Weekend Wrap for 4 October 2020

Catch up on a wide range of news and views on secular matters from the past week in the latest 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

Around the Country

TAS: Christians who support assisted dying laws are urging Tasmanian MPs to be wary of the motives of anti-euthanasia groups campaigning to discredit Mike Gaffney’s bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying (Tasmanian Times).

NSW: Andrew Denton joined a webinar with hundreds of supporters of voluntary assisted dying to launch Dying with Dignity’s new campaign to call for VAD reform in NSW.

SA: Former footballer Peter Johnston has added his voice to the campaign to reignite the push for voluntary assisted dying in the state (Adelaide Advertiser, paywalled).

VIC: Sexual abuse victims who received meagre sums of money from the Catholic Church in exchange for their silence could now seek larger compensation payouts after a judge overturned a survivor's settlement with the church (The Age).

QLD: The Noosa Council is forcing the Noosa Temple of Satan to pay a $480 security fee for its upcoming Black Mass as the group faces a stream of online threats from Christians protesting the event (Q News).

VIC: As part of her effort to remove the discriminatory practice of school chaplains being recruited based only on their religious affiliation, Reason Party Leader Fiona Patten is calling on supporters to sign a supporter petition.

NSW: Fred Nile's Christian Democratic Party could soon be deregistered as it faces dwindling membership and legal actions (SMH).

QLD: Religious group Cherish Life is targeting Greens MP Michael Berkman with flyers attacking his pro-choice position on the issue of abortion.

VIC: An Australian Christian Lobby survey of candidates at council elections questions whether they believe “Biblical views regarding the nuclear family and gender roles are antiquated and harmful” and whether “a foetus in the womb should have the same legal rights as a baby has after birth” (Star Observer).

ACT: A Labor candidate has expressed his support for the return of the school chaplain program, saying he remained “committed to the the broad goal of the Commonwealth chaplain program” (Canberra Times).

SA: The Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide has rejected a transgender woman’s request to act as a priest in Adelaide (Eternity News).

NSW: The Sydney Archdiocese has called on every Catholic “to be active in raising awareness of the pro-life movement in Australia”, as anti-abortion campaigners marked one year since decriminalisation of abortion in the state (Catholic Weekly).

Commentary and Analysis

In this webinar, Reason Party Leader Fiona Patten chats with Ron Williams about his successful High Court challenges of the federally funded National School Chaplaincy Program.

Christian academic Patrick Parkinson argues that Australia is witnessing “a new and much more aggressive form of secularisation [that] doesn’t really tolerate people who have traditional religious views” (ABC).

Gulhan Eryegit Yoldas argues that, in its reporting on the role of Muslim security staff in the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria, The Age has been continuing “an ongoing Islamophobic narrative” (Australasian Muslim Times).

In an article for the Australian Christian Lobby, Heidi McIvor writes that the Victorian government’s restrictions on church gatherings is illustrative of how “for too long the role of the church in community life has been overlooked and undervalued by governments” (ACL).

Australian Christian Lobby’s Christopher Brohier writes that South Australia is facing an “unprecedented attack on truth, life and goodness”, with legislation to create safe access zones around clinics that perform abortion before the parliament, and other legislation, such as on the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying, on the way (ACL).

David Furse-Roberts writes that the Bible was a major influence on Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister, Robert Gordon Menzies (Eternity News).

Despite a Catholic protest in regional areas against the COVID-19 restrictions, there has been little outrage by Melbourne’s Christians, writes John Sandeman (Eternity news).

That's it for another week!

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