Religion News Selection

December 13 – 20, 2020

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)


Australian government says former teacher Malka Leifer will have 60 days to surrender (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 17 – Attorney-General Christian Porter says former teacher Malka Leifer should face an Australian court after Israel signed an extradition order to send her to Australia to face charges of child sex abuse.


Pell says he has no intention of seeking damages for jail time (Brisbane Times)
Dec 17 – Rome: Pope Francis’ former treasurer, Australian Cardinal George Pell, has told a virtual book launch press conference that he had no intention of seeking damages from the Australian government for his incarceration and said he intended to split his time between Sydney and the Vatican.

Catholic Church

‘A lot of smoke’: Cardinal Pell claims church figures targeted him over finance probe (The Age, Melbourne)
Cardinal George Pell has linked the charges he faced in Australia to his efforts to clean up the Vatican’s finances, claiming senior Catholic Church figures targeted him as he probed corruption allegations at the highest levels of the church.

George Pell: Trump is a barbarian, but ‘in some important ways’ he’s our barbarian (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 17 – Cardinal George Pell has praised Donald Trump’s “splendid” supreme court appointments, but questioned his effort to sow doubt in the integrity of the US presidential election.

Religious Violence

Fashion brands urged to ban Uighur-picked cotton (Brisbane Times)
Dec 16 – London: British high street brands are under pressure from human rights campaigners to ban cotton picked in the Chinese region that is home to its oppressed Uighur population.


I used to love Christingle – until I discovered what my church thought of trans people (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 17 – (Opinion: Fred McConnell) Growing up, my family was what I would now describe as culturally Church of England.


Victims of racist attacks fear reoccurrence as Australia launches inquiry into right-wing extremism (ABC News)
Dec 18 – Anam Javed was shopping for vegetables at her local supermarket when a man ripped her hijab off her head.


To pray or not to pray: Qld leaders reveal stance on prayers before Parliament (Brisbane Times)
Dec 14 – Should Queensland MPs be praying at the start of every day?


Conversion bill: churches fear state overreach on religion (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 15 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) Most Victorian churches are intensely concerned about legislation the state government is rushing through Parliament without consultation to ban so-called conversion therapy to change sexual orientation.

Also: Churches’ fears for conversion bill are unfounded (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 16 – (Opinion: Timothy Jones) The Victorian government’s bill to ban LGBTQ+ conversion practices has raised confusion and disquiet in some religious communities about potential threats to their religious freedoms.

Women speak out against controversial religious Sydney drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre  (ABC News)
Dec 16 – Five days into her stay at the Healing House, Rania Bazzi called her lawyer in hysterics.