Religion News Australia

Nov 24 – Dec 1, 2019

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘I deserve something’: Loophole leaves church victims in legal limbo (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 26 – A legal loophole means some abuse victims are being denied a “fair and equitable” financial compensation from churches for the harm that was done to them as children.


Imitating early life (The Australian)
Nov 26 – Marina Castillo Deball’s art delves into the pre-organic ages of geological time to paint a picture of the world.


Headmaster at St Andrew’s apologises for girls’ uniform check (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 30 – The headmaster of the prestigious St Andrew’s Cathedral School has apologised to Year 12 girls over a uniform check that forced some to unpick the hem of their skirt.


French cardinal doesn’t see error of not reporting abuse (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 29 – Lyon: A French cardinal says he does not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children, and is appealing the decision that will help determine his future within the Catholic Church.

Indian nuns risk isolation and expulsion from Catholic Church by speaking out about rape (ABC News)
Nov 30 – Sister Jesme was in her twenties and new to convent life when she found herself alone in a room with a priest.

Anglican Church

Archbishop of Canterbury demands wife of US diplomat be extradited to UK (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 1 – The archbishop of Canterbury has written to the US ambassador in London demanding that the wife of an American diplomat be extradited to the UK for police questioning over the death of Harry Dunn.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis urges abolition of nuclear weapons during maiden visit to Japan (ABC News)
Nov 25 – Pope Francis has urged for the abolition of nuclear weapons, saying their mere possession is perverse and indefensible.

Religious Violence

Back again: US rejoins Kurdish fighters against Islamic State in Syria (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 26 – Manama, Bahrain: Weeks after the Trump administration left its Syrian Kurdish allies to fend for themselves against Turkey, US troops and Kurdish fighters have reunited to conduct a large-scale counter-terrorism mission, military officials said.

‘What has happened to me’: manga depicting Uighur torture hits 2.5m views (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 26 – A manga depicting the plight of an Uighur woman who was detained and tortured in China has clocked up millions of views and spawned versions in several languages.

Bangladesh sentences seven Islamists to death over 2016 terror attack on foreigners in café (ABC News)
Nov 27 – Seven Islamist extremists have been sentenced to death by a Bangladesh court over a savage 2016 attack that killed 22 people, including 18 foreigners, at a Dhaka cafe popular with Westerners.

Tim Weeks to arrive in Australia after being held hostage by the Taliban (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 28 – Timothy Weeks is expected to return home to Australia late on Thursday, three years after being taken hostage by the Taliban.

Taliban peace talks back on: Trump (The Australian)
Nov 29 – The US President revealed talks with the Taliban have resumed during a surprise visit to troops in Afghanistan.

Several stabbed near London Bridge, suspect shot dead (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 30 – London: Police have shot dead a man on London Bridge, in the centre of the British capital, following a stabbing rampage that killed two people and wounded three others.

Also: London Bridge terror attacker named as Usman Khan, two people dead after stabbing rampage (ABC News)
Nov 30 – A convicted terrorist wearing a fake explosive vest stabbed several people in London, killing two before being tackled by members of the public and then shot dead by officers on London Bridge.

Also: Who was London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan?  (ABC News)
Nov 30 – The man who killed two people in a terror attack in central London has been named as 28-year-old British national Usman Khan.

Also: Convicted London Bridge attacker a ‘serious jihadist’  (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 30 – Usman Khan, who was jailed over a plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange, is the man police say carried out a deadly assault in London.

Also: London terrorist was wearing electronic tag (The Australian)
Nov 30 – Extraordinary details have emerged about the convicted terrorist who was let out of prison early before launching a deadly London attack with knives taped to his hands.

Also: Narwhal tusk and fire extinguisher used to tackle London Bridge attacker (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 30 – Three members of the public, including one armed with a fire extinguisher and another a five-foot narwhal tusk, grappled with and eventually grounded the London Bridge knife attacker before police arrived.

Also: London Bridge attacker’s lawyer thought his convicted terrorist client would not offend again (ABC News)
Dec 1 – The lawyer for the London Bridge attacker has told the ABC he was shocked when he heard Usman Khan was responsible for the deadly stabbing rampage, saying when he saw him last year he was convinced he was reformed.

Also: London Bridge attack victim named as prison rehabilitation expert Jack Merritt (ABC News)
Dec 1 – One of the two people killed by a knifeman during an attack at London Bridge has been named as 25-year-old Jack Merritt.

Also: London Bridge attacker ‘asked to be deradicalised’ (The Australian)
Dec 1 – London Bridge attacker Usman Khan wrote a letter asking to take part in a deradicalisation course in order to become ‘a good British citizen’


Rick Perry says Trump is God’s ‘chosen one’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 26 – Washington: US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry believes that President Donald Trump was chosen by God to lead the country – and he handed the President a one-page description of morally flawed biblical kings as inspiration, he said.

Religious leaders line up against Corbyn (The Australian)
Nov 27 – Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh leaders have joined Britain’s Chief Rabbi in condemning Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour for anti-Semitic ‘poison’.

Also: ‘New poison’ in Corbyn’s Labour: Chief Rabbi (The Australian)
Nov 27 – Jeremy Corbyn presides over a party which sanctions anti-Semitism ‘from the very top’, says Britain’s Chief Rabbi.

Also: Foul Corbyn and his anti-Semitic tinder (The Australian)
Nov 28 – (Opinion: Greg Sheridan ) Forever seeking racism, the contemporary left can’t see the real thing under its nose.

‘Obey the Party, be grateful to the Party’ (The Australian)
Nov 29 – China’s Communist Party replaces religious icons in churches with pictures of Xi Jinping and Mao Zedong.


Terror plotter ‘wanted to kill Islam critic’ (The Australian)
Nov 28 – Ali Khalif Shire initially wanted to kill Ayaan Hirsi Ali when she visited Australia, court hears.

Jail for men who planned Christmas Day bombing and beheadings (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 29 – Three men who bought machetes and built practice bombs ahead of a planned Christmas Day slaughter at Federation Square have been jailed for decades over the foiled plot.

Also: Three men jailed for 28 and 16 years over Christmas terrorism plot on Melbourne’s Federation Square (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 29 – Two men will spend at least the next 28 years in jail and another at least 16 years after conspiring to plot a terrorist attack in Melbourne’s Federation Square.


‘You’re not broken’: Gay conversion therapy to be outlawed in Queensland (Brisbane Times)
Nov 28 – Gay conversion therapy could be outlawed in Queensland under law changes proposed by the Palaszczuk government.

Church groups threaten to withdraw support for religious discrimination bill (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 30 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suffered another blow to his policy agenda, with powerful religious leaders threatening to withdraw support for the government’s religious discrimination bill unless greater freedoms are granted for Australians of faith.

Also: Religious discrimination bill gets delayed as PM Scott Morrison announces new draft (ABC News)
Nov 30 – Legislation aimed at preventing religious discrimination will not be introduced to Federal Parliament this year as planned, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

Also: Church welcomes revised religious freedom bill (The Australian)
Nov 30 – The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has backed the decision to postpone introducing the religious freedom bill to parliament.

Also: ‘This bill is friendless’: Chris Bowen signals Labor could vote against religious freedom bill (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 30 – Chris Bowen has signalled Labor could vote against the Morrison government’s religious discrimination legislation, characterising the bill as “friendless” – setting up a potential showdown in the final parliamentary sitting week for 2019, if the Morrison government brings the proposal on.

Also: Scott Morrison puts off religious discrimination bill until 2020 (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 1 – Religious freedom laws will not be introduced to federal parliament until 2020 after hundreds of submissions were made to the draft bill.

Cult that defines Trump’s power is just a few scratches away from the surface in Australia (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 1 – (Opinion: Greg Jericho) This week Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and Donald Trump’s energy secretary, told Fox News that he believed Trump was “the chosen one” – chosen by God to lead the United States.


Israel Folau’s damages claim against Rugby Australia and Wallabies sacking increased to $14 million (ABC News)
Nov 27 – Former Wallabies player Israel Folau has said he is set to lose $14 million as a result of being sacked by Rugby Australia (RA), according to new court documents.

Also: Australia reacts to Israel Folau’s $14 million announcement (
Nov 27 – Israel Folau’s decision to increase his compensation claim to a staggering new figure has not resonated well with the Australian public.

Australian Timothy Weeks lands in Australia after three years in Taliban captivity (ABC News)
Nov 29 – An Australian teacher who spent more than three years being held hostage by the Taliban has arrived home.

Also: Australian Taliban hostage Timothy Weeks believes US Navy SEALs tried to rescue him six times (ABC News)
Nov 30 – An Australian teacher who spent more than three years being held hostage by the Taliban believes US Navy SEALs tried and failed six times to free him.

Margaret Court to be special guest at 2020 Australian Open despite her views on same-sex marriage (ABC News)
Nov 30 – Margaret Court will be a “special guest” at next year’s Australian Open, which will feature a celebration of her completing a Grand Slam 50 years ago.

Also: Tennis Australia rebukes Margaret Court for views which have ‘demeaned and hurt many’ (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 30 – Tennis Australia will host Margaret Court at the 2020 Australian Open to mark the 50th anniversary of her grand slam triumph, but it also issued a fresh rebuke of the former champion’s widely-criticised opposition to homosexuality and gay marriage.

Also: Margaret Court’s family issues emotional response to Tennis Australia letter (
Nov 30 – The children of Margaret Court have released an open letter in response to Tennis Australia’s extraordinary public swipe at the controversial Aussie tennis legend.

Also: Margaret Court debate gets heated on live TV (
Dec 1 – Things turned spicy on Channel 9 this morning during a heated debate about Australian tennis legend Margaret Court.

Israel Folau addresses controversial comments about gay marriage and bushfires (
Nov 30 – Former Wallabies star Israel Folau has moved to clarify comments he made earlier this month suggesting the devastating bushfires that ravaged parts of Australia were God’s way of punishing the country for legalising same-sex marriage.

Advent calendars are big business as the tradition gets a makeover (ABC News)
Dec 1 – When the ripples of the festive season begin to show in stores, so does my excitement.