Religion News Selection

January 25 – February 2, 2020

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Xavier College grapples with historical sex abuse claims (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 27 – Xavier College is grappling with the challenge of marking the death of a former principal who died suddenly in December after being named in relation to child sex abuse allegations on a controversial website run by old boys.

Trinity Grammar settles sexual abuse case for $1 million (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 2  – Prestigious Melbourne school Trinity Grammar has paid out more than $1 million to a former student for the historical sexual abuse he suffered.


Anglican Bishop calls for ‘confession, repentance’ on Australia Day (Canberra Times)
Feb 2  – The Anglican Bishop of Tasmania Richard Condie is exhorting Christians to mark Australia Day with lamentation and mourning, describing the dispossession of Aboriginal people as a “festering wound in our nation”.


Red Mass for judges, lawyers defended amid protests at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne (ABC News)
Feb 2  – A leading lawyer has defended the Catholic Church’s right to hold a traditional mass for judges and lawyers in Melbourne, despite protesters saying it should be scrapped.

Anglican Church

Church of England bishops break ranks over sex guidance (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 28 – A number of Church of England bishops have broken ranks to distance themselves from guidance issued last week which said only married heterosexual people may have sex and those in civil partnerships should be celibate.

Also: Church of England apologises for saying sex is only for married heterosexuals (ABC News)
Feb 1 – The top archbishops and bishops of the Church of England have issued an apology for a statement released last week which declared only married heterosexuals should have sex.


‘Take that, Mr Hitler’: the Jewish roots of superheroes (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 30 – It was February 1940 when two American friends dreamt up how Superman would stop the second world war.


‘Satanic wombs’: the outlandish world of Trump’s spiritual adviser (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 28 – This weekend, a video of Trump’s spiritual adviser, Paula White, surfaced showing her preaching some potentially ungodly words.

Asia Bibi: Pakistani woman jailed for blasphemy releases photos in exile (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 29 – Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy, has released two photographs taken in exile, as she prepares for the launch of her autobiography on Wednesday.

Peru: why a fundamentalist sect became an unexpected winner in elections (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 1 – In a country that takes pride in its colourful folklore, Los Israelitas – a religious sect whose members dress in flowing biblical robes – were regarded as just one more strand in Peru’s cultural tapestry.


‘They’re dangerous’: Auschwitz survivor urges action on racists (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 27 – The word “liberation” sounds so positive, like a celebration.


Religious discrimination bill gives Australians ‘right to be a bigot’ (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 30 – Proposed religious discrimination laws could make it legal for a boss to tell a gay worker “being gay is a form of brokenness”, or a childcare provider to tell a single mother “God will judge you harshly for taking away the child’s right to have a father”.

Religious discrimination bill could put business in ‘perilous’ and ‘very expensive’ position: ACCI (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 1 – Proposed religious discrimination laws could put businesses in a “perilous” and “very expensive” position as they try to balance the rights of religious and non-religious employees.

Also: Religious discrimination bill will harm patients and discriminate against doctors, AMA warns (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 1 – The religious discrimination bill would harm patients’ rights to access healthcare and allow religious hospitals to discriminate against doctors, the Australian Medical Association has warned.

Religious freedom bill’s latest draft ‘unacceptable and does not protect human rights’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 1 – The Australian Human Rights Commission asks itself one question when evaluating government bills: is this an acceptable way to apply international human rights law?


Another year of getting and spending – but why do we bother? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 27 – (Opinion: Ross Gittins) In the Aussie calendar, tomorrow – the day after the Australia Day holiday – is the unofficial start to the working year.

Queensland religious groups fight move to make gay conversion therapy a crime (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 28 – Religious schools and organisations are fighting a move by the Queensland government to make LGBT-related conversion therapy a crime in the state.

We’re being sold a convenient lie in the religious discrimination debate (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 1 – (Opinion: Lydia Shelly) The Christchurch mosque terrorist attack allegedly carried out by a self-declared violent, rightwing extremist changed the Muslim communities in Australia in ways that are hard to articulate.