Weekend Wrap for 18 September 2022

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 18 September 2022, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

Do you have any news items, campaigns, petitions, webinars or other event notices that could be added to our weekly Wrap? Let us know at wrap@nsl.org.au.

At the National Level

King Charles III has been officially proclaimed as the ruling monarch of Australia by Governor-General David Hurley. (11 Sep 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Caragh Larsen, a former school chaplain who in April publicised concerns about the National School Chaplaincy Program (including discriminatory employment practices, proselytising to students and the views held by some chaplains on issues of sexuality and gender), wants to see the Albanese government remove third-party chaplaincy providers from the program. (12 Sep 2022)
Read more at the RSA

Labor Senator and former Catholic priest Pat Dodson will no longer oppose the introduction of euthanasia to the Territories, telling the Senate that he sees euthanasia legislation “as whitefella law, to be used by the non-Indigenous population”. “I’ve been distressed by these scornful, hateful diatribes from so-called Christians, who are prepared to recruit First Nations peoples to support a campaign against euthanasia yet won’t allow them a seat at the table,” Senator Dodson said. (14 Sep 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

The Marist Brothers' Province of Australia has declined to outline what procedure it follows - if any - to support survivors when convicted child sex abusers from its organisation die. The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle came under fire for not informing the community or survivors about Father Vincent Ryan's death. The question on procedure was prompted by the death on Monday of Francis William Cable - also known as Brother Romuald. (15 Sep 2022)
Read more at the Newcastle Herald

Former prime minister Julia Gillard says a "measured, steady discussion" about an Australian republic is likely to re-start once Queen Elizabeth's funeral and the mourning over her death has finished. (16 Sep 2022)
Read more at ABC News

The Australian Bureau of Statistics and Michael Sukkar, a former Morrison government minister, have been accused of breaching discrimination laws in their handling of the 2021 census. The complaint, backed by peak LGBTQ+ rights group Equality Australia, will likely add pressure on the Albanese government to include questions on gender and sexuality in the 2026 census. (16 Sep 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

Around the Country

NSW: Sydney’s Anglicans say building more churches in western Sydney and the urgent “discipling” of children are key to spreading their faith amid declining attendance and a hostile mainstream culture. Anglican schools have become a flashpoint between mainstream and Christian culture. The synod’s requirement that new principals and board members sign a statement of belief that marriage is between a man and a woman has caused a significant backlash in some school communities. (12 Sep 2022)
Read more at The Age

QLD: Pregnancy terminations are being conducted as late as 37 weeks at Brisbane hospitals with foetal medical experts insisting the services are essential as not all abnormalities are detectable in early pregnancy. Professor Sailesh Kumar, senior staff specialist in Maternal Foetal Medicine and Obstetrics at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital reported that advances in prenatal imaging and genomics meant that women can now be given much more information about their foetus and can make more informed decisions about late termination. (12 Sep 2022)
Read more at the Courier Mail

NSW: The New South Wales Health Minister says he will seek advice on processes at a gender clinic in Newcastle after a budget hearing was told it may be putting children on puberty-blocking medication too quickly. Labor's Greg Donnelly, who opposed same-sex marriage, abortion, allowing same-sex couples to adopt children and pushed for religious exemptions to assisted dying laws, said he was worried young people were being treated with puberty-blocking medication after after "only two or three medical appointments". (13 Sep 2022)
Read more at ABC News

WA: Western Australia’s public school communities have voted resoundingly in favour of governments funding the employment of professional non-clinical student welfare officers instead of religious chaplains. The state’s school Parents & Citizens (P&C) groups have rejected the current federal and state model of funding religious chaplains through religious labour-hire firms. (15 Sep 2022)
Read more at the RSA

Commentary and Analysis

Mohamad Abdalla and Rita Jabri MarkwellThe case for removing religion from Australia’s definition of terrorism: "Earlier this year, Deakin University published the results of a study into the effect of terrorism media coverage on public perception of Muslims. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study found that the media’s reporting acts as a cognitive barrier and block, rendering many Australians incapable of absorbing any positive message about Muslims. This means that our tireless efforts among the community — conducting antiracism initiatives, trying to cultivate cohesion and build up resilience — invariably are condemned to swim against an oppressive tide." (12 Sep 2022)
Read more at ABC Religion & Ethics

Margaret GhosnMelto D’Moronoyo: Can religion survive amid rising secularisation?: "The shift in thought has seen an increase in secularism which purports that one can simply erase God by expelling religion from public institutions and practices. We are living in a society where belief in God is diminishing in all social interactions, there is a decline in public belief and worship, and where faith is now one option among many. Furthermore, we have a media that is hostile of the Church, painting it as a relic of the past, superstitious, conveying repressed sexuality, and outdated rituals, in an age of virtual reality and globalisation." (12 Sep 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

Dr Tim JonesThe Queen is Dead: Long Live…The Republic?: "The passing of Queen Elizabeth and the accession of King Charles is the ideal time for the Republic debate to rise again. The practicalities may prove difficult, however. Mr Albanese already has one referendum he wishes to pose: that of the Voice to Parliament. A second referendum in one term may stretch the friendship a little. If he were to receive a second term (and the state of the opposition makes this likely) perhaps he can do it then. But at the very least, the issue should be raised again and discussed. Ignore the bellyaching from the monarchists (including that remarkable letter from Victorian Liberal Tim Smith to Charles) and focus on what is best for Australia. We can still remain a member of the Commonwealth (as, for instance, Canada (eh?) has done) and clean up at the Commonwealth Games, we would just not be shackled to a foreign, unelected, ceremonial institution anymore." (13 Sep 2022)
Read more at the AIMN

John Warhurst – Church reform and the monarchy: "The monarchy, in the form of Queen Elizabeth, is thus co-opted by the bishops as an ally of the church in a battle against secular society. Undoubtedly another aspect of the British monarchy which appealed to Abbott and now attracts church leaders is its position as a traditional institution, second only to the church itself, among the oldest global institutions. In taking this position church leaders should always remember that, unlike the Pope and his bishops, the British monarch is a constitutional not an absolute monarch. The monarchy has been modernised in order to flourish within a democratic state." (13 Sep 2022)
Read more at Eureka Street

Adam WesselinoffCharles III: A Christian King: "Far from outmoded sentiment, Charles’ spiritual farewell may also be the beginning of a shift in tone for the monarchy from the quiet, dutiful Anglicanism of the Elizabethan years to a more active embrace of spirituality as the antidote to the crises engulfing the world." (14 Sep 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

Paul CollinsOne established church is enough: "Just now we all need a rest from royalty. But what’s gone unnoticed in media is how intimately connected the monarchy is to the Church of England. One of the neglected titles in these days of royal over-kill is that her late-majesty was and his newly-minted-majesty is, ‘by the grace of God, Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.’ In fact, unlike Australia, there is no separation in the UK between the head of state and the Established Church." (15 Sep 2022)
Read more at Pearls and Irritations

Marilyn RodriguesChristian prayer central to public mourning: "The overwhelming outpouring of public prayer following news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death showed that there is still a place for confident and devoted Christian faith in today’s world. ... News outlets made respectful mention of her deep faith as a guide in her life and her role as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, reported faith leaders’ prayers, while politicians and other public figures expressed condolences and prayers and nearly all of last weekend’s sporting games were preceded by a minute’s silence." (16 Sep 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

Events and Campaigns

Email Tasmanian politicians today so they hear the truth about the damage conversion practices have inflicted on LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians. Equality Tasmania's new email form allows you to personalise your message.

The Bill to overturn the ban on NT/ACT's ability to pass VAD laws is still being debated. Ask your state Senators to support territory rights!

Just.Equal Australia has launched a new petition calling for an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner. The Senate will debate the issue when it returns in September. View and sign here.

Humanists Australia have launched a Change.org petition calling for full separation of church and state in Australia. View and sign here.

A new petition from the RSA is aiming to build enough momentum before the federal parliament resumes to put the issue of Christian prayer rituals on the agenda of newly elected representatives heading to Canberra. Sign the petition here.

The Australian Education Union is running a campaign calling for “every school, every child” to receive fair education funding. Support the campaign here.

Funding for public schools has been cut in the latest budget but funding for school chaplains has been assured. A change.org petition is currently calling on the federal government to fund youth workers rather faith-based chaplains in our public schools.

The Human Rights for NSW alliance has launched a campaign calling for NSW to pass a Human Rights Act.

That's it for another week!

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