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
Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter says there are no plans for the government to repeal laws that prevent the Territories from legalising euthanasia, with the government instead focused on handling COVID-19 (NT News).
Cardinal George Pell has returned to Rome and to his role as prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, with a friend saying he had “always intended to return to Rome” (The Guardian).
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry declared it was “proud to count as a friend” Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching for criticising the way the United Nations treats Israel (Australian Jewish News).
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.
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).
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
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).
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).