Weekend Wrap for 26 July 2020

Labor MP Jackie Trad is becoming more vocal on voluntary assisted dying ahead of the Queensland state election. Catch up on 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

Former Governor-General and Australian Defence Force chief Sir Peter Cosgrove has described the generosity of Australians and their willingness to help as ‘muscular Christianity’ (Cath News).

Media companies are facing possible trial over contempt of court charges in relation to their reporting of Cardinal George Pell's conviction on sexual abuse charges (The Age).

Deliberations taking place in the Anglican Church’s Appellate Tribunal on whether civil same-sex marriages can be blessed within the church could deepen divisions among Anglicans (Eternity News).

Australian bishops have voiced their concerns that the reversion of Turkey’s historic Basilica of Hagia Sophia to being a mosque could “aggravate tension between Christians and Muslims” (Catholic Outlook).

A Muslim advocacy group has warned a Senate inquiry into foreign interference through social media that far-right extremism linked to white supremacists overseas is undermining security, social cohesion and democracy (The Guardian).

In helping to launch the new biography about Mark Leibler, one of Australia’s most influential Jewish lobbyists, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has revealed that she was often on the end of “Mark’s fundamental forthrightness” (Australian Jewish Network).

The St Vincent de Paul Society has called for the release of refugees detained in hotels in Brisbane and Melbourne (Catholic Leader).

Registrations are open to attend an online webinar being hosted by Go Gentle Australia and featuring terminally ill Australians on the topic of what it means to live with a terminal illness and why having a choice at the end of life is so important.

Around the Country

QLD: Former deputy premier Jackie Trad has said Queensland voters deserve to know where the major parties stand on voluntary assisted dying ahead of the state’s upcoming election (The Australian, paywalled).

QLD: Thousands of letters have flooded the inboxes of MPs urging the government to introduce voluntary assisted dying legislation before the state election (Courier Mail, paywalled).

TAS: More than 10,000 Tasmanians have signed an e-petition in support of a person's right to choose voluntary assisted dying (The Advocate).

TAS: The Greens are urging more Tasmanians to support the online petition for voluntary assisted dying laws to be introduced in the state, saying “we can’t stop now” because “this issue is too important (Greens).

NSW: Health authorities have issued an alert to people who attended Catholic church services in Sydney’s south-west after four cases of COVID-19 cases were confirmed as being linked to a woman who attended a number of services (ABC).

VIC: Police have been unable to take action against an ultra-orthodox Jewish group that is continuing to hold group prayer sessions on the basis it is a ‘support group’ rather than a group of worshippers (Australian Jewish Network).

SA: The Australian Christian Lobby is urging the South Australian government to reject a proposed bill that aims to ban conversion therapy practice in the state, saying that it is “based on a myth” (ACL).

QLD: The Liberal-National Party, which has been taken over by an influx of ‘Christian soldiers’ and has gone further to the religious Right, has been carrying out ‘extreme’ vetting of candidates, with questions focusing on female candidates' sexual histories and sexual preferences (The Guardian).

Commentary and Analysis

Des Houghton writes that Jackie Trad’s push to legalise “assisted suicide” is undermining her
leader, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and emboldening church leaders in opposition to voluntary assisted dying (Courier Mail, paywalled).

This newspaper editorial argues that the fear-mongering tactics of the Australian Christian Lobby to “muddy the waters” on the issue of voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania should not be tolerated (The Examiner).

With safe access zones being debated in the South Australian parliament, women and health workers share their experiences of being harassed by religious protesters outside abortion clinics (ABC).

The Australian Christian Lobby’s Christopher Brohier argues that a study published by Flinders University researchers on the perceptions of abortion has a “heavy pro-abortion bias” (ACL).

Scripture teachers share their feelings about being able to return to classrooms following the relaxation of COVID-19 measures, saying they are looking forward to “seeing the development of their understanding of the faith” of students (Sydney Anglicans).

While the Pope’s landmark encyclical dealing with a full range of environmental issues, including climate change, sought to build bridges, Neil Ormerod argues that Sydney Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher has been “assiduously digging a moat” between the church and the ‘secular world’ (ABC).

That's it for another week!

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