Religion News Australia

November 21 – 28, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Robert Friscic was offered a $3.7m settlement by the Catholic Church  (ABC News)
Nov 25 – Robert Friscic is a big bear of a man whose whole body shakes when he laughs, which he does a lot when he gets nervous.


Glennon Doyle: ‘So many women feel caged by gender, sexuality, religion’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 22 – (Opinion: Joanna Moorhead) Glennon Doyle’s memoir inspired Adele – but do we all need to be ‘untamed’?

Brides of Christ, the drama that continues to resonate 30 years later (Brisbane Times)
Nov 24 – The morning after Brides of Christ debuted on ABC, in the spring of 1991, Channel Nine boss Kerry Packer phoned his chief programmer. “Did we pass on that nun shit?” he demanded to know.

Israel Folau controversy set to be examined in upcoming ABC doco (Brisbane Times)
Nov 26 – Put it down to chance or divine intervention, but on the day Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced his religious freedom bill to Parliament the ABC announced it had commissioned a feature documentary on Israel Folau, the rugby player whose social media posts claiming that homosexuals would go to hell triggered a major battle over free speech and its potential for harm in 2019.


Indonesian Muslim cryptocurrency enthusiasts find a way around Islamic fatwa (ABC News)
Nov 21 – Trading of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has been declared forbidden for Muslims by the national council of Islamic scholars in Indonesia, as the popularity of digital currencies grows in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Five times a day 3000-fold: Jakarta’s earful of out-of-sync calls to prayer (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 28 – Jakarta: It is dawn in Jakarta and the sound of the adzan, the Islamic call to prayer, is blaring from the loudspeakers of mosques around the metropolis.

Religious Violence

Daughter of British man killed by IS describes confronting his death (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 22 – The daughter of a British aid worker who was murdered by members of an Islamic State terrorist cell has described watching the video of his beheading and looking an alleged IS killer in the eye in court.

Classroom doors close on a nation hungry to learn (The Australian)
Nov 24 – Education is in crisis under the Taliban government.


Move over, Squid Game: Arhats are the next thing out of Korea (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 24 – Each time the sick wife of a South Korean farmer visited a hillside, her health improved.

‘In the hands of God’ (ABC News)
Nov 27 – On a dusty field, under a worn marquee in Ashton, about 200km from Cape Town, church-goers seemed unaware of the rising heat and the global pandemic at a recent Sunday service.

‘There was a prophecy I would come’: the western men who think they are South Pacific kings  (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 28 – Travellers to tiny islands in Vanuatu claim to fulfil a local belief that a mysterious figure from afar will one day bring prosperity.


How COVID-19 borders drove Perth family to seek female genital mutilation on home soil (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 22 – On a seemingly typical weekday in the summer school holidays, a new mother took her two-week-old girl to a suburban GP’s office in Perth.


Assisted dying bill has deleted too many safeguards (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 22 – (Opinion: Monica Doumit) If Alex Greenwich’s voluntary assisted dying bill passes the initial vote in the NSW Parliament on Thursday, the independent MP anticipates as many as 50 amendments to follow.

Faith leaders concerned over religious bill omissions (The Australian)
Nov 22 – Faith leaders call for periodic reviews of religious discrimination laws, with senior government figures expecting moderate Liberals to raise concerns about aspects of the legislation.

If Scott Morrison acted on his strong Christian faith, he would phase out coal (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 22 – (Opinion: Tim Costello) In early 2007 I spoke at the premiere release of the film Amazing Grace in the parliamentary theatre in Canberra.

Religious Australians to get protection to make ‘statements of belief’ (Brisbane Times)
Nov 24 – Australians will be able to make statements of religious belief under the protection of federal law in draft changes to a bill that sparked a warning about the risk to people who lose their jobs or suffer hurt because their sexuality is at odds with someone’s faith.

Labor backs religious freedom but warns on risk for gay teachers, students (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 24 – Labor will back new federal powers to enshrine religious freedom but has called for stronger protections for gay and lesbian Australians in a looming debate in Parliament over draft laws that give church schools the right to remove staff over their faith.

Victorian government vows for fight if Canberra tries to override its anti-discrimination laws (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 24 – The Victorian government has vowed to fight any attempts by the federal government to override state-based anti-discrimination laws.

PM locks in protection for gay children (The Australian)
Nov 24 – Religious discrimination act won’t be used as a weapon against gay teachers and students, Attorney-General Michaelia Cash says.

Labor says religious discrimination bill should not come at a cost to other Australians (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 24 – Labor’s leader in the Senate, Penny Wong, has said the party’s “principal position” on the religious discrimination bill is that it should not reduce protections for other Australians.

Prime Minister urged to protect gay students, teachers as religious discrimination bill introduced (ABC News)
Nov 24 – The Prime Minister has introduced the religious discrimination bill to parliament, but he is being urged by moderate Liberal MPs to also act immediately to ensure gay students and teachers are better protected.

Religious schools must have written policy to discriminate in hiring under proposed laws (Brisbane Times)
Nov 24 – Faith-based schools that want to reserve the right to discriminate against potential teaching hires will have to set out a public statement of their beliefs, under proposed laws that critics say will entrench the power of religious groups to reject people based on their sexuality or gender.

Regional Anglican priest says there’s no need for religious discrimination bill (ABC News)
Nov 25 – A regional Anglican priest continues to criticise the Coalition’s religious discrimination bill, which he fears will to leave minorities and some of his parishioners in a vulnerable position.

The PM’s unholy mess on religious freedom should have been settled already (Brisbane Times)
Nov 25 – (Opinion: David Crowe) Parliament is about to be reminded of some unfinished business on personal freedom that should have been settled long ago.

No protection for gay students at religious schools at least until 2023 (Brisbane Times)
Nov 25 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rebuffed pleas from moderate Liberals to prioritise protections for gay students at faith-based schools alongside the religious freedom bill, as senior Labor frontbencher Penny Wong called for the government to honour both promises at the same time.

Religious Discrimination Bill will protect people of faith (Brisbane Times)
Nov 26 – (Opinion: Peter Comensoli) The great figure of American history and the star character of today’s favourite musical, Hamilton, had this to say about religious liberty…

Religious and gay Sydney teacher tells Q+A she was fired due to her sexuality (ABC News)
Nov 26 – Just hours after Prime Minister introduced the religious discrimination bill to Parliament,  a teacher has echoed calls for Scott Morrison to also ensure gay school teachers and students are protected, telling Q+A she lost her job because she was homosexual.

Schools can still expel LGBTQ+ kids. The Religious Discrimination Bill only makes it worse (ABC News)
Nov 26 – (Opinion: Liam Elphick and Alice Taylor) The Religious Discrimination Bill is back, this time in its third iteration.

Morrison to avoid clash on religious freedom after meeting MP who crossed floor (Brisbane Times)
Nov 26 – The federal government has moved to avoid another defeat in Parliament by sending a draft law on religious freedom to a joint committee of MPs and senators, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called in Liberal MP Bridget Archer over her surprise move on Thursday to vote against the Coalition on a national integrity commission.

Federal Religious Discrimination Bill flawed (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 26 – (Opinion: editorial) Few would argue that protecting the civil rights of individuals is not an essential part of a well-functioning liberal democracy.

Liberal MPs under pressure from independents over protections for gay students and teachers (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 26 – Religious discrimination laws and protection for gay students and teachers are set to be flashpoints in the contest between progressive independents and Liberal moderates in inner-city seats.

Our laws protect every thread of our identity, except one (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 27 – (Opinion: Bilal Rauf) Our society is a multicultural liberal democracy.

Morrison takes a selective view of history to sell a bill Australia does not need (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 27 – (Opinion: Malcolm Knox) While Scott Morrison was delivering his sincere 16-minute sermon on how religious belief needs a specific overriding Commonwealth protection, a question nagged.

What the religious discrimination bill is really about (The Saturday Paper)
Nov 27 – (Opinion: Karen Middleton ) The Morrison government’s religious discrimination bill is being rushed into parliament ahead of the election, although it fails to clarify key aspects of discrimination, including the treatment of queer school students.


My ‘sin’, of being gay, got me legally fired (Brisbane Times)
Nov 26 – (Opinion: Steph Lentz) Religious organisations are going to have to fire a lot more people to avoid being called out as hypocritical.

Horsham church holds separate services for vaxxed and unvaxxed worshippers (ABC News)
Nov 26 – A Victorian pastor says churches are struggling with the conversation around COVID-19 vaccination, but are searching for ways to accommodate everyone.