It was a big week for voluntary assisted dying advocates across Australia and across the ditch. Plus, Satanists celebrated their religious freedom. Keep informed of secular issues making news in the past week with the latest Weekend Wrap.
Don’t forget that the Weekend Wrap, which aims to help secular-minded Australians keep abreast of the latest news on current issues, is also published on our Facebook page!
At the National Level
Australian Catholic leaders and pro-life campaigners have described the New Zealand vote in support of voluntary assisted dying as “terribly sad” and a “dark day” for the country’s history (Catholic Weekly).
The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has accused French president Emmanuel Macron of “dividing his own nation” and being responsible for the worsening security situation following a spate of extremist attacks.
National Secular Lobby ambassador Jane Caro told ABC radio Perth that “enough is enough” when it comes to the federal funding of religious chaplains in public schools, saying that Australians want to maintain schools as “secular spaces for our children” (ABC).
Around the Country
QLD: On Friday, Annastacia Palaszczuk rejected accusations that she was politicising the issue of voluntary assisted dying, saying it “is not for me to tell other people how they end their lives” (Sky News).
QLD: Catholic Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said that voluntary assisted dying, where an individual’s decision to favour “suicide” is supported by others, “amounts to a kind of poisoning of the wells in the entire society” (Catholic Leader).
QLD: Catholic Townsville Bishop Tim Harris has warned that many Indigenous Australians fear the impact of voluntary assisted dying laws on their community, believing it would weaken cultural ties and lead to them shying away from seeking medical help (Catholic Leader).
WA: Fifty terminally ill people are expected to end their lives in first year of the state’s voluntary assisted dying law: (The West Australian, paywalled).
QLD: Long-time Labor supporter Catholic Bishop James Foley said he doubted if he could vote for the party again because of the “increasing influence of the progressive and secular factions” in the party (Catholic Leader).
QLD: The Queensland Catholic Education Commission is worried that any reduction in recurrent funding for its schools from the next state government will force an increase in fees and put more pressure on families (Catholic Leader).
QLD: The Noosa Temple of Satan said comments by Martyn Iles that Satanists were “deliberately causing havoc” for religious freedom advocates were another example of the Australian Christian Lobby’s lack of interest in the religious freedoms of other groups.
QLD: The Australian Christian Lobby has praised Brisbane City Council for refusing to bow to calls to remove Christian prayers from the official proceedings of council meetings (ACL).
TAS: A newspaper promoting gay ‘conversion therapy’, with a story of a gay man and a lesbian who claim they are ‘cured’ of their same-sex attraction, is being delivered to residents of Hobart (Out in Perth).
VIC: The Andrews government lifted COVID-19 restrictions to allow churches to reopen, limiting the maximum number of people at faith gatherings to 10 indoors and 20 outdoors (Eternity News).
VIC: The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on faith groups but has argued that the government continues to treat Melbourne churches unfairly in comparison to restaurants (ACL).
SA: Attorney-General Vickie Chapman has called for calm over the abortion debate after Catholic leaders described the legislation to decriminalise abortion as allowing for abortion up until the time of birth and as being “of very little difference to infanticide” (CathNews).
SA: Two senior female Liberal MPs have hit back at a federal colleague who criticised their support for abortion law reform, arguing that Senator Alex Antic failed to understand the party’s history and accused him of "baselessly attacking Liberal Party women" (ABC).
SA: The Australian Christian Lobby has hit back at pro-abortion Labor MP Nat Cook, rejecting her claim that the abortion bill before state parliament was not about aborting full-term healthy babies (ACL).
QLD: Anti-marriage equality campaigner David van Gend has failed in his bid to enter federal parliament after Liberal National Party members in the seat of Groom chose another candidate for the upcoming by-election (Out in Perth).
NSW: The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has called for authorities to do more to protect places of worship after a man vandalised the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque.
NSW: Church leaders have written a letter calling on MPs to support the state government's plans for a state-issued gambling card as part of the most significant gaming reforms in the state's history (SMH).
Commentary and Analysis
Clinical psychologist Robyn Maggs writes that Tasmanian MPs have a chance to learn the mistakes of Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying law and craft legislation that is a “shining light” for the country (The Mercury).
Australian Catholic University researchers David Kirchhoffer and Chi‐Wai Lui outline their analysis of key themes in the public reasoning on voluntary assisted dying and urge lawmakers to be cautious when relying on public opinion surveys (ABC).
The Australian Christian Lobby’s Martyn Iles writes that legislating for voluntary assisted dying is a slippery slope and reverses a millennia of medical practice in throwing out the Hippocratic oath (ACL).
As efforts to decriminalise abortion in South Australia gather steam, so too is the misinformation campaign about terminations after the first trimester, writes Gina Rushton (The Guardian).
Academics Karen Martin, Emily Berger and Mandi Kasten-Lee write that “a distinct lack of evidence” remains as to whether the National School Chaplaincy Program is effectively supporting children and young people’s mental well-being (The Conversation).
Although Scott Morrison is the first Pentecostal Christian to lead a democratic country, Donald Trump’s presidency has been far more infused with Pentecostalism, writes academic David Smith (The Guardian).