Religion News Australia

November 1 – 8, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Abuse law expert warns the Anglican Church of Tasmania’s liability may increase (ABC News)
Nov 3 – A lawyer representing survivors of sexual abuse has warned the Anglican Church of Tasmania may need to further increase its estimate of liability as more survivors seek compensation.


When an IS soldier returns to Sydney’s western suburbs (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 8 – (Review)  Jamal Alamein has returned to his family home in Sydney’s western suburbs to see his dying mother. But first he has to run the gauntlet — a series of lacerating encounters with loved ones he betrayed with his decision to go to Syria and join Islamic State.


Pell description ‘inappropriate’: ABC (The Australian)
Nov 3 – The ABC acknowledged it was ‘inappropriate’ to describe Cardinal Pell as ‘disgraced’, but didn’t apologise.

Catholic Church

Pope shakes up Vatican finance handling after scandals (Brisbane Times)
Nov 6 – Rome: Pope Francis is giving the Vatican Secretariat of State three months to transfer all of its financial holdings to another Vatican office following its bungled management of hundreds of millions of euros in donations and investments that are now the subject of a corruption investigation.


UAE announces loosening of Islamic laws for personal freedoms (ABC News)
Nov 8 – The United Arab Emirates has announced a major overhaul of the country’s Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and criminalising so-called “honour killings”.


Dutch Jewish family allege bias over refusal to return €20m painting (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 2 – A Jewish family, suing for the return of a €20m (£18m) painting by Wassily Kandinsky obtained by Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, has accused an official advisory committee of bias after ruling against them.

Starmer: most Labour members would not support Corbyn’s EHRC response (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 2 – The “vast majority” of Labour members would not have approved of Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on antisemitism in the party, Sir Keir Starmer said on Sunday.

How one man escaped the Holocaust and saved his family by performing as a clown (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 3 – As a child, Ralph Horowitz’s grandfather often lulled him to sleep with bedtime stories about the brave clowns who escaped the big, bad Nazis.

Religious Violence

Suspect in priest’s shooting freed, search continues (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 2 – Lyon: French police on Sunday, local time, released an initial suspect in the shooting of a Greek Orthodox priest and widened their search for the gunman who critically wounded the priest as he closed the door to his official residence at a church in the city of Lyon.

Also: Nice terror attack: French police arrest three more men (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 2 – French police investigating the terrorist attack in Nice have arrested three more men, bringing the number of people taken in for questioning to six.

Muslims’ rage at Macron threatens to escalate tensions across Europe (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 2 – (Opinion: Simon Tisdall) Maybe he knew what he was doing. Maybe he didn’t.

Attack on Kabul University by Isis gunmen leaves 22 dead (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 3 – At least 22 people were killed and 22 wounded after Islamic State-affiliated gunmen stormed Kabul University as it was hosting a book fair attended by Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan, taking hostages and fighting gun battles with security forces for more than five hours.

Vienna shooting attack leaves five dead, 15 injured: Interior Minister blames ‘Islamist terrorist’ (ABC News)
Nov 3 – A terror attack in central Vienna has left five people dead, with at least one gunman remaining on the run, Austria’s Interior Minister says.

Also: Manhunt under way after terror attack in Vienna (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 3 – Austrian authorities are searching for accomplices of a radicalised Islamist who opened fire in the streets of central Vienna in what the government has declared a “hideous terror attack”.

Also: Islamic State attacks in Europe risk a violent backlash from the far right (ABC News)
Nov 6 – The attack in Vienna this week — where an armed assailant killed four people and injured others — was claimed by the Islamic State and was one in a string of recent attacks in Europe this week, following three other jihadist motivated killings in Paris and Nice.


Miss Samoa Victoria shaves head to raise money for cancer awareness (ABC News)
Nov 3 – When Miss Samoa Victoria shaved her head on the weekend, it was a cultural sacrifice as well as a personal one.

Jon Toogood reveals how love and the Christchurch attack made him rethink his staunch atheism (ABC News)
Nov 6 – As the frontman for Shihad, Jon Toogood won plenty of fans by wearing his anti-authoritarianism on his sleeve.

Inside star-studded life of Hillsong pastor sacked for cheating on his wife (
Nov 8 – Until Wednesday, Carl Lentz was best known as the fashionably dressed pastor who spent his days playing basketball with celebrities like Justin Bieber and Drake.


White evangelicals want a puncher, not a preacher, in the Oval Office (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 3 – (Opinion: Simon Smart) Earlier this year at a huge “Evangelicals for Trump” rally in Miami, Florida, a pastor welcomed the President by shouting a prayer that sounded like the introduction to a heavyweight title bout: “Lord I thank you,” he bellowed.

Court hears fake cop is studying Christian ministry behind bars (
Nov 6 – A serial fraudster who posed as a police officer and pulled over unsuspecting drivers, issuing one with a fine and handcuffing another, is studying Christian ministry behind bars.

How the West can crack down on the Islamists (The Australian)
Nov 7 – (Opinion: Henry Ergas ) Liberal democracies can and must do more to repress those who would butcher our citizens.

Gay conversion practices to be outlawed by the Victorian Government (ABC News)
Nov 8 – The Victorian Government is consulting gay conversion ‘therapy’ survivors as it prepares legislation to outlaw the practice.

Has America lost its soul? (Brisbane Times)
Nov 7 – (Opinion: Peter Singer) As I write, the US presidential election remains undecided.