Religion News Selection

January 3 – 10, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



AUSTRAC reviewing data on Vatican money transfers (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 8 – Rome: The Australian government’s financial intelligence agency is reviewing its data after questions were raised about its report that $US1.8 billion ($2.3 billion) were transferred from the Vatican to Australia over six years.


Australian Zara Kay, campaigner for ex-Muslim women, left ‘traumatised’ by arrest in Tanzania  (ABC News)
Jan 4 – Zara Kay has been left shaken and traumatised after she was arrested and charged in Tanzania allegedly for a satirical social media post, her friend has said.

Religious Violence

Young extremists will still seek Abu Bakar Bashir’s blessing (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 8 – (Opinion: Nava Nuraniyah and Jordan Newton) Today, Indonesian firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Bashir will walk free from prison. The 82-year-old, who earned infamy in Australia for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings, has served as a bellwether for the Indonesian extremist community: never far from centre frame of its terrifying successes or its abject failures.


Greek Orthodox church to defy lockdown by opening for Epiphany (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 4 – The Greek Orthodox church has announced it will defy government lockdown orders aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus and open places of worship to mark Epiphany this Wednesday.

Food for thought? French bean plants show signs of intent, say scientists (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 9 – Many botanists dispute idea of plant sentience, but study of climbing beans sows seed of doubt


Church, charity and ‘cult’ refuse to join national child sex abuse redress (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 4 – A former child migration society, a Christian denomination and a communications training group more often described as a “cult” have emerged as the only institutions that have elected not to join the National Redress Scheme for victims of child sexual abuse, despite having a combined 77 claims against them.

Hillsong founder Bobbie Houston’s sex life tips (
Jan 6 – The founder of one of Australia’s largest evangelical churches has urged wives to be better at sex so they can proudly say they “have a great marriage;” instructed them to not get “sloppy” with pelvic floor exercises or their orgasm will suffer, not to get so fat “you need a hydraulic crane to turn over in bed,” and to get their teeth done so their “mouth is desirable” to their husbands.