Weekend Wrap for 4 July 2021

In another week dominated by news of COVID outbreaks, catch up here on the latest secular-related news from around the country in the NSL Weekend Wrap for 4 July 2021.

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

Around the Country

WA: Terminally ill West Australians now have the ability to end their life legally after voluntary assisted dying laws came into effect on July 1, but just eight doctors have completed the training to provide access to the process, impacting regional access. (WA Today)

WA: Advocacy group Dying With Dignity and the Australian Medical Association comment that while the introduction of the system had been well-resourced, it would take time for the process to start working effectively, with a relatively low number of doctors having completed the required training. (The Australian)

WA: The Catholic Church in Western Australia has this week stated they "will not authorise any of our caregivers to be involved in any of the steps required for [clients] to access VAD". (Catholic Weekly)

NSW: Shoalhaven councillors have ignored claims of religious-based discrimination by blocking an investigation into the legality of imposing exclusively Christian prayers as part of government meetings. (Rationalist Society of Australia)

NSW: The peak body representing Buddhists in New South Wales has urged the Shoalhaven City Council to reconsider its decision to exclude non-Christian faiths from the opening prayer ritual at meetings. (Rationalist Society of Australia)

QLD: Israel Folau, previously fired from Rugby Australia for making public comments based on his religious beliefs viewed by many as being hateful, has been registered to play for the Southport Tigers in the Rugby League Gold Coast competition. (Star Observer)

Commentary and Analysis

Malcolm Knox writes on the "small number of churches and religious lobby organisations [who] are very vocal about their feeling that they are being silenced", saying that the deeply cynical politics surrounding a new push for the Religious Discrimination Bill will generate more, not less, persecution of the religious. (SMH)

In a webinar presentation on Wednesday night, Neil Francis said the data published in his Religiosity in Australia report undermine the widely accepted belief of a religious backlash against Labor and the attribution of its surprise 2019 federal election loss as being partly due to a disconnect with Christians. (Rationalist Society of Australia)

George Grundy opines that the Prime Minister's religious faith has often come under criticism, which may be justified when it's linked to extremism and child abuse. (Independent Australia)

Alastair Lawrie writes on NSW One Nation MLC Mark Latham's Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 as "the worst legislative attack on LGBTI rights in Australia this century", suggesting the Bill could "also establish a UK ‘section 28’-style prohibition on positive references to anything at all to do with LGBT people". (alastairlawrie.net)

Bilal Cleland looks at how conspiracy theories and religion invade the political mainstream, both in the US and in Australia. (Independent Australia)

Neil Foster writes that a COVID restriction exemption granted to allow livestreamed singing in NSW church services was unnecessary as the activity would not have fallen under the restrictions in the first place. (Law and Religion Australia)

Monica Doumit, Director, Public Affairs and Engagement for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, writes on Australia's ongoing "regressive" movement in increasing access to voluntary assisted dying and 'enabling killing'. (Catholic Weekly)

Events and Advisories

That's it for another week!

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