Religion News Australia

February 26 – March 5, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Malka Leifer protested her innocence in tears as she was stood down, County Court trial hears (ABC News)
Feb 28 – Malka Leifer was in tears and protesting her innocence after being stood down as school principal amid child sexual abuse allegations in 2008, Victoria’s County Court has heard.

Malka Leifer allegedly told student sexual abuse would be good for her future marriage (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 2 – One of three sisters allegedly sexually abused by the former ultra-Orthodox Jewish school principal Malka Leifer was distraught when revealing what happened to her, a court has been told.


Playboy kings and gospel choirs: could my relationship survive Jesus Christ Superstar? (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 28 – (Opinion: Jenny Valentish) I was an Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice groupie as a child, lispingly preaching their gospel to the naysayers at primary school.

The Project declared jokes about Jesus are off-limits. Are we OK with that? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 2 – (Opinion: Osman Faruqi) Nearly half a century ago a British film was released that was considered so blasphemous and offensive it was banned in a number of countries, including parts of the UK itself.

Also: Serious Christians don’t mind a Jesus joke. The Project’s apology is more laughable (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 3 – Jesus was a man of many foreskins.

Also: ‘Forced and disingenuous’: Catholic Archbishop invites The Project to church (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 3 – The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has invited the boss of Channel Ten and panellists from its flagship current affairs program The Project to attend church at St Mary’s Cathedral, criticising the program’s lengthy apology for a joke about Jesus as disingenuous and forced.

Also: Religious group mounts inner Sydney protest against The Project’s Jesus joke (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 4 – A group of men from a religious group took to the streets of Newtown on Friday night to protest against comments made on current affairs program The Project this week.

Also: Christian prayer march along Newtown street was ‘unauthorised protest activity’, police say (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 4 – A group of around 30 men staged a Christian protest march on a popular entertainment strip in Sydney’s inner west on Friday night, in what police confirmed was “unauthorised protest activity”.


Melbourne school showed ‘dereliction of duty’ to students, court told (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 2 – The leadership at Melbourne’s Brighton Secondary College has been accused of a “dereliction of duty” on the final day of a court case in which it is alleged they failed to protect five Jewish students from antisemitic discrimination and bullying.

Religious Violence

The trials of an Indian witness: how a Muslim man was caught in a legal nightmare (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 2 – Nisar Ahmed was almost killed in the Delhi riots.

Netanyahu has brought Israel to a dangerous moment. We, the Jewish diaspora, cannot just stand by (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 3 – (Opinion: Margaret Hodge) We are seeing the worst violence for many years erupting in Gaza and the West Bank.


Estimated 20,000 people possibly exposed to measles at Kentucky religious event (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 3 – Around 20,000 people may have been exposed to measles at a large religious event in Kentucky, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and said.

Sinners can now pray to chatbot saint (The Australian)
Mar 4 – A Swiss start-up has decided to take AI one step further and use it to put people in touch with saints.


Inside the Australian Christian Lobby’s identity crisis (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 4 – A week after its managing director was sacked by his board, the group is facing fights on all sides.


World Day of Prayer focuses on Taiwan, follows history of giving attention to women’s needs (ABC News)
Mar 3 – Aretha Franklin topped the charts in the 1960s by saying “a little prayer” and 20 years later Bon Jovi was “livin’ on a prayer”.