Religion News Selection

July 23 – August 6, 2023

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Child sexual abuse survivors hope WA parliamentary inquiry will help them get justice (ABC News)
August 4 – “Gutted. Betrayed. Used. Re-traumatised.” That is how 70-year-old Gordon Batty felt when his civil court case against the Uniting Church over his alleged sexual abuse in the 1960s was permanently stopped.


When I met Sinead O’Connor, she looked like a monk who smoked Marlboro Lights (The Age, Melbourne)
July 28 – (Opinion: Julia Baird) Fearless and fragile, she trod on the lion and the cobra.


After a century of tunics, more Sydney private girls schools start allowing pants (Sydney Morning Herald)
August 6 – When the principal at one of Sydney’s oldest girls’ schools decided to overhaul the uniform options available to students, there had been no changes to its traditional tunics and crested blazers for decades.


NZ abuse royal commission details abuse at hands of St John of God brothers (ABC News)
August 2 – Findings from a New Zealand royal commission into a Catholic order that shifted a prolific paedophile between his homeland and Australia show children in its care endured “hell on earth”.

Catholic Church

Facing a financial crisis, the Vatican can clean up its act (The Australian)
July 26 – George Pell long predicted the looming issue. Jesus drove the money changers from the temple in Jerusalem, and the Catholic Church needs a similar cleansing.


Afghanistan’s beauty salons ordered to close as Taliban’s ban takes effect (ABC News)
July 26 – The Taliban has announced that all beauty salons in Afghanistan must now close as a one-month deadline ends, despite rare public opposition to the mandate.

Religious Violence

‘There’s no other option but to fight’: Iranian women defiant as ‘morality police’ return (The Guardian, Australia)
July 25 – A police spokesperson confirmed last week that they had started patrolling the streets to deal with civilians who “ignore the consequences of not wearing the proper hijab and insist on disobeying the norms”.

Israel is rapidly expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This Australian man is among them (ABC News)
July 30 – Jewish Australian Michael Lourie spent years building his dream home set amongst sprawling mountains, with views stretching all the way to the sparkling Dead Sea.


Muslim groups alarmed by push to ban flag used by Islamic State (The Age, Melbourne)
August 2 – Muslim groups, religious leaders and experts have voiced alarm at the federal government’s push to ban a flag associated with Islamic State, saying it risks criminalising legitimate displays of Islamic imagery and infringing Muslims’ right to practise their religion.


Australian Christian Lobby says plans to combat misinformation will ‘cancel Christian posts’ (The Guardian, Australia)
August 5 – Labor is facing growing opposition from conservative and Christian groups against a plan to toughen social media self-regulation of misinformation, including fresh claims from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) that the proposal will “cancel Christian posts online”.


‘Chatbot Jesus’ takes questions of all kinds as religion and spirituality push into the AI age (ABC News)
August 3 – Jesus has been portrayed in many different ways: from a prophet who alerts his audience to the world’s imminent end to a philosopher who reflects on the nature of life.

Churches no more: how wealthy’s priorities have changed (The Australian)
August 5 – (Opinion: Bernard Salt) In the past, the nation’s rich and recently departed would often bequeath funds for a memorial church. But in 2023, where are they leaving their wealth?