s Moqtada al-Sadr storm government building  (ABC News)
Aug 30 – At least 10 Iraqis were killed after young men loyal to powerful Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed a palatial government complex in Baghdad and clashed with rival Shiite groups.

UN report finds discriminatory detention in Xinjiang may constitute crimes against humanity (ABC News)
Sept 1 – Australia’s federal opposition has called on the government to sanction Chinese government figures after a United Nations report found discriminatory detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang region may constitute crimes against humanity.


Japan’s Prime Minister says his ruling LDP party will cut ties with the Unification Church (ABC News)
Aug 31 – Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has announced his ruling party will cut ties with the Unification Church following a widening scandal brought on by former leader Shinzo Abe’s assassination.

Work starts on restoring Notre Dame cathedral’s stained-glass windows, damaged in the 2019 fire (ABC News)
Sept 4 – Work has started to restore the stained-glass windows at the Notre Dame cathedral, more than three years after a fire destroyed its roof and collapsed its spire.

Leonard Leo: the secretive rightwinger using billions to reshape America (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 4 – As the US supreme court justice Clarence Thomas prepared to take questions from members of the rightwing legal advocacy group the Federalist Society, a few years back, he turned to the moderator.


United Nations report on Xinjiang backs fears felt by Australia’s Uyghur community (ABC News)
Sept 1 – Adelaide woman Marhaba Salay feels a sharp pain in her chest when she speaks of her beloved older sister, Mayila Yakufu.


Victorian Liberal Party branch stacking claims as Pentecostal church ‘infiltrates’ branches (ABC News)
Sept 1 – Three days after Pentecostal pastor Brian Heath joined the Victorian Liberal Party in August 2019, he invited an international guest to address his congregation.

Bid to change Queensland law that allows religious schools to discriminate against gay teachers (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 1 – A controversial clause used by religious bodies to justify discrimination against transgender, gay and unmarried people should be abolished, a 14-month review into Queensland’s discrimination laws has found.


‘It wasn’t that long ago when two obstetricians told me abortion went against their religion’ (Brisbane Times)
Aug 30 – Watching the fallout related to the United States Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion, the founder of Western Australians for Safe Access Zones, Jessica Williams, felt sick to her stomach.

Report says Qld discrimination laws should be dumped for updated rewrite (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 1 – Queensland should dump decades-old anti-discrimination laws and write a new bill to proactively protect more vulnerable people, including LGBTIQ people in religious settings, a landmark review has found.