Religion News Australia

June 29 – July 5, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Morrison threatens charity status of organisations refusing to join abuse redress scheme (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 29 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has threatened the charity status and government funding of organisations that refuse to sign up to the child sexual abuse redress scheme by the Tuesday deadline.

Also: Government names institutions which did not sign up to National Redress Scheme for abuse victims (ABC News)
July 1 – Six institutions, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, have been publicly named by the Federal Government for failing to sign up to the National Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

Also: Jehovahs hold out over sex abuse (The Australian)
July 2 – The Jehovah’s Witnesses is openly defying the child sex abuse royal commission, refusing to implement its recommendations.

Documents reveal church stayed quiet on sexual misconduct allegations against Broome Bishop  (ABC News)
July 4 – The Catholic Church was told of sexual misconduct allegations against a Western Australian bishop nearly a year before it took action, according to new documents obtained by the ABC.


Why on-screen mobsters, from The Godfather to The Sopranos, are so obviously Catholic (ABC News)
July 5 – From Michael Corleone to Tony Soprano, on-screen mobsters are far more violent than virtuous.


Jewish deaths in UK more than double amid pandemic, data shows (The Guardian, Australia)
July 1 – Jewish burials in the UK between March and May were more than double the number recorded in the same period last year, revealing the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the community.

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jews ‘least stressed’ by Covid-19, says study (The Guardian, Australia)
July 4 – Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel have been happier and less stressed during the Covid-19 pandemic than others, including secular Jews, according to new research.

Religious Violence

Christchurch survivor wants to look gunman in the eye at hearing (Brisbane Times)
July 3 – Christchurch: A survivor of a shooting last year at a Christchurch mosque wants to look the gunman in the eye and give him a message of unity and defiance when he appears for sentencing.

Also: Australian convicted of Christchurch mosque attack to be sentenced in August (The Guardian, Australia)
July 3 – The Australian man convicted of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings will be sentenced during an expected three-day court sitting beginning August 24.

Why do Muslim states stay silent over China’s abuse of the Uighurs? (The Guardian, Australia)
July 5 – (Opinion: Nick Cohen) When China imposed trade sanctions on Norway in 2010 for honouring the imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo with the Nobel peace prize, it spat out a word we weren’t used to hearing from propagandists for an atheist communist regime, but should get used to today. “It’s a blasphemy,” a party mouthpiece said.


Body snatching families risk catching coronavirus to perform final rites (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 29 – Grieving Indonesians are snatching back the bodies of family members who died of coronavirus, so the deceased can be buried in line with religious practice – despite the dead still potentially being contagious.

The man who missed the pandemic (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 29 – How would you explain coronavirus to a younger version of yourself, beamed in from December 2019?

260,000 sign petition to block film starring Paris Jackson as Jesus (The Guardian, Australia)
July 1 – A forthcoming film starring Paris Jackson as Jesus has been denounced as “Christianophobic garbage” in an online petition to prevent its release, which has attracted more than 260,000 signatures.

Mississippi votes to remove Confederate emblem from flag (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 5 – Jackson: Mississippi lawmakers have voted to surrender the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, more than a century after white supremacist legislators adopted the design a generation after the south lost the Civil War.

Emperor Constantine’s statue and the culture war that wasn’t (The Guardian, Australia)
July 5 – Sprawled on a throne, sword in hand, the statue of Constantine the Great is a familiar fixture outside York Minster.


Experts split over constitutionality of JobKeeper for priests, imams, rabbis (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 5 – Legal experts are split over the constitutionality of extending JobKeeper wage subsidies to priests, imams and rabbis, sparking a call for the government to release the advice underpinning its decision.


Distraught family pray after another brawl claims a life in suburban Melbourne (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 30  – The distraught mother of a young man who died during a brawl in Oakleigh’s Eaton Mall says her son was meant to be at the gym when he was killed and she has no idea why her only child was attacked.

Covid blamed for trans law stealth (The Australian)
July 3 – ACT’s government has blamed COVID-19 for skipping public consultation on a new law that could send therapists to prison.

Australians still have a lot of misconceptions about Indonesia. Here are some of them (ABC News)
July 4 – While more than one million Australians travel to Indonesia annually, a recent poll shows this hasn’t necessarily enhanced people’s knowledge of one of Australia’s closest neighbours.

Faith is key to our lives, even for atheists (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 5 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) Atheists like to define faith as “belief without evidence”, or the opposite of knowledge.