Religion News Australia

May 2 – 9, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Anglicans elect migrant, former-Buddhist, person of colour as Archbishop of Sydney (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 9 – The Anglican diocese of Sydney has elected its first person of colour Archbishop, Kanishka Raffel, at a time of significant division in the broader church over the blessing of same-sex couples.

Roebourne’s Holy Trinity Church, the oldest church in WA’s north-west, celebrates 125 years (ABC News)
May 9 – The historic Holy Trinity Church in Roebourne — transformed last year after decades of neglect — turned 125 this week, with more than 50 people attending celebrations to mark the milestone.


How the West was airbrushed from history (The Australian)
May 1 – (Opinion: Nick Cater) The draft curriculum amplifies the black armband view of Australia while mentioning Islam more often than Christianity.

‘Parents are the primary educators’: Catholics backflip on Latham’s anti-trans bill (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 9 – The Parramatta diocese of the Catholic church has yielded to a backlash from parents and priests over its opposition to a bill that would ban the discussion of gender diversity in schools.

Catholic Church

Pope adds voice to call for pharma giants to waive vaccine patents (The Guardian, Australia)
May 9 – In a video message to the Vax Live event, Francis backed “universal access to the vaccine and the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights”. And he added his condemnation of the “virus of individualism” that “makes us indifferent to the suffering of others”.


Young, Muslim and progressive: is another AOC-style upset brewing in New York? (The Guardian, Australia)
May 1 – Rana Abdelhamid, the daughter of Egyptian immigrants, is seeking to oust a veteran congresswoman in a Democratic primary

Religious Violence

Islamists melt into desert as UK troops advance (The Australian)
May 1 – Hundreds of UK troops are on the longest desert reconnaissance patrols since the Second World War.

Sorcery-related violence should be thought of as profoundly modern (The Guardian, Australia)
May 1 – (Opinion: Miranda Forsyth) The attacks in Papua New Guinea may look like a barbaric relic from the past but have to do with poverty, inequality and the normalisation of violence


Cult or church? This Korean sect has thousands of devotees, but ex-believers lost faith and money (ABC News)
May 1 – At 24, Kim Eun-kang was pursuing her dream of becoming a traditional Korean music singer. But she gave it all up to compete for a chance at immortality.

Cult members arrested after leader Amy Carlson’s body found mummified in rural US home (ABC News)
May 7 – Seven members of a religious cult who authorities say kept the mummified remains of their leader at a home in a remote United States town have made their first appearance in court on Wednesday.

Josh Duggar, from television reality show, faces child sex abuse material charges (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 9 – Joshua James Duggar — the 33-year-old former star of the popular reality TV show 19 Kids and Counting — has appeared in court to face criminal charges that he received and possessed materials that depicted the sexual abuse of children.

Ethiopian patriarch pleads for international help to stop rape and genocide by government troops (The Guardian, Australia)
May 9 – Ethiopian government forces and their allies are committing genocide in the country’s war-torn northern province of Tigray, the head of Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church has claimed in a videoed statement demanding urgent international intervention.


‘Why do you wear the hijab?’: Questions I get asked as a Muslim woman (ABC News)
May 4 – Being a Muslim woman in Australia can come with assumptions and stereotypes.

Ramadan in a post-COVID world challenges women’s access to mosques (ABC News)
May 5 – On a Saturday evening during Ramadan at Punchbowl Mosque dozens of women huddle under a marque, preparing food in a chaotic dance.

Accused Islamic State supporter Mohamed Zuhbi arrives in Australia  (ABC News)
May 9 – An accused Islamic State facilitator wanted here and in the US for his alleged role with the terrorist group has been returned to Australia eight years after he left to become involved in the Syrian civil war.

Also: Alleged Australian Islamic State fighter faces court (Brisbane Times)
May 9 – An Australian man accused of supporting and recruiting fighters for Islamic State in Syria has faced court in Melbourne after being deported from Turkey where he had been jailed for links to the terrorist group.


Faithful Morrison says one thing but does another (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 6 – (Opinion: John Hewson) It is important our politicians have and operate with principles, values and beliefs, but consistency of words and deeds is fundamental if they are to be believed and trusted.

Also: Revealing and uneasy peek at Morrison’s altar ego (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 6 – (Opinion: Julie Szego) Have we ever seen the Prime Minister as comfortable in his own skin as when he took the stage at the Australian Christian Churches’ Gold Coast conference?

Also: Ashes to ashes: Pentecostalism, the PM and the climate crisis (The Guardian, Australia)
May 9 – (Opinion: Graham Readfearn) “We are called, all of us, for a time and for a season and God would have us use it wisely.”

Also: Scott Morrison and Pentecostalism (The Saturday Paper)
May 9 – (Opinion: James Boyce) “Commentators who have discounted the political significance of Morrison’s faith, because of his ambivalent commitment to narrowly defined ‘religious issues’, have been shown that the man himself does not do the same.

Canavan, Stoker make bold claims at Brisbane pro-life rally (Brisbane Times)
May 8 – Queensland LNP senator Matt Canavan has claimed pregnancies are being terminated on the basis of gender and said he would introduce a bill to oppose the practice being funded by Medicare.


Mount Panorama go-kart track blocked by government on Aboriginal cultural heritage grounds (ABC News)
May 4 – Blocking the go-kart track to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage on Mount Panorama has brought both elation and disappointment.

Also: Traditional owners to close Kakadu site over ‘lack of respect’ for sacred areas by Parks Australia (ABC News)
May 4 – The Kadadu National Park area of Gunlom will be closed to the public just as the peak tourism season kicks off after traditional owners agreed that Parks Australia had “a lack of respect” for their sacred sites.

Traditional owners ask federal politicians for help to protect McArthur River Mine sacred sites (ABC News)
May 5 – Aboriginal traditional owners have made a plea to federal MPs and senators investigating the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves in WA, asking for their help to protect sacred sites in the NT.

Rio Tinto hit by huge protest vote on executive pay over Juukan destruction (ABC News)
May 7 – Rio Tinto investors have given the miner a slap in the face at the company’s annual general meeting in Perth by voting against big bonuses for top executives to protest the destruction of sacred Aboriginal caves at the Juukan Gorge.

Buyers seek slice of heaven in regional church sales (The Age, Melbourne)
May 7 – When the local church was listed for sale in the north-west Victorian town of Carapooee, it seemed only a miracle could save it from falling into private hands.

In the Christian covenant of marriage, there’s always a third party (The Age, Melbourne)
May 9 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) One of the saddest bits of news this week, for me, was the announcement that Bill and Melinda Gates are separating after 27 years.