Weekend Wrap for 14 March 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

Leaders from many Christian denominations, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism, took part in an estimated 120 actions across Australia on 11 March as part of a global call for stronger climate action. (SBS News)

LGBTIQ+ advocacy group just.equal say they are deeply disappointed by the 'weak and diminished commitments to LGBTIQ+ equality and inclusion' evidenced in the latest draft of Labor's national policy platform. (Out in Perth)

Queensland National Party MP George Christensen says that Christians should join political parties to control the balance of power. (Out in Perth)

Charities such as The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society, as well as the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Anglicare Australia and the Council on the Ageing Australia have called for increased JobKeeper support for charity organisations. (SMH)

Following a stormy response to the inclusion in a Labor draft policy platform of a resolution calling on the next Labor government to recognise Palestine as a state, shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong has assured that “Labor has always been and remains a strong friend and supporter of the State of Israel." (Australian Jewish News)

Around the Country

NSW: The NSW Catholic school sector will lead its own review of how it delivers sex and consent education in a religious context after an online petition last month exposed thousands of sexual assault allegations among school-aged children. (The Age)

NSW: More than 100 academics have signed an open letter saying One Nation's proposed ban on teaching gender fluidity in NSW schools would force Shakespearean plays and classic Australian novels to be cut from the curriculum. (The Age)

WA: Premier Mark McGowan confirmed this week that his government would ban gay conversion practices if re-elected, making it clear that the "cruel and misinformed practice" had no place in the state. (WA Today)

QLD: State Health Minister Yvette D’Ath revealed this week that the number of abortions performed in the state has not increased since pregnancy terminations were decriminalised two years ago. (SMH)

WA: A state Liberal spokesperson has ridiculed claims that the party has been infiltrated by Christians after The Australian ran an article highlighting the significant number of candidates in the recent state election who previously stood for religious based parties. (Out in Perth)

VIC: The Islamic Council of Victoria today celebrated their fifth annual mosque open day, which aims to educate people in order to "break down myths and negative publicity" about the Muslim community. (The Age)

VIC: The parents of a Victorian man who died of a drug overdose have decried the lack of government-funded rehab clinics, saying their only option was a facility with ties to the Church of Scientology which mandated a purely abstinence-based treatment. (SMH)

VIC: Following a proposed ban on the Nazi flag, concerns have been raised on how this will affect other uses of the swastika symbol, such as its use as a symbol of good health and wellbeing in Hindu religious practices. (The Age)

Commentary and Analysis

Kaye Lee writes about statements made at the recent Church and State conference hosted by 'non-denominational, nonpartisan' Christian Right activist group Kingdom Come, which exhorted participants to join the Coalition parties in order to be influential in "the ongoing formation of our society’s culture, institutions & legislative bodies." (AIMN)

The NSL's Brian Morris writes on political and religious power in Australia, and how this will be the affected by the upcoming Religious Discrimination Bill. (AIMN)

Eternity News' John Sandeman refers to the 'violence and revolution' comments made by Martyn Iles and Dave Pellowe at the recent Church and State conference as "silly and possibly callous banter" and warns that in an unchecked culture war, some people could take things too far. (Eternity News)

A Christian satire website, Damascus Dropbear, has been given charity status by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) following a months-long legal battle over whether the work of the charity could be considered as 'advancing the Christian faith'. (Eternity News)

That's it for another week!

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