Religion News Selection

September 25 – October 9, 2022

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Sexual abuse survivors, child migrants vow to fight for support service amid eviction threat (ABC News)
Sept 28 – A crucial support service that has become a “second home” for former child migrants and survivors of sexual abuse in institutions is fighting possible eviction by its landlord, the Christian Brothers.

Anglican Church

Cancel culture ‘hurting human dignity’ (The Australian)
Oct 9 – The world’s most influential Anglican has warned that cancel culture threatens religious freedom and undermines “common concern” for human dignity.


Are hijab protests ‘the beginning of the end’ for Iran’s regime? (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 9 – The Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, was holding court to a small group of journalists at the Millennium Hilton in New York on his first visit to the United States since his election in June 2021. At home, protests over the death in police custody of Masha Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, were entering their sixth day.

Also: Why Iran’s female-led revolt fills me with hope (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 9 – (Opinion: Kamin Mohammadi) It was in the strange days between the Queen’s death and her funeral that the bad news from Iran broke through the blanket coverage of the state mourning rituals.


How believers in China keep the faith under Xi Jinping’s watchful eye (ABC News)
Oct 9 – A long time ago, a severe drought was ravaging a small village in the south of China.


Dutton latest to join war of words in Essendon CEO saga (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 5 – Peter Dutton has called on the Essendon Football Club to reappoint Andrew Thorburn as its CEO after the former banker stepped down one day into his tenure amid controversy over the views of his church.

Also: Thorburn saga a test of faith for government (The Australian)
Oct 9 – The Coalition has seized on the Andrew Thorburn-Essendon saga to demand the Albanese government bring forward its religious discrimination Bill ‘sooner rather than later’.


Jerrinja Local Aboriginal Land Council fights plans to ‘scrape’ for grave sites at NSW church
Sept 29 – A long-running dispute over land surrounding a former Anglican Church on the NSW south coast is intensifying, as the land owner seeks to clarify whether Aboriginal graves lie beneath the proposed development site.

Scepticism over businessman’s ‘clean’ coal-to-hydrogen project in Tasmania’s Fingal Valley (ABC News)
Sept 29 – A businessman who says his success is a result of “doing God’s will, God’s way” plans to re-open a coal mine in Tasmania’s Fingal Valley to fuel a hydrogen plant, claiming it will be the world’s first clean coal-to-hydrogen project.

How Harry Potter and Dungeons and Dragons brought ‘satanic panic’ into the suburbs (ABC News)
Oct 2 – Growing up in Warragal, Victoria, in the 1980s, David Waldron’s after-school hobby — playing Dungeons and Dragons — was raising eyebrows.

Essendon saga

‘Dangerous idea’: Thorburn releases fresh statement about Essendon exit (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 5 – Short-lived Essendon chief executive Andrew Thorburn says it is a dangerous idea that a religious faith could render someone unsuited to a role, after he spectacularly resigned from his position at the AFL club.

Conflicts were too great for Thorburn to keep both jobs (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 6 – (Opinion: Andrew Alexandra) On Monday of this week Andrew Thorburn was appointed as CEO of the Essendon Football Club.

Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier accuses Essendon of ‘panic’ over Andrew Thorburn appointment (ABC News)
Oct 6 – The Anglican Archbishop for Melbourne has described the situation at Essendon Football Club as “crazy” in the wake of CEO Andrew Thorburn’s resignation after just one day in the role.

I’ve lost faith that Australia knows how to discuss religion (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 7 – (Opinion: Anthony Segaert) I found myself yelling at Kochie on Thursday morning.

Thorburn church pastor regrets ‘sloppy analogy’; legal options against Essendon grow (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 7 – The pastor whose controversial sermon led to Andrew Thorburn’s abrupt resignation as Essendon CEO has repeated his apology for the words he used, while a religious discrimination law expert laid out a dual path for possible legal action against the Bombers.

What does the Essendon CEO saga have to do with school uniforms? (ABC News)
Oct 8 – (Opinion: Virginia Trioli) Two vastly different story threads crossed for me this week, although they appeared to have nothing in common at the time.

Andrew Thorburn’s Essendon exit wasn’t a religious freedom failure – it was a recruitment failure (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 8 – (Opinion: Elenie Poulos) The core issue (and there are a number) around the appointment of Andrew Thorburn as CEO of the Essendon Football Club is not religious freedom.

Ye of little faith, how well do you know your country? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 9 – (Opinion: George Megalogenis) How well do you know your country?

Essendon, Andrew Thorburn and Christianity:  The battle of values that cost a man his job (ABC News)
Oct 9 – (Opinion: Stan Grant) The culture warriors are arming up again.

It seems that faith is not only unacceptable, but now must be cancelled (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 9 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) The Andrew Thorburn fiasco raises complicated questions that are hard to reconcile.