Religion News Selection

February 23 – March 1, 2020

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson on making Revelation (ABC News)
Mar 1  – Sarah Ferguson spends her working life wading through murky waters, tackling difficult, confronting and harrowing stories but none has tested her like the project that consumed her for the past year: Revelation — a three-part documentary investigation into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, in which she comes face to face with two of Australia’s most notorious serial paedophiles.

Historical Newington College exchange program arranged by US child molester (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 1  – A student exchange program between Newington College and a Los Angeles school, run during the tenure of a former deputy headmaster accused of child sex abuse, was organised on the American side by a teacher charged with child molestation.


Boys’ schools must challenge entrenched attitudes (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 25 – (Opinion: Chris Middleton) The publicity that engulfed St Kevin’s College last year and that was revisited on Four Corners last week is a reminder to us all about the need to continue to work at shaping school culture, and the ongoing challenges around gender relations for young people today.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis urges Catholics to stop posting insulting language on social media during Lent (ABC News)
Feb 27  – Pope Francis has called for Catholics to give up trolling people online during the fasting period of Lent.


Asia Bibi: Pakistani woman jailed for blasphemy claims asylum in France (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 29  – Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row on blasphemy charges, has filed an initial application for asylum in France and been invited to live in the country by Emmanuel Macron.

Religious Violence

US, Taliban sign historic troop withdrawal deal in Doha that could end 18-year war (ABC News)
Mar 1  – The US has signed a deal with Taliban insurgents that could pave the way for a full withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan over the next 14 months, and represent a step toward ending the 18-year war in the country.


What Mardi Gras means for LGBTQI+ Muslims (ABC News)
Feb 29  – As soon as Omar Elkharouf finished school, he left home and threw himself into Sydney’s Oxford Street gay scene.


Religious discrimination bill – Porter must fix it or ditch it (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 25 – (Opinion: Luke Beck) Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter on Monday published an article in this paper claiming his controversial religious discrimination bill is intended merely as a “shield”, and wrongly branding my criticisms of the bill as neither genuine nor constructive.

Also: Religious ‘freedom’ bill will divide Australians, not unite us (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 27 – (Opinion: Michael Kirby) Over the summer, the federal government released an amended draft of its proposed Religious Discrimination Bill, designed to satisfy the bill’s many critics.

Also: Ian Thorpe campaigns against religious discrimination bill, saying it will remove Australia’s ‘fair go’ (ABC News)
Feb 27 – Ian Thorpe has visited MPs at Parliament House to lobby against the Government’s religious discrimination bill, saying it goes against the Australian notion of a “fair go” and will divide the country.

WA churches with Liberal links win grants of almost $40,000 in four months (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 25  – A cluster of evangelical churches with strong links to West Australian Liberals have won almost $40,000 in grants in the past four months through a federal scheme.

Josh Frydenberg sounds alarm on Holocaust deniers and ‘the rise of the far right’  (ABC News)
Feb 26  – Federal Parliament’s most prominent Jewish MP, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, has warned far-right extremism is rising across the world, including in some parts of Australia.