Religion News Selection

February 6 – 13, 2022

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Citipointe churchgoers give standing ovation for under-fire principal (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 7 – The head of Brisbane’s Citipointe megachurch has told worshippers to lobby MPs about proposed religious freedom and sexual discrimination laws, after the church school’s failed attempt to introduce enrolment contracts with anti-gay and anti-trans provisions.

Sydney private school lists same-sex relationships along with abusive relationships  (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 7 – The principal of a private Sydney school has defended its “statement of faith” that lists same-sex relationships and transgender identity alongside abusive relationships as “not acceptable to God”, saying critics had taken it out of context.

Death threats, vandalism at college as Brisbane mayor pleads for tolerance (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 8 – Death threats have been sent and vandals have targeted a religious Brisbane college, leading to the lord mayor pleading for tolerance, as the Prime Minister looks to push through an anti-discrimination bill.


Taliban elite send daughters overseas for ‘good education’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 8 – London: Taliban officials are sending their daughters to school despite keeping classrooms closed to female students.

Indian state’s hijab ban in school sparks religious freedom furore (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 11 – Bengaluru: A request by a group of high school girls to wear the hijab in class has snowballed into dulling protests between Hindu and Muslim students in India, deepening religious polarisation as regional elections approach.


Keeping the faith, quietly: Inside Muslim Indonesia’s hidden Jewish community (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 7 – Singapore/Jakarta: In Tondano, near the north-east tip of the island of Sulawesi, south-east Asia’s first Holocaust museum was unveiled last month.


What it felt like the first time I wore a hijab to school (ABC News)
Feb 9 – It took Zara years to build up the courage to wear a hijab at school.


Prime Minister, step into my son’s heels: Labor MP (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 9 – (Opinion)  Federal Labor frontbencher Stephen Jones has revealed the suicide of his gay nephew and fears for his own high-heel wearing son’s safety in a powerful intervention during debate on the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash says protecting trans students poses risk to religious schools’ ethos (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 9 – Attorney-General Michaelia Cash says a move to immediately strip church schools of the ability to discriminate against transgender students would raise complications over bathrooms and uniform requirements, and risk eroding the ethos of single-sex religious schools.

Religious discrimination bill contorts equality principle (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 9 – (Opinion: Edward Santow) Some human rights reform is exceptionally hard.

Go back to basics on proposed religious discrimination law (Brisbane Times)
Feb 9 – (Opinion: Kuranda Seyit) The proposed Religious Discrimination Act has raised more questions and potential problems than it has provided solutions.

Government shelves religious freedom bill indefinitely, leaving election promise hanging in uncertainty (ABC News)
Feb 10 – The government has indefinitely shelved its bid to overhaul religious freedom laws, leaving one of the Coalition’s central 2019 election commitments hanging in uncertainty.

There’s a solution to the discrimination bill balancing act – but it comes at a price (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 10 – (Opinion: Waleed Aly) There’s a point in Labor’s statement outlining its amendments to the religious discrimination bill that captures why this whole episode has been such a mess.

Leaders to take religion battle to polls (The Australian)
Feb 11 – Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese have set up an election clash over religious freedoms.

Australian religious groups say shelving of discrimination bill ‘disappointing’ and ‘confusing’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 11 – Religious groups have expressed disappointment at the federal government’s decision to shelve controversial religious discrimination laws, claiming parliament lost sight of the original intent of the legislation.

How in God’s name did we get here? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 12 – (Opinion: Chip Le Grand) The moment the Religious Discrimination Bill died there was no public outpouring of grief.

Australia’s debate about religious discrimination exposes political fault lines  (ABC News)
Feb 13 – (Opinion: Stan Grant) Does Australia have a God problem?