Religion News Selection

November 14 – 21, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Faith leaders hit out at Andrews government bill on religious schools (Brisbane Times)
Nov 16 – Victoria’s religious leaders have condemned moves by the Andrews government to prohibit faith-based schools from sacking or refusing to hire teachers or enrol students based on their gender identity or sexuality.


Indonesian Muslim cryptocurrency enthusiasts find a way around Islamic fatwa (ABC News)
Nov 21 – Trading of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has been declared forbidden for Muslims by the national council of Islamic scholars in Indonesia, as the popularity of digital currencies grows in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Religious Violence

In Afghanistan, women’s rights activists feared for their lives, now they are disappearing (ABC News)
Nov 21 – In September, Forouzan Safi joined other activists to protest against the Taliban tearing down the rights of women in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan once more a terrorism threat (The Saturday Paper)
Nov 21 – Australia’s top military chief and key diplomats have conceded Afghanistan is again at serious risk of becoming a launching pad for international terrorism, a development that would obliterate the key declared achievement of the 20-year war.


Japanese experts craft ‘super clone’ of Afghan mural from Bamiyan valley destroyed by the Taliban (ABC News)
Nov 18 – Japanese researchers have crafted a “super clone” of an Afghan mural destroyed by the Taliban, using a mix of traditional and digital techniques that they hope will salvage the work’s “spirit” for future generations.

Ethiopian artefacts stolen by British soldiers returned after 150 years (ABC News)
Nov 21 – Ethiopia has hailed the return of precious artefacts looted by British soldiers more than 150 years ago, after a long campaign for their restitution.


Faith, hope and barbarity: Ignoring the truth on assisted dying (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 15 – (Opinion: Andrew Denton) NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has been rightly praised for his leadership in allowing debate on an assisted dying bill he so strongly opposes.

Jewish leaders condemn ‘shocking’ Nazi references in debate on Victoria’s pandemic bill (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 17 – Jewish leaders have strongly condemned repeated references to Nazi Germany amid heated debate over Victoria’s contentious pandemic laws.

Schools can hire teachers on basis of faith under religious discrimination bill, Alan Tudge says (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 17 – The education minister, Alan Tudge, says the federal government’s revised religious discrimination bill will allow schools to hire on the basis of faith, but they will not be able to discriminate on other characteristics, such as sexuality.

Religious Discrimination Bill still discriminates against many, despite removal of Folau clause (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 18 – (Opinion: Alastair Lawrie) On Monday, while LGBTQI+ Australians, their families and friends commemorated the fourth anniversary of the majority Yes vote in the marriage equality postal survey, a group of government MPs met to discuss the latest version of the Religious Discrimination Bill, legislation that would roll back the rights of LGBTQI+ Australians.

Assisted dying bill expected to pass, Matt Kean to support despite Christian faith (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 19 – Sydney MP Alex Greenwich says his voluntary assisted dying bill has the support to pass the lower house as Treasurer Matt Kean commits to voting for it despite his strong Catholic faith.

Morrison’s secretive religious ‘freedom’ bill: it’s certainly free of information (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 19 – (Opinion: David Crowe) There may not be much to talk about when some of Scott Morrison’s loyal MPs gather on Monday for the usual meeting of the backbench legal affairs committee, the Coalition group that is meant to consider one of the most divisive issues in Parliament.

Why the PM is giving religious freedom laws priority over an integrity commission (Brisbane Times)
Nov 19 – (Opinion: Michelle Grattan) Since he returned from overseas, Scott Morrison has been where he’s most comfortable – on the campaign trail, in high-vis gear where possible.

Knives are out for unremarkable Religious Discrimination Bill (Brisbane Times)
Nov 19 – (Opinion: John Steenhof) Next week, the federal government is expected to introduce a long-awaited religious discrimination bill that will make it unlawful to discriminate against religious Australians.

The church has always been in the business of shame – now it wants a law to protect its nastiness (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 19 – (Opinion: David Marr) This religious discrimination bill is designed to let the churches be nasty: nasty to children, to employees of the faiths and nasty in the pulpit

Religious discrimination bill will override states’ equality protections, education union warns (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 19 – The Coalition’s religious discrimination bill could strip states of the power to regulate religious institutions’ hiring practices, equality advocates and the Independent Education Union have warned.

Darlings of the ‘freedom movement’ must denounce the anti-Semites in their wings (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 21 – (Opinion: Oscar Kaspi-Crutchett) Just last month, Clive Palmers’s United Australia Party announced an official affiliation with Australia’s largest anti-lockdown group: Reignite Democracy Australia.


Live-streamed rituals and QR codes: How pagans worship during a pandemic (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 21 – Everyone knows hairdressers and gyms have been doing it tough but what about pagan worshippers?