Religion News Selection

August 1 – 8, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Hillsong pastor Brian Houston charged for allegedly concealing child sexual abuse by his father (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 5 – Brian Houston, founder of evangelical megachurch Hillsong, says he will return to Australia and fight to clear his name after being charged for allegedly concealing child sexual abuse by his late father Frank Houston.

Also: ‘God is in control’: Hillsong comforts the flock after founder charged by police (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 6 – The board of megachurch Hillsong has written to followers after founder Brian Houston was charged by police, offering comfort and criticising media reporting of the pastor’s handling of his late father’s sexual abuse of children

Religious Violence

The last clinic (ABC News)
Aug 5 – There were once 30 clinics performing abortions in Missouri.

Taliban’s hold on Afghanistan tightens as foreign troops withdraw (ABC News)
Aug 8 – The Taliban has taken control of two more regional cities in Afghanistan, according to local officials.


What if humans just can’t get along anymore? (
Aug 5 – (Opinion: Farhad Manjoo) At the broadest level, human history is a story about cooperation.

Even a priest in Brazil is not spared rage of Bolsonaro supporters (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 5 – The toxic politics bedevilling Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil swept into Father Lino Allegri’s sacristy one Sunday in July, just after the octogenarian priest delivered a homily lamenting the president’s role in the Covid catastrophe that has killed more than half a million Brazilians.


NAB launches Sharia loan product into Australian Islamic finance market tipped to be worth $250b (ABC News)
Aug 5 – Australia’s finance sector is tapping into the Islamic market, with one of the country’s biggest lenders today launching a Sharia-compliant loan and smaller institutions vying to become the first bank for the nation’s Muslim population.


Six in 10 members of Qld’s Jewish community targeted by anti-Semitism (Brisbane Times)
Aug 8 – Displaying the Nazi flag must be outlawed and decades-old laws updated amid a surge in anti-Semitic behaviour in Queensland, a peak Jewish group has argued.


Has Australia lost its religion, or merely its affection for institutions? (Brisbane Times)
Aug 5 – (Opinion: Mark Stephens) This is the year Australia stops being a Christian nation.

Lapsed Catholics need to reflect their beliefs in the census (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 5 – (Opinion: Monica Dux) I have a family friend who boarded at a Catholic school, back in the 1940s.

Why does the militant left hate religion? (The Australian)
Aug 7 – (Opinion: Gerard Henderson ) The census has been weaponised by born-again atheists on a crusade to convert the faithful.

Christians must stand up and be counted (The Australian)
Aug 8 – (Opinion: Anthony Fisher ) The campaign to get many Christians to tick ‘no religion’ on census night because they aren’t in church every week misunderstands faith.