Religion News Australia

August 1 – 8, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Hillsong leader Brian Houston charged over the concealment of alleged child sex offences (ABC News)
Aug 5 – Hillsong founder Brian Houston has been charged with allegedly concealing information about child sexual abuse following a two-year investigation.

Also: Hillsong pastor Brian Houston charged for allegedly concealing child sexual abuse by his father (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 5 – Brian Houston, founder of evangelical megachurch Hillsong, says he will return to Australia and fight to clear his name after being charged for allegedly concealing child sexual abuse by his late father Frank Houston.

Also: ‘God is in control’: Hillsong comforts the flock after founder charged by police (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 6 – The board of megachurch Hillsong has written to followers after founder Brian Houston was charged by police, offering comfort and criticising media reporting of the pastor’s handling of his late father’s sexual abuse of children

Catholic Church

Financial sleaze trial will decide pope’s legacy (The Australian)
Aug 8 – Francis must steel himself for a case that will shed light on allegations of embezzlement, extortion and predatory property deals at the highest levels of the church

Religious Violence

The last clinic (ABC News)
Aug 5 – There were once 30 clinics performing abortions in Missouri.

Swan Hill dad fears for his wife and baby’s lives after Taliban gains control of their village (ABC News)
Aug 6 – Rohullah Hussaini fears for the lives of his wife and baby, after they were forced to flee the safety of their home in Ghazni City in Afghanistan last month.

Taliban kill Afghan media chief in Kabul, take southern city (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 7 – Kabul: The Taliban ambushed and killed the director of Afghanistan’s government media centre on Friday in the capital, Kabul, the latest killing of a government official just days after an assassination attempt on the country’s acting defence minister.

Taliban’s hold on Afghanistan tightens as foreign troops withdraw (ABC News)
Aug 8 – The Taliban has taken control of two more regional cities in Afghanistan, according to local officials.

Chibok schoolgirl freed in Nigeria seven years after Boko Haram kidnap, governor says (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 8 – One abducted girl from the Nigerian town of Chibok has been freed and reunited with her parents seven years after Boko Haram militants kidnapped her and more than 200 of her classmates, Borno state’s governor said on Saturday.


What if humans just can’t get along anymore? (
Aug 5 – (Opinion: Farhad Manjoo) At the broadest level, human history is a story about cooperation.

Even a priest in Brazil is not spared rage of Bolsonaro supporters (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 5 – The toxic politics bedevilling Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil swept into Father Lino Allegri’s sacristy one Sunday in July, just after the octogenarian priest delivered a homily lamenting the president’s role in the Covid catastrophe that has killed more than half a million Brazilians.


NAB launches Sharia loan product into Australian Islamic finance market tipped to be worth $250b (ABC News)
Aug 5 – Australia’s finance sector is tapping into the Islamic market, with one of the country’s biggest lenders today launching a Sharia-compliant loan and smaller institutions vying to become the first bank for the nation’s Muslim population.

Also: NAB taps into Islamic finance market with sharia-compliant loans (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 6 – When Professor Ishaq Bhatti moved to Australia to do his PhD in 1987 he went to the bank and explained he was a Muslim and needed a savings account that didn’t accrue interest.

Australian man allegedly funded terrorist’s travel to Syrian warzone (Brisbane Times)
Aug 5 – An Australian man has faced court accused of financially aiding an overseas fighter to flee his country and join Syrian terrorist groups fighting against the country’s government forces.

Newcastle’s Muslim community flags group of Greater Sydney COVID-19 breachers (ABC News)
Aug 5 – As the Hunter region faces a snap, seven-day lockdown, a Newcastle mosque confirms it has turned away a group of people who had travelled from Greater Sydney, in breach of lockdown rules.


Rabbi Marcus Solomon becomes first orthodox rabbi named Supreme Court judge in Australia (ABC News)
Aug 3 – For what is believed to be the first time, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi is being appointed to an Australian Supreme Court.

Six in 10 members of Qld’s Jewish community targeted by anti-Semitism (Brisbane Times)
Aug 8 – Displaying the Nazi flag must be outlawed and decades-old laws updated amid a surge in anti-Semitic behaviour in Queensland, a peak Jewish group has argued.


God’s work and self-confidence: Australian high jumpers’ lofty ambitions (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 5 – Tokyo: Nicola McDermott said she felt peace as she launched her Olympic high jump campaign knowing she was channelling God’s work and relied on scripture to help her.

Has Australia lost its religion, or merely its affection for institutions? (Brisbane Times)
Aug 5 – (Opinion: Mark Stephens) This is the year Australia stops being a Christian nation.

Lapsed Catholics need to reflect their beliefs in the census (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 5 – (Opinion: Monica Dux) I have a family friend who boarded at a Catholic school, back in the 1940s.

Was Mary a feminist icon? (The Australian)
Aug 7 – (Opinion: Greg Sheridan ) She is portrayed as demure and devoted, but Mary — the most influential woman in history — was also decisive and strong.

Why does the militant left hate religion? (The Australian)
Aug 7 – (Opinion: Gerard Henderson ) The census has been weaponised by born-again atheists on a crusade to convert the faithful.

Higher purpose: Faith drives evangelical McDermott to a silver medal (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 8 – Nicola McDermott has a higher drive.

Push for ‘No Religion’ in deal with Devil (The Australian)
Aug 8 – One of the leading voices behind the Census 21 push has praised the principles of Satanism as ‘fantastic’ and ‘sensible’.

Christians must stand up and be counted (The Australian)
Aug 8 – (Opinion: Anthony Fisher ) The campaign to get many Christians to tick ‘no religion’ on census night because they aren’t in church every week misunderstands faith.