Catch up on the news and views from the past week on issues of concern to secular-minded people across the country!

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

Large faith-based nursing home providers are claiming financial hardship to get millions of dollars in extra government funding even though they are generating large cash surpluses (SMH).

Former New South Wales education minister Adrian Piccoli is calling on governments to “bite the bullet” and fully fund private primary schools because public funding of non-government schools has already reached such a high point (SMH).

A Muslim group and banking veterans are developing plans to open Australia's first Islamic bank by 2021 as an ‘ethical alternative’ to conventional banking (ABC).

Hillsong has labelled a street preacher as “extremist” after a video emerged of the man shouting through a megaphone at Hillsong followers (Daily Mail).

Notorious Catholic Church paedophile priest Vincent Gerard Ryan will no longer be permitted to celebrate the sacraments or dress as a priest after being stripped of his priestly faculties (ABC).

Cardinal George Pell has said the Catholic Church should have more resolutely defended its record of combating abuse, arguing that “in fact the ‘old’ Church from the middle nineties had acted resolutely and effectively to impede this plague, to prevent the offenses continuing” (Catholic Weekly).

The group Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying is encouraging people who do not wish to formally become members to instead add their name in support of its approach to advocating for assisted dying laws.

Around the Country

QLD: Members of the Liberal-National Party are refusing to declare their stance on voluntary assisted dying ahead of the October state election, with some saying they cannot make a commitment without first seeing the details of the proposed bill currently being drafted (Warwick Daily News).

QLD: The Australian Christian Lobby has rejected the result of a survey showing that most churchgoers support voluntary assisted dying, saying the poll was “set up to rush in assisted suicide” (ACL).

TAS: Independent MLC Mike Gaffney says he will introduce to the parliament his bill for voluntary assisted dying on 27 August, with debated expected to begin in mid September (The Examiner).

QLD: The Queensland government has become the first state to pass legislation banning health providers from using conversion therapy on LGBTIQ people (Brisbane Times).

QLD: Survivors of gay conversion therapy have criticised the new law banning the practice, arguing it does not cover the use of conversion practices in informal settings such as religious groups (SBS).

QLD: The Australian Christian Lobby says the new law banning gay conversion practices will have a “highly detrimental impact” on health service providers (ACL).

ACT: The Barr government has introduced to the territory’s Legislative Assembly new legislation to outlaw gay conversion practices, with individuals to face fines of up to $24,000 or 12 months imprisonment (Canberra Times).

ACT: The Australian Christian Lobby has warned that the ACT government’s proposed legislation to ban gay conversion therapy would potentially turn parents, teachers and pastors into criminals for teaching a traditional view of sexuality (ACL).

NSW: Families at a Newcastle public school have asked the Department of Education to appoint a new special religious education provider following a disagreement with the current provider over the school’s request for it to stay away as a precautionary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic (Newcastle Herald).

VIC: A key religious factional figure in the state’s Liberal Party has stepped down from a powerful administrative committee in the party to focus on missionary work in the Ukraine and Moldova (The Age).

QLD: In announcing details of its first Satanic Black Mass in late October, satanists at the Noosa Temple of Satan have applauded key figures in the Morrison government for advocating religious freedoms (Noosa Today).

QLD: Two drag performers have taken former Australian Christian Lobby head Lyle Shelton to the Queensland Human Rights Commission under the Anti-Discrimination Act for a blog he wrote about why “drag queens are not for kids” (Star Observer).

ACT: A Liberal party candidate has been dumped in the lead-up to the territory’s election after it was revealed he made homophobic comments in a 2018 submission to the federal inquiry into religious freedoms (Star Observer).

Commentary and Analysis

Independent MLC Mike Gaffney encourages Tasmanians to contact their elected local representatives to share why they should have the right to access voluntary assisted dying (The Advocate).

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz writes that voluntary assisted dying, “stripped of its nice words… is state-sanctioned suicide” (The Examiner).

With data showing Australians abandoning religious beliefs at a rapid rate, Neil Francis highlights how public attitudes to voluntary assisted dying have also changed.

Former Labor Senator and now National Catholic Education Commission executive director Jacinta Collins writes that the public perception that non-government schools are the ‘haves’ and public schools are the ‘have-nots’ is not an accurate picture of disadvantage in Australia’s schools (NCEC).

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has rejected claims that he blamed his ousting on the influence of a hardline faction of a Jewish lobby (Australian Jewish News).

Reverend Michael Stead writes that Mark Latham has become an “unlikely defender” of religious freedom in putting forward legislation to protect the right of employees to wear religious dress and religious symbols at work (Sydney Anglicans).

The “silent treatment” shown by the Catholic Church in response to calls for reform is preventing the cultural changes that are required in the institution, writes Garry Everett (John Menadu blog).

It beggars belief that claims of a lack of accountability and transparency can still be levelled at the Catholic Church‘s processes, argues Francis Sullivan (John Menadu blog).

That's it for another week!

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