Religion News Selection

October 30 – November 6, 2022

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Parents told the best protection is prayer after school child-sex abuse claims (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 2 – The principal of a small faith-based school in south-east Melbourne has responded to concerns over a string of alleged child sexual abuse incidents involving students by telling families that the best protection for their children is to pray and perform religious rituals.

Catholic Church orders multiple inquiries into allegations a priest failed to act on child abuse  (ABC News)
Nov 3 – Despite commissioning multiple investigations, the Catholic Church is still to resolve allegations a priest knew about paedophile clergyman Neville Joseph Creen’s abuse of a school girl in the 1980s.

‘My teen years were stolen’: Victim speaks as teacher pleads guilty to sex offences (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 4 – The victim of a Melbourne Catholic school music teacher’s sexual abuse says she was held prisoner by her poor mental health after almost two years of being groomed and assaulted.


A misty paradise, a nightmarish cult and an unlikely whistleblower (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 1 – Google Gloriavale and up comes a website describing a Christian paradise on a misty stretch of New Zealand’s West Coast.


How Citipointe Christian College’s ‘sexuality contract’ brought queer students out of the shadows  (ABC News)
Nov 1 – Emmey Leo lived a lonely, secret life at high school.

Treatment of LGBTQ+ students at Queensland colleges prompts review into independent schools  (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 1 – The Queensland education minister, Grace Grace, has announced an independent review of the accreditation framework for independent schools following backlash against the actions of large Queensland Christian schools.

Labor takes step towards new religious discrimination laws with review of exemptions for schools (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 4 – The federal attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to review the country’s religious exemptions for schools in federal anti-discrimination law, in the first formal step towards new religious discrimination laws.

Muslim student allegedly forced to watch offensive cartoon of Muhammad at Melbourne school (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 6 – A Melbourne school has been accused of forcing a Muslim student to watch a cartoon depicting Muhammad in class, prompting an investigation by the state government.

Catholic Church

Uproar after Irish priest says Varadkar and other gay politicians will go to hell (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 4 – A Catholic priest has caused uproar in Ireland after declaring that the deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar, and other gay politicians will go to hell.

Pope Francis joins world religious leaders to call for end to ‘childlike’ warmongering  (ABC News)
Nov 4 – Pope Francis has called for the world’s religious leaders to counter “childlike” whims of the powerful to make wars at an interfaith summit in the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain.


‘It’s do as I say, not as I do’: the lurid fall of evangelical pariah Jerry Falwell Jr (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 1 – Jerry Falwell Jr once said there was nothing that then president Donald Trump could do that would endanger support from him or other Christian evangelical leaders.

Lost in the sand: Christian monastery ‘pre-dating Islam’ found in UAE (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 4 – Siniyah Island, UAE: An ancient Christian monastery possibly dating as far back as the years before Islam spread across the Arabian Peninsula has been discovered on an island off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

‘He was chosen’: the rightwing Christian roadshow spreading the gospel of Trump (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 6 – “There is a man by the name of Donald,” the voice on the recording says.


Lebanese Muslim Association in Sydney facing calls to allow women to become members (ABC News)
Nov 5 – Muslim women are calling for a greater say running the Lebanese Muslim Association, accusing the influential New South Wales body of ignoring women’s concerns.


Meet the Pastor celebrating queer Christians in the Church (ABC News)
Nov 1 – After coming out in their early 20s, Steff Fenton spent more than a decade in the Anglican Church, advocating for a space for queer Christians.

‘We love her’: Religious group rejects murder charge over eight-year-old’s death (ABC News)
Nov 1 – A young diabetic girl who died after her insulin was withheld so she could be healed by God will “rise” again, a court has heard.

‘I disagree with the sort of God they represent’: Christian leader targets religious discrimination (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 1 – Being persecuted for her beliefs is something the trailblazing former Uniting Church minister Dorothy McRae-McMahon knows all about.

Hillsong founder Brian Houston takes aim at church board in Facebook livestream (ABC News)
Nov 3 – Hillsong founder Brian Houston has taken aim at the church’s board, saying he was “squeezed out” as senior pastor after being charged with covering up his father’s child sexual abuse.

What is Satanism? And where does social justice fit into this controversial religion? (ABC News)
Nov 6 – What do Satanists believe?

The Church of England’s head, and a plain Presbyterian parishioner (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 5 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) It is fascinating that the late Queen Elizabeth II, the titular head of the Church of England, spent part of her life as a Presbyterian and died as one.

Divine renovation: as churchgoing declines in Australia, places of worship go on the market (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 6 – Neil Hicks, the archdeacon at the Anglican diocese of Wangaratta, knows the number of his parishioners is dwindling.