Weekend Wrap for 12 July 2020

The Australian Christian Lobby hits back at Tasmanian Independent Mike Gaffney for comments made in an interview with the National Secular Lobby. That story and more in the latest edition of the 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

Women could soon face rising costs in accessing medical abortion if telehealth measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic are done away with, abortion provider Marie Stopes Australia has warned (Yahoo).

Labor candidate Kristy McBain has claimed victory in the Eden-Monaro by-election over a Liberal Party opponent who was an advocate against same-sex marriage and for expanded exemptions for religious organisations to discriminate based on their religious beliefs (Star Observer).

The Australian Christian Lobby-affiliated Human Rights Law Alliance has compiled a social media guide for Christians to protect themselves from the “dangers” of expressing their beliefs on social media (Eternity News).

Around the Country

TAS: The Australian Christian Lobby has accused Independent politician Mike Gaffney of wanting to “exclude” people of faith “from democracy” following remarks he made in an interview with the National Secular Lobby (ACL).

QLD: A number of current and former LNP members have revealed that growing discord within the party is partly being driven by an influx of conservative grassroots members dubbed the “Christian soldiers” (The Guardian).

SA: The Australian Christian Lobby has written to members of parliament ahead of a vote on abortion laws to urge them to push for amendments that would allow for pro-life groups to continue operating within exclusion zones around abortion clinics (ACL).

VIC: Catholic Archbishop Peter Comensoli has directed churches to close and has suspended the public celebration of Mass following the latest outbreaks of COVID-19 in the state (Catholic Leader).

WA: As part of a campaign against legislation to expand mandatory reporting laws to cover religious ministries, a group of survivors of sexual abuse have released a series of short videos in defence of the seal of confession as a vital lifeline and something that can aid people in recovering from abuse (Catholic Leader).

VIC: Clergy abuse survivors have described the cutting down of their ribbons from a Geelong church as a “kick in the guts” in the latest episode of an ongoing battle between Loud Fence activists and opponents (Geelong Advertiser, paywalled).

ACT: A group of religious schools have accused Chief Minister Andrew Barr of using COVID-19 health regulations as a cover for rushing through a ban on ‘gay conversion therapy’ in the ACT, with a cross-section of stakeholders angry to have been given 18 working days to submit feedback (The Riot ACT).

NSW: Wentworth MP Dave Sharma has announced new federal funding to upgrade the security at a number of Jewish organisations in his electorate due to “rising intolerance and antisemitism around the world” (Australian Jewish Network).

Commentary and Analysis

Pro-life religious voters, not happy with abortion law reforms and the possibility of voluntary assisted dying, may stand in the way of victory for the Palaszczuk government at the upcoming state election (Whitsunday Times, paywalled).

With the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill set to hinder women’s access to contraception even further, Ella Bazzani-Hockley writes that Australians can’t afford to be complacent in the political debate over 'religious freedom' (Fashion Journal).

Abuse victim Duncan Storrar writes that the National Redress Scheme, for all its good intentions, doesn't come close to repairing the damage done to victims of abuse (Independent Australia).

Continuing to ignore the importance of the humanities in our universities, including the teaching of theology, will be to the peril of Australia’s tertiary education system and society, writes Dr Luciano Boschiero (Catholic Weekly).

Garry Everett, who was in the writing team for a Discernment Paper for the National Plenary Council of the Catholic Church, provides a dissenting opinion on the proposals for reform of the institution (John Menadue blog).

In adding her voice in support of voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania, Jane Burnett shares her mother’s story of battling with Alzheimer’s disease (The Mercury).

Barney Zwartz, from the Centre for Public Christianity, argues that faith is an inescapable part of rational everyday life, even for atheists (The Age).

Bemoaning the loss of the word ‘gay’ and ‘rainbow’, the Australian Catholic University’s Kevin Donnelly argues that governments and universities have become champions of the cultural Left’s effort to control language (Catholic Weekly).

That's it for another week!

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