Religion News Australia

April 1 – 14, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



NSW Catholic high school teacher charged with having sex with 17-year-old student (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 3 – A Catholic high school teacher in the New South Wales Hunter region has been charged with having sex with a 17-year-old student following a police investigation.


RuPaul’s Drag Race star Hannah Conda on representing Australian drag excellence  (ABC News)
Apr 3 – RuPaul’s Drag Race is often referred to as the Olympics of drag, but spin-off series UK vs the World takes things to another level: Queens from the reality competition’s international franchises, representing their home countries, compete to be crowned “Queen of the mother-tucking world”.

Catholic Church

Vatican says ‘no’ to sex changes, surrogacy and gender theory in new document (Brisbane Times)
Apr 9 – Vatican City: The Vatican has reaffirmed its opposition to gender-affirming surgery, “gender theory” and surrogate parenthood, drawing criticism from advocates for LGBTQ Catholics.

Catholics outraged at TV ad that swaps communion wafers for chips (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 10 – Rome: A television ad in which Italian nuns are offered potato chips instead of communion wafers has provoked the ire of conservative Catholics.


Playful ‘takjil war’ showcases tolerance in Indonesia during Ramadan (ABC News)
Apr 9 – This Ramadan felt different for Kusmanadi, who opens a stall each year in Jakarta to sell grilled chicken snacks to those breaking their fast during the holy month.


Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘most challenging political crisis’ could come from the ultra-Orthodox  (ABC News)
Apr 9 – Less than 30 minutes’ drive from the hip tech hub of Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak feels like another country and another time.

Religious violence

Putin: I’m like Jesus on divine mission (The Australian)
Apr 10 – The President quoted the Bible to explain his divine mission to school Russia’s youth in ‘traditional’ values.


Baba Ramdev, India’s top yoga guru, warned by Supreme Court over misleading ad claims (ABC News)
Apr 3 – India’s top court has warned the nation’s most popular yoga guru that it could take stern legal action against him and his company for not complying with a directive to stop advertisements saying certain traditional medicines can fully cure some diseases.

Just when you think Trump can’t get any weirder … he launches his own version of the Bible (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 3 – (Opinion: Zoe Williams) Donald Trump’s Bible costs $59.99, which puts it at the more expensive end of the King James editions, but it does have extra content: it’s called the God Bless the USA Bible, and includes a copy of the US constitution, the Bill of Rights and handwritten lyrics to the chorus of God Bless the USA, by Lee Greenwood.

The Republican party has become a full-fledged anti-sex movement (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 3 – (Opinion: Rebecca Solnit) The Comstock Law has come up a lot lately, and it’s part of the Republican war on sex, and to put it that way might sound overly dramatic.

Influencer warned about eclipse before stabbing partner and pushing girls out of moving car (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 11 – The woman, who described herself as a “divine healer”, had told her more than 100,000 online followers that the impending total solar eclipse was “the epitome of spiritual warfare”.

God help us: Trumpite ‘evangelicalism’ vs Biden’s brand of Catholicism (The Australian)
Apr 14 – (Opinion: Carl R. Trueman) The US President’s dismissal of dissent is as harmful to democracy as his foe’s boorishness.


No action against hate preacher after ‘met by death’ sermon (The Australian)
Apr 3 – Police have said it is unable to lay charges against a Sydney cleric who warned of violence and death if Islam was attacked, saying legal advice had determined the threats didn’t constitute a criminal offence.

Muslim community from small WA town celebrates Eid al-Fitr, shares Ramadan messages (ABC News)
Apr 10 – Eid al-Fitr has arrived in a wave of feasting and blessings, marking the end of Ramadan for the Muslim community.

Banned by the Taliban, this festival draws thousands of Afghans in Melbourne (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 14 – Afghan Australians celebrated both Nowruz, or New Year, and the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr in Dandenong on Sunday.


Lakemba mosque breaks tradition by not inviting any MPs to the annual Eid prayer (ABC News)
Apr 10 – Thousands of Muslims have gathered at Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque for the morning Eid prayer, and there’s not a single politician in sight.

Peter Dutton blames police and Labor for rise in antisemitism (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 10 – The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, has blamed police and Labor political leaders for what he calls an unprecedented and unchecked rise in antisemitism, declaring “something is rotten in the state of Australia”.


It’s loud and Insta-friendly. Step inside the world of ‘cool Christianity’ (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 3 – The Pentecostal faithful are flocking to sermons by pastors in ripped jeans and tearing up at rock concerts. It’s a far cry from empty pews in many Anglican and Catholic churches.

Counting the staggering profit of God’s acres in WA (WA Today)
Apr 3 – From vacant acres on Perth’s fringe to places of worship, schools, commercial buildings and houses, these churches own some of WA’s most valuable private property portfolios.

Six months on from the Hamas attack on Israel and war in Gaza, people in Australia haven’t forgotten (ABC News)
Apr 9 – A little more than six months ago, Jana Fayyad was at home in Sydney when news broke of Hamas militants swarming across the Gaza border in an early morning terror attack on southern Israel.