Religion News Australia

March 1 – 8, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Moment of truth for George Pell (The Australian)
Mar 8  – It is a measure of George Pell’s lot that in prison he finds himself in notionally better surrounds but not necessarily better company.


Churches stop passing of bread, wine and set to go online (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 8  – Worshippers are being urged to stop the passing of bread and wine in church and be prepared for live stream services online to prevent the spread of coronavirus.


Quezon’s Game, how Filipino president Manuel Quezon rescued 1,200 Jews from the Holocaust (ABC News)
Mar 6  – In 1939, more than 1,200 Jews were saved from the horrors of Nazi concentration camps by a man with a list.


‘Avoid shaking hands’ (The Australian)
Mar 5  – The Catholic Church has urged the removal of holy water from churches and imposed new rules over Holy Communion.


Teens are tolerant but uneducated about religion, study finds (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 8  – One in four high school students do not have a positive attitude towards people of the Islamic and Hindu faiths, a major study of “religious literacy” among Australian teens has found.

Anglican Church

Lesbian priests to lead church service on eve of Anglican summit (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 8  – LGBT+ campaigners will hold a church service led by two high-profile married lesbian priests on the eve of the Lambeth conference, a once-a-decade assembly of Anglican bishops from around the world that is expected to be dominated by conflicts over sexuality and marriage.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis cancels regular appearances in public to avoid crowds (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 8  – Vatican City: Pope Francis has cancelled his regular appearances in public to avoid crowds gathering to see him, due to the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

Religious Violence

Taliban deal to end America’s longest war (The Australian)
Mar 2  – The US and the Taliban have signed a historic deal meant to end America’s longest war.

Christchurch teen charged after mosque photo (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 5  – Wellington: A 19-year-old Christchurch man has been charged by police in the wake of the circulation of a threatening photo outside Al-Noor mosque.

After the Christchurch shooting politicians promised tolerance. It didn’t last (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 5 – (Opinion: Morgan Godfery) Isn’t it astonishing that, not even two weeks out from the Christchurch shooting’s first anniversary, the senior cabinet minister Shane Jones – an MP for New Zealand First, a party you could arguably describe as our local Ukip branch – is basing his re-election campaign on stoking anti-immigrant racism.

Hate festers while Christchurch mourns (The Australian)
Mar 8  – It’s a photo designed to chill the hearts of a community still coming to terms with the heartless slaughter of 51 people.

Life after the Christchurch shootings (The Saturday Paper)
Mar 8  – A few months after last year’s Christchurch mosque shootings, Raf Manji was asked to recommend how the newly formed Christchurch Foundation should distribute the $12 million donated in the wake of the terror attack.


The modern world makes it impossible to be perfectly virtuous (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 2 – (Opinion: Jemima Lewis) Ahhh, smell that schadenfreude.

Polygamy is about to be decriminalised in Utah. Is it good news for women? (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 5  – Growing up in a polygamist community, Shirlee Draper heard stories about her father’s childhood – how he was pulled out from under his bed in a government raid and taken from his parents.

The 50-year fight by radical evangelicals that could end US abortion rights (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 8  – Today the oral arguments begin in a landmark case that could destroy abortion rights in the US – the end result of a long campaign by evangelical Christians


Queensland’s first Muslim Scout group combines religion and tradition to empower youth (ABC News)
Mar 8  – Queensland’s first Muslim scouting group is proving particularly popular with girls, who are keen to prove they can do anything the boys can do.


Scott Morrison admits asking for Hillsong founder invite to White House  (ABC News)
Mar 3  – After months of dismissing questions about the issue as rumour and gossip, the Prime Minister has conceded Hillsong founder Brian Houston’s name was put forward to attend a state dinner with United States President Donald Trump last year.

‘Never felt this unsafe’: Muslim community pleads for more protection in religious discrimination bill (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 8  – Attorney-General Christian Porter is “carefully considering” a plea from Australia’s Muslims for more protection in new religious discrimination laws, as the community warns it has “never felt this unsafe” as the first anniversary of the Christchurch mosque massacre approaches.


Secretive cult behind the Korean coronavirus outbreak has branches in Australia (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 2  – Korean sect Shincheonji, which accounts for most of the coronavirus cases in South Korea, has been recruiting unsuspecting students on the streets of Melbourne and Sydney for years.

Scare campaign against bill uses hypotheticals, but real people need its protection (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 2 – (Opinion: Mark Sneddon) Australians who regularly practise their religion are in a minority.

Welcome to the good place (online): where the aim of the game is kindness to strangers (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 2  – It’s easy to forget just how significant an accomplishment the internet, with its power of connecting us, really is.

School settles over same-sex beliefs case (The Australian)
Mar 5  – Ballarat Christian College has settled a landmark religious freedom case with former teacher Rachel Colvin.