Weekend Wrap for 28 March 2020

The reckless actions of some religious fundamentalists have drawn the Jewish community into the public spotlight as the pandemic worsens in Australia. This is the Weekend Wrap, bringing you the news and views of concern to secular Australia.

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!

News Related to the coronavirus

Prime Minister Scott Morrison – who has previously said his religious beliefs were a private matter – used a speech in parliament to reveal that his “prayer knees” were getting a good workout and to call on people of faith to pray during the pandemic (Canberra Times).

The Prime Minister ordered places of worship, among other public places of social gathering, to close as the government introduced more strict measures to combat the spread of coronavirus (7 News).

Members of parliament have hit out at members of an ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Melbourne for endangering public health by defying social-distancing restrictions to gather for group prayer sessions (The Age).

Federal Liberal MP Dave Sharma appears to have informed his local Jewish community that it has special exemptions from government-mandated restrictions on wedding ceremonies (J-Wire).

ABC coronavirus reporter Norman Swan urged his own Jewish community to practice social distancing ahead of the Pesach festival (ECAJ).

A senior member of the Jewish community has warned that “many members of our community will succumb” to the virus, as details emerged of likely infections from a large Jewish wedding in Melbourne (Australian Jewish News).

The Australian Christian Lobby is calling on the Morrison government to block pornography websites during the pandemic to prevent “internet gridlock” and “even loss of lives” (ACL).

Some Catholic priests in Sydney have vowed that they are “prepared to go to the bedside of the dying” despite the risk of further infections during the pandemic (Catholic Weekly).

A Hillsong pastor in the US has tested positive to coronavirus, despite members having been assured earlier this month that their faith in the Lord meant "no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling" (Eternity News).

In a letter to clergy and parishioners, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher compared the closure of church activities during the pandemic to the suppression of Catholicism in the early days of the British colony.

News Relating to Other Issues

Commentary and Analysis

That's it for another week!

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