Religion News Selection

May 2 – 9, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Anglicans elect migrant, former-Buddhist, person of colour as Archbishop of Sydney (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 9 – The Anglican diocese of Sydney has elected its first person of colour Archbishop, Kanishka Raffel, at a time of significant division in the broader church over the blessing of same-sex couples.


‘Parents are the primary educators’: Catholics backflip on Latham’s anti-trans bill (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 9 – The Parramatta diocese of the Catholic church has yielded to a backlash from parents and priests over its opposition to a bill that would ban the discussion of gender diversity in schools.

Catholic Church

Pope adds voice to call for pharma giants to waive vaccine patents (The Guardian, Australia)
May 9 – In a video message to the Vax Live event, Francis backed “universal access to the vaccine and the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights”. And he added his condemnation of the “virus of individualism” that “makes us indifferent to the suffering of others”.


Young, Muslim and progressive: is another AOC-style upset brewing in New York? (The Guardian, Australia)
May 1 – Rana Abdelhamid, the daughter of Egyptian immigrants, is seeking to oust a veteran congresswoman in a Democratic primary

Religious Violence

Sorcery-related violence should be thought of as profoundly modern (The Guardian, Australia)
May 1 – (Opinion: Miranda Forsyth) The attacks in Papua New Guinea may look like a barbaric relic from the past but have to do with poverty, inequality and the normalisation of violence


Cult or church? This Korean sect has thousands of devotees, but ex-believers lost faith and money (ABC News)
May 1 – At 24, Kim Eun-kang was pursuing her dream of becoming a traditional Korean music singer. But she gave it all up to compete for a chance at immortality.

Josh Duggar, from television reality show, faces child sex abuse material charges (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 9 – Joshua James Duggar — the 33-year-old former star of the popular reality TV show 19 Kids and Counting — has appeared in court to face criminal charges that he received and possessed materials that depicted the sexual abuse of children.

Ethiopian patriarch pleads for international help to stop rape and genocide by government troops (The Guardian, Australia)
May 9 – Ethiopian government forces and their allies are committing genocide in the country’s war-torn northern province of Tigray, the head of Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church has claimed in a videoed statement demanding urgent international intervention.


‘Why do you wear the hijab?’: Questions I get asked as a Muslim woman (ABC News)
May 4 – Being a Muslim woman in Australia can come with assumptions and stereotypes.

Ramadan in a post-COVID world challenges women’s access to mosques (ABC News)
May 5 – On a Saturday evening during Ramadan at Punchbowl Mosque dozens of women huddle under a marque, preparing food in a chaotic dance.


Faithful Morrison says one thing but does another (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 6 – (Opinion: John Hewson) It is important our politicians have and operate with principles, values and beliefs, but consistency of words and deeds is fundamental if they are to be believed and trusted.

Also: Revealing and uneasy peek at Morrison’s altar ego (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 6 – (Opinion: Julie Szego) Have we ever seen the Prime Minister as comfortable in his own skin as when he took the stage at the Australian Christian Churches’ Gold Coast conference?

Also: Ashes to ashes: Pentecostalism, the PM and the climate crisis (The Guardian, Australia)
May 9 – (Opinion: Graham Readfearn) “We are called, all of us, for a time and for a season and God would have us use it wisely.”

Also: Scott Morrison and Pentecostalism (The Saturday Paper)
May 9 – (Opinion: James Boyce) “Commentators who have discounted the political significance of Morrison’s faith, because of his ambivalent commitment to narrowly defined ‘religious issues’, have been shown that the man himself does not do the same.


Traditional owners to close Kakadu site over ‘lack of respect’ for sacred areas by Parks Australia (ABC News)
May 4 – The Kadadu National Park area of Gunlom will be closed to the public just as the peak tourism season kicks off after traditional owners agreed that Parks Australia had “a lack of respect” for their sacred sites.

Rio Tinto hit by huge protest vote on executive pay over Juukan destruction (ABC News)
May 7 – Rio Tinto investors have given the miner a slap in the face at the company’s annual general meeting in Perth by voting against big bonuses for top executives to protest the destruction of sacred Aboriginal caves at the Juukan Gorge.