Religion News Australia

July 23 – August 6, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Child sexual abuse survivors hope WA parliamentary inquiry will help them get justice (ABC News)
August 4 – “Gutted. Betrayed. Used. Re-traumatised.” That is how 70-year-old Gordon Batty felt when his civil court case against the Uniting Church over his alleged sexual abuse in the 1960s was permanently stopped.


When I met Sinead O’Connor, she looked like a monk who smoked Marlboro Lights (The Age, Melbourne)
July 28 – (Opinion: Julia Baird) Fearless and fragile, she trod on the lion and the cobra.


After a century of tunics, more Sydney private girls schools start allowing pants (Sydney Morning Herald)
August 6 – When the principal at one of Sydney’s oldest girls’ schools decided to overhaul the uniform options available to students, there had been no changes to its traditional tunics and crested blazers for decades.


NZ abuse royal commission details abuse at hands of St John of God brothers (ABC News)
August 2 – Findings from a New Zealand royal commission into a Catholic order that shifted a prolific paedophile between his homeland and Australia show children in its care endured “hell on earth”.

Catholic Church

Facing a financial crisis, the Vatican can clean up its act (The Australian)
July 26 – George Pell long predicted the looming issue. Jesus drove the money changers from the temple in Jerusalem, and the Catholic Church needs a similar cleansing.


Afghanistan’s beauty salons ordered to close as Taliban’s ban takes effect (ABC News)
July 26 – The Taliban has announced that all beauty salons in Afghanistan must now close as a one-month deadline ends, despite rare public opposition to the mandate.

Ashura is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. So what does it commemorate? (ABC News)
July 28 – When Zainab Albadri first set foot in Karbala in Iraq, she was overcome with peace and contentment.

Religious Violence

‘There’s no other option but to fight’: Iranian women defiant as ‘morality police’ return (The Guardian, Australia)
July 25 – A police spokesperson confirmed last week that they had started patrolling the streets to deal with civilians who “ignore the consequences of not wearing the proper hijab and insist on disobeying the norms”.

Israel is rapidly expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This Australian man is among them (ABC News)
July 30 – Jewish Australian Michael Lourie spent years building his dream home set amongst sprawling mountains, with views stretching all the way to the sparkling Dead Sea.

Pittsburgh gunman who killed 11 in synagogue shooting to be sentenced to death (ABC News)
August 3 – The gunman who stormed a synagogue in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community and killed 11 worshippers will be sentenced to death.


Ukraine to celebrate Christmas on December 25 and ‘abandon the Russian heritage’ (The Age, Melbourne)
July 30 – Kyiv, Ukraine: Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, on Friday signed a law moving the official Christmas Day holiday to December 25 from January 7, the day when the Russian Orthodox Church observes it.


Muslim groups alarmed by push to ban flag used by Islamic State (The Age, Melbourne)
August 2 – Muslim groups, religious leaders and experts have voiced alarm at the federal government’s push to ban a flag associated with Islamic State, saying it risks criminalising legitimate displays of Islamic imagery and infringing Muslims’ right to practise their religion.


Jewish groups hopeful about Adidas’s plan to donate Yeezy profits to charity (ABC News)
August 3 – Athletics company Adidas will give some of the proceeds from Yeezy sales to groups fighting anti-Semitism.


Australian Christian Lobby says plans to combat misinformation will ‘cancel Christian posts’ (The Guardian, Australia)
August 5 – Labor is facing growing opposition from conservative and Christian groups against a plan to toughen social media self-regulation of misinformation, including fresh claims from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) that the proposal will “cancel Christian posts online”.


‘Chatbot Jesus’ takes questions of all kinds as religion and spirituality push into the AI age (ABC News)
August 3 – Jesus has been portrayed in many different ways: from a prophet who alerts his audience to the world’s imminent end to a philosopher who reflects on the nature of life.

Sikh Queenslanders allowed to carry ceremonial knives in schools after court ruling (ABC News)
August 3 – Carrying knives in public places and schools in Queensland was subject to a blanket ban — until this week.

Churches no more: how wealthy’s priorities have changed (The Australian)
August 5 – (Opinion: Bernard Salt) In the past, the nation’s rich and recently departed would often bequeath funds for a memorial church. But in 2023, where are they leaving their wealth?

Exclusive Brethren COVID test supplier sets $14m Hills District record (Sydney Morning Herald)
August 6 – Less than a year after the son of Exclusive Brethren’s global leader Bruce D. Hales purchased a $9.5 million mansion in Dural, a member of his flock has gone one better and smashed all house price records for the Hills District.