Religion News Selection

Nov 17 – 24, 2019

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘I deserve something’: Loophole leaves church victims in legal limbo (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 26 – A legal loophole means some abuse victims are being denied a “fair and equitable” financial compensation from churches for the harm that was done to them as children.


French cardinal doesn’t see error of not reporting abuse (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 29 – Lyon: A French cardinal says he does not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children, and is appealing the decision that will help determine his future within the Catholic Church.

Indian nuns risk isolation and expulsion from Catholic Church by speaking out about rape (ABC News)
Nov 30 – Sister Jesme was in her twenties and new to convent life when she found herself alone in a room with a priest.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis urges abolition of nuclear weapons during maiden visit to Japan (ABC News)
Nov 25 – Pope Francis has urged for the abolition of nuclear weapons, saying their mere possession is perverse and indefensible.

Religious Violence

‘What has happened to me’: manga depicting Uighur torture hits 2.5m views (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 26 – A manga depicting the plight of an Uighur woman who was detained and tortured in China has clocked up millions of views and spawned versions in several languages.

Convicted London Bridge attacker a ‘serious jihadist’  (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 30 – Usman Khan, who was jailed over a plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange, is the man police say carried out a deadly assault in London.

Also: London Bridge attacker’s lawyer thought his convicted terrorist client would not offend again (ABC News)
Dec 1 – The lawyer for the London Bridge attacker has told the ABC he was shocked when he heard Usman Khan was responsible for the deadly stabbing rampage, saying when he saw him last year he was convinced he was reformed.


Rick Perry says Trump is God’s ‘chosen one’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 26 – Washington: US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry believes that President Donald Trump was chosen by God to lead the country – and he handed the President a one-page description of morally flawed biblical kings as inspiration, he said.


Jail for men who planned Christmas Day bombing and beheadings (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 29 – Three men who bought machetes and built practice bombs ahead of a planned Christmas Day slaughter at Federation Square have been jailed for decades over the foiled plot.


‘You’re not broken’: Gay conversion therapy to be outlawed in Queensland (Brisbane Times)
Nov 28 – Gay conversion therapy could be outlawed in Queensland under law changes proposed by the Palaszczuk government.

Church groups threaten to withdraw support for religious discrimination bill (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 30 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suffered another blow to his policy agenda, with powerful religious leaders threatening to withdraw support for the government’s religious discrimination bill unless greater freedoms are granted for Australians of faith.

Also: Religious discrimination bill gets delayed as PM Scott Morrison announces new draft (ABC News)
Nov 30 – Legislation aimed at preventing religious discrimination will not be introduced to Federal Parliament this year as planned, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

Also: ‘This bill is friendless’: Chris Bowen signals Labor could vote against religious freedom bill (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 30 – Chris Bowen has signalled Labor could vote against the Morrison government’s religious discrimination legislation, characterising the bill as “friendless” – setting up a potential showdown in the final parliamentary sitting week for 2019, if the Morrison government brings the proposal on.

Cult that defines Trump’s power is just a few scratches away from the surface in Australia (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 1 – (Opinion: Greg Jericho) This week Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and Donald Trump’s energy secretary, told Fox News that he believed Trump was “the chosen one” – chosen by God to lead the United States.


Australian Timothy Weeks lands in Australia after three years in Taliban captivity (ABC News)
Nov 29 – An Australian teacher who spent more than three years being held hostage by the Taliban has arrived home.

Margaret Court to be special guest at 2020 Australian Open despite her views on same-sex marriage (ABC News)
Nov 30 – Margaret Court will be a “special guest” at next year’s Australian Open, which will feature a celebration of her completing a Grand Slam 50 years ago.

Also: Tennis Australia rebukes Margaret Court for views which have ‘demeaned and hurt many’ (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 30 – Tennis Australia will host Margaret Court at the 2020 Australian Open to mark the 50th anniversary of her grand slam triumph, but it also issued a fresh rebuke of the former champion’s widely-criticised opposition to homosexuality and gay marriage.

Also: Margaret Court debate gets heated on live TV (
Dec 1 – Things turned spicy on Channel 9 this morning during a heated debate about Australian tennis legend Margaret Court.

Israel Folau addresses controversial comments about gay marriage and bushfires (
Nov 30 – Former Wallabies star Israel Folau has moved to clarify comments he made earlier this month suggesting the devastating bushfires that ravaged parts of Australia were God’s way of punishing the country for legalising same-sex marriage.