Religion News Selection

January 17 – 24, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Sex abuse victim speaks out after Perth Catholic church consents to pay $2.45m Also: compensation (ABC News)
Jan 24 – A victim who will be awarded $2.45 million in compensation for sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest has spoken out about the “severe” impact the abuse continues to have on his life.


Catholic schools given free rein to spend $230m taxpayer ‘slush fund’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 24 – The state’s Catholic school system will have wide discretion over how it spends more than $200 million from a taxpayer “slush fund” after striking a deal with the Commonwealth Government, bolstering fears it could be used to subsidise the fees of already affluent parents at wealthier schools.

Catholic Church

Vatican’s top banker jailed for 9 years (The Australian)
Jan 22 – The former head of the Vatican’s bank now the most senior official to be convicted for financial crimes in the city-state.


French Muslim leaders approve charter outlining ‘enlightened Islam’ (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 19 – Paris: President Emmanuel Macron has hailed as a major step for “enlightened Islam” in France a charter approved by Muslim leaders that rejects extremism and upholds “Republican principles over religious values”.


Patricia Highsmith: the ‘Jew-hater’ who took Jewish women as lovers (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 18 – She espoused vile antisemitic views, telling people she was a “Jew hater” and calling the deaths of six million Jews “the semicaust” because she was disappointed more had not been murdered in the camps.


Sri Lankan holy man’s ‘miracle’ potion for Covid turns sour (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 20 – A self-styled Sri Lankan holy man’s supposed miracle potion to prevent Covid-19 has turned sour after a minister who publicly drank it was taken to hospital with the virus.

As the Biden era begins, QAnon believers grapple with doubt and spin new theories (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 22 – Washington: Followers of the extremist ideology QAnon saw their hopes once again dashed as President Donald Trump left Washington on the final day of his presidency, without any of the climactic scenes of violence and salvation that the sprawling set of conspiracy theories had preached for years would come.

Also: QAnon’s ‘Great Awakening’ failed to materialize. What’s next could be worse (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 22 – Believers who were stymied by Trump’s exit could turn to white nationalism and other extremist beliefs, experts say.

Also: Will deplatforming make QAnon and the far-right fade away or radicalise further? (ABC News)
Jan 22 – As President Joe Biden was sworn in this week, QAnon forums descended into despair, confusion and wounded anger.

‘I only know one god – and that’s me’: non-believers on the meaning of life (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 22 – Religion may once have been the opium of the people, but in large swaths of the world the masses have kicked the habit.


Uyghur Muslims call on Australia to join United States in accusing China of genocide in Xinjiang (ABC News)
Jan 20 – Uyghurs in Australia have said they are elated and relieved after the United States released an official statement accusing China of committing genocide against the Muslim group and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.


‘Nothing to do with tennis’: Margaret Court’s Australia Day honour criticised (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 22 – The decision to recognise all-time tennis great Margaret Court – who has been a controversial figure in recent years because of her religious views – in the Australia Day honours list has been criticised as being “nothing to do with tennis”.

Also: Why Court really does deserve to be honoured (The Australian)
Jan 22 – (Opinion: Wally Mason) Margaret Court’s views aren’t shared by many of us, but, purely as a tennis player, she is among the most deserving recipients ever of Australia’s highest honour.

Also: Why I handed back my Order of Australia, and why Margaret Court should be stripped of hers (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 24 – (Opinion: Clara Tuck Meng Soo) I was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2016 for services to the Canberra community as a medical practitioner.

Also: In honouring those who are prejudiced, the Australia Day awards perpetuate bigotry (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 24 – (Opinion: Ghassan Hage) The leaking of the news that Margaret Court is receiving a Companion of the Order of Australia has generated the controversy the leak aimed to provoke.