Religion News Selection

Dec 22 – 28, 2019

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)




Albury Anglican priest suggests Church may need to divorce as he pushes for LGBTQI+ equality (ABC News)
Dec 23 – A regional priest has questioned whether it Is time for the Anglican Church to split, as the debate on the Religious Freedom Bill leaves some of his parishioners feeling anxious over the Christmas period.


Identity politics ‘narcissistic’: Archbishop (The Australian)
Dec 25 – Anthony Fisher told the congregation of St Mary’s Cathedral that safe spaces and trigger warnings were “coddling our fragile egos”.

Anglican Church

Brexit discourse contributed to death of Jo Cox, says bishop (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 25 – The Church of England’s first black female bishop has said the debate around Brexit damaged society and contributed to the death of the MP Jo Cox.

Catholic Church

Church seeks a new wave: Pope (The Australian)
Dec 23 – Pope Francis says the Catholic Church must adopt new approaches to evangelisation in a post-Christian West.


Why Christianity has been struggling with sex ever since the Nativity (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 25 – (Opinion: Diarmaid MacCulloch) At Christmastide you can’t escape from the fact that Christianity centres on the birth of a child, and glories in it.

The Guardian view on the rise of Christian-nativist populists: a troubling sign of things to come (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 26 – (Opinion: Editorial) “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” These words, written by Saint Paul 2,000 years ago, are central to the Christian faith.


Barnaby Joyce suggests God is the solution to climate change in Christmas video (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 25 – Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon says Barnaby Joyce’s Christmas video – in which he urges Australians to respect God’s plan for climate change – shows Mr Joyce is feeling “contrite” about years of government inaction.

Merry Christmas, ‘not happy holidays’: how our leaders spent Christmas (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 26 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison enjoyed a quiet Christmas Day with family, which he began by attending his Pentecostal church in southern Sydney.

New religion bill deeply flawed: Law Council (The Australian)
Dec 26 – The nation’s peak legal body has condemned the government’s revised religious discrimination bill, declaring it ‘a deeply flawed piece of legislation’.

Examining the second draft of religion bill (The Saturday Paper)
Dec 28 – (Opinion: Kieran Pender) The second draft of the government’s religious discrimination bill, released last week, was intended to appease critics of the contentious legislation.

Christmas ham ban opens discrimination can of worms (
Dec 24 – (Opinion: Matt Holden) If the middle of a bushfire emergency isn’t the time to talk about global heating and climate disruption, perhaps Christmas isn’t the moment to bring up the federal government’s proposed religious discrimination laws – especially as a Melbourne newspaper reports that a Muslim Uber driver refused to give a war veteran and his wife a ride home from the local RSL because they were carrying a Christmas ham.


Church leaders use Christmas message to call for climate action (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 24 – Church leaders are using their annual Christmas messages and sermons to intensify pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take greater action on climate change, backing striking school students and fire-affected citizens in calling for increased efforts to tackle global warming.

If women wrote the Christmas story: Three wise females and a not-so-silent night? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 24 – (Opinion: Julia Baird) What would the Christmas story be like if only women had ever told it?

Climate change is putting us off having babies, but Christmas is a reminder of hope in birth (ABC News)
Dec 25 – (Opinion: Justine Toh) Christmas is often scorching in Australia, but summer has never left such an acrid sting of smoke in my throat.

There’s nothing new about virgin births (just ask Plato) (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 26 – Thoughts turned to a famous baby on Wednesday.

‘Act of God’: How did He make it into millions of contracts? (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 26 – (Opinion: David Lazarus) Los Angeles: Lee Brubaker believes in a higher power.

Gay, Christian and a former preacher, I’m coming out to help anyone hurt by Folau (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 28 – (Opinion: Andre Afamasaga) Being a gay Christian of a Pacific Island ethnicity was never easy.