Weekend Wrap for 11 April 2021

Welcome to another NSL Weekend Wrap, summarising the latest Australian secular-related news and views.

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

Rights advocates say Labor’s national conference has improved its LGBTIQ platform but failed to include key reforms, relegating them to the status of resolutions. The draft national platform submitted to Labor’s national conference at the end of March erased many of the LGBTIQ commitments from previous platforms. (Out in Perth)

Healing Spiritual Harms, a new report from La Trobe University, Macquarie University, Brave Network and the Australian LGBTIQ+ Multicultural Council, has found the harm caused by religion-based LGBTQA change and suppression practices is more severe than previously thought, leaving survivors with complex PTSD. (The Guardian)

Australia’s charity regulator has been called on to investigate Scientology amid concerns it is abusing its not-for-profit status. An investigation by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald found the Church of Scientology had shifted tens of millions of dollars into Australia from offshore and is making significant tax-free profits. (SMH)

Labor charities spokesman Andrew Leigh has flagged a parliamentary inquiry into Scientology, expressing concerns about its “unprecedented” wealth and shifting of assets into Australia. (SMH)

A key figure in the creation of Australia’s charities regulator says the benefit of a parliamentary inquiry into Scientology’s significant wealth in Australia would be public transparency. (SMH)

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia has announced a panel of federal politicians who will be exploring Australian LGBTIQ+ health policy at the upcoming Health In Difference and LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care conferences. The panel will include WA’s Senator Louise Pratt (ALP), Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson Senator Janet Rice, and New South Wales’ Senator Andrew Bragg (Liberal), and be hosted by journalist and broadcaster Fran Kelly. (Out in Perth)

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys says the Australian Christian Lobby is wasting its time by trying to pressure the NRL into green-lighting Israel Folau’s return, and should instead focus on combating poverty and inequality. The ACL this week launched a campaign in support of Folau’s return to the NRL. (SMH)

In an appearance with ACL head Martyn Iles on ABC's Q&A this week, Federal Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman said, “I have no intention of repenting being gay,” after Iles defended his organisation's advertising campaign calling for Israel Folau to be reinstated, and their many campaigns against LGBTIQ+ people. (Out in Perth)

Around the Country

NSW: A Baptist college has sacked a gay educator after years of loyal and highly regarded employment, seemingly as a result of an email sent from a member of the public. The letter apparently stated that the adjunct lecturer was a 'lesbian' who needed to be 'denounced immediately', and that the college needed to 'distance itself from her demonic actions'. The school has denied sacking the educator despite communication to students stating that the decision was "made by the Principal". (ABC)

NSW: In a first for Australia, Reverend Josephine 'Jo' Inkpin has become the first openly transgender minister to be inducted into a mainstream church, appointed to lead the congregation at Sydney’s Pitt Street Uniting Church. (Star Observer)

VIC: Under Victoria's VAD program, two doctors need to independently verify the patient's qualifications. But as other states bring in VAD programs of their own, the Telehealth ban represents a major hurdle for regional Australians trying to access euthanasia. (ABC)

NSW: Mark Latham’s push to amend NSW’s Religious Freedom laws have been endorsed by a parliamentary committee, with the committee chair, Gabrielle Upton urging that the recommendations should be adopted and laws introduced by the end of the year. (Star Observer)

NSW: Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has criticised the final report from the Joint Select Committee on the One Nation Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020, saying that "the report’s findings fail to reflect the considerable evidence provided at the Committee’s hearings." (ALHR)

NSW: Another look at Latham's bill from the progressive Eastern suburbs of Sydney, and debate on whether the law is indeed a 'sword' or a 'shield'. (City Hub)

Commentary and Analysis

Timothy W. Jones, Jennifer Power and Tiffany Jones write about their new research that reveals the harms of religion-based LGBTQA+ conversion practices are more severe than previously thought. People who have been harmed by attempts to change or suppress their sexuality or gender identity are often left with chronic, complex trauma and face a long journey of recovery. (The Conversation)

Paul Gregoire interviews Greens MP Jenny Leong on how it came to be that "NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham’s Religious Freedoms and Equality Bill 2020 went through the parliamentary review process and came out the other side being endorsed by the majority of committee members." (Sydney Criminal Lawyers)

Naomi Neilson writes that human rights lawyers are “shocked” at reports that a pro-religious freedoms group formed by an MP blocked certain stakeholders from giving evidence on the Latham religious freedoms bill if their opinions differed, leading to “considerable evidence” being excluded from the final report. (Lawyers Weekly)

The Rationalist Society of Australia writes that the fallout from the controversial Church & State conference appears to have widened a schism between conservative and moderate forces in the Christian community, with one church leader warning of a Dominionist movement seeking to impose itself on society and government. (RSA)

"Proposed religious discrimination laws are the Christian Right’s response to the legalisation of marriage equality. The PM has been spearheading this backlash. And while its framed around protecting those of faith, it actually empowers the religious to discriminate against others," writes Paul Gregoire in a piece on the Coalition's "persistent culture wars". (Sydney Criminal Lawyers)

Stu Cameron, Superintendent Minister/CEO of Wesley Mission, writes that getting Israel Folau back into football is not what groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby should be focusing on. (Eternity News)

In his "Proposal for a constitutional republic", Kaijin Solo lists "the separation of religion and secular nation-state" as one of the requirements for achieving this goal. (Independent Australia)

Gerard Henderson, executive director of the Sydney Institute, hits back at what he calls "sneering secularist Tuesday," in particular at Tory Shepherd for her "What Pell’s Easter homily gets wrong about the holiday" article last week. (The Australian)

That's it for another week!

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