Religion News Selection

May 16 – 23, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



What Hamilton the musical says about race, religion and America’s ‘unfinished revolution’ (ABC News)
May 21 – The United States of America circa 2021 may seem like a far cry from the lofty ideals sung about in the hit musical Hamilton.


Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic was Pope’s assistant (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 19 – “You would have to be a troglodyte not to like him,” the American journalist Tim Unsworth wrote in the radical National Catholic Reporter after interviewing Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, Cardinal Idris Edward Cassidy, known to many of his friends as Bill and more familiarly to fellow clerics as Hopalong.


There’s a safe way to let schoolboys carry religious daggers (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 20 – (Opinion: Simon Longstaff) Just as a revolver without bullets is largely harmless, so a knife locked within its scabbard is hardly a weapon.


‘A ticking time bomb’: Timor-Leste begins to reckon with alleged Catholic church sex abuse (The Guardian, Australia)
May 23 – Lita grew up in a poor family in a hamlet surrounded by the spectacular mountains of Oecusse in Timor-Leste.


Jewish Americans are at a turning point with Israel (The Guardian, Australia)
May 23 – On Nakba Day, 15 May, amid the outbreak of war in Israel/Palestine, I attended a rally in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, to commemorate the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians from the new Israeli state in 1948, and to protest against the oppression of the Palestinian people in the land between the river and the sea.

Religious Violence

I don’t think Gaza can rise from the ashes this time (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 21 – (Opinion: Asmaa Abu Mezied) I sit here in my room in Gaza writing this in an attempt to divert my attention from the distant sound of Israeli artillery shelling which has been constantly bombarding me, my family and two million Palestinians trapped here for more than a week.

Also: We lived amid rockets raining down on Israel: this conflict is complicated (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 21 – (Opinion: Rachel Lord) The flare-up of hostilities between Israel and Palestine has given rise to a response I struggled with during the last Gaza war of 2014 – that the asymmetry of capability equates to an asymmetry of suffering.

Also: Palestinian-Israelis and Jewish rioters brought violence to Israeli streets. Will the ceasefire calm them too?  (ABC News)
May 23 – It seemed to happen in a fraction of a second — the crash of glass, and the child in front of him suddenly alight, the flames illuminating the cramped living area.

Also: We don’t recognise our own city: Israeli barrage redraws the map of Gaza (The Guardian, Australia)
May 23 – (Opinion: Oliver Holmes and Hazem Balousha ) As they emerge from hiding, people living in Gaza City have had to adapt their memories.


Victorian Nationals Leader to oppose City Builders Church members’ gay conversion motion (ABC News)
May 21 – The leader of the Victorian Nationals says he is aware that members of a Victorian church group within his party are in favour of gay conversion therapy.


Sikh community angry as religious knives banned from NSW schools after stabbing (ABC News)
May 18 – Students in NSW will be banned from bringing knives to schools on religious grounds after a teenager was stabbed in Sydney’s north-west.

Also: ‘Ignorance and xenophobia’: NSW school dagger ban sparks international furore (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 21 – NSW’s ban on Sikh students taking their ceremonial dagger into public schools has sparked an international furore and the Sikh parliament is calling on India’s external affairs minister and high commissioner to intervene.

Australian scientist and vaccine advocate and her wild childhood in the Orange People cult (ABC News)
May 23 – Few scientists can say they grew up in a notorious sect or spiritual movement.

QRL wants guarantee Folau won’t air his religious views (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 23 – The Queensland Rugby League will seek a written assurance that Israel Folau won’t publicly express his divisive religious views when it considers his registration request.

Also: Palmer gives QRL Wednesday deadline to register Folau or face legal action (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 23 – Clive Palmer claims Israel Folau will issue a Federal Court injunction against the Queensland Rugby League on religious discrimination grounds if he isn’t registered to return to the game by Wednesday.