Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 6 February 2022, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
Really, though, we should be calling this the "Religious Discrimination Bill and Citipointe Christian College Wrap" considering the content!
We hope you've had a safe start to the new year.
The NSL is part of the #DontDivideUs campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill. Learn more about the campaign here and please consider making a donation to support it if you are able.
At the National Level
Following the Novak Djokovic visa ordeal, religious leaders are calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to extend the same values of his Christian faith to the 70 asylum seekers indefinitely detained in Melbourne. (28 Jan 2022) Read more at The New Daily
Senator Amanda Stoker, the Assistant Minister to Attorney General, says the situation of ALFW player Haneen Zreika illustrates why the Morrison’s government’s Religious Discrimination Bill is required. The AFLW player from has opted to sit out this week’s game because she does not want to wear the special jumper the club is wearing for the games' Pride round. (28 Jan 2022) Read more at Out in Perth
Hillsong founder Brian Houston has stepped down as the global leader of the Pentecostal church as he prepares to defend court charges that he covered up allegations of his father’s child sexual abuse. (30 Jan 2022) Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
Federal moderate Liberal MPs will renew their push for fast-tracked protections for LGBTQ school students when Parliament returns next week, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison aims to deliver on his election promise to legislate to protect religious freedom. (1 Feb 2022) Read more at The Age
LGBTQIA+ advocacy group Just.Equal Australia have drawn attention to a statement from Attorney-General Michaela Cash’s office about the impact of the Religious Discrimination Bill on schools, that “[the Bill] does not affect religious exemptions in existing Commonwealth state or territory anti-discrimination law”, which Just.Equal say is “misleading and untrue”. (2 Feb 2022) Read more at Out in Perth
The right of church schools to expel LGBTIQ students will be scrapped as part of the government’s push to legislate religious freedom laws, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison tries to lock in the support of moderate Liberal MPs ahead of a potential vote on the bill in the next sitting fortnight. (3 Feb 2022) Read more at The Age
Liberal MP Jason Falinski says the contract put forward by Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College, that describes homosexuality and bisexuality as destructive to people and society, is appalling – but it would not have been permitted to occur if the government’s proposed Religious Discrimination laws were in place. His claim has been questioned by LGBTIQA+ rights advocates, who have long argued the bill will take away rights that people already have, in the name of religious freedom. (3 Feb 2022) Read more at Out in Perth
Christian groups have accused Scott Morrison of “betraying” the intent of the Coalition’s religious discrimination bill by announcing an amendment that would prevent students being expelled for their sexuality or gender. (3 Feb 2022) Read more at Guardian Australia
A majority of voters oppose a key plank of the Coalition’s religious discrimination bill that would allow discriminatory speech and say they want greater protections for LGBTQ+ students and teachers, a new poll suggests. Three-quarters reject key religious discrimination bill clause while almost 65% say it should be illegal for religious schools to expel LGBTQ+ students. (3 Feb 2022) Read more at Guardian Australia
The proposed religious discrimination bill should be passed by the Senate with some caveats, government MPs involved in writing the official committee view across two parliamentary inquiries have concluded. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at SBS News
The Morrison government’s hopes of passing its contentious religious discrimination legislation before the election have been boosted with Labor MPs and Senators offering conditional support. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at Guardian Australia
The federal government's plan to legislate to protect religious freedoms is in disarray, with internal disagreement about the details and the process for changing the law. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at ABC News
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the government will act to legislate protections for LGBTIQ students alongside its proposed religious freedom laws before the election, after a key Coalition conservative cast doubt on the plans. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at The Age
The assistant attorney general, Amanda Stoker, has muddied the waters about whether LGBTQ+ students will be protected at the same time as the religious discrimination bill potentially passes federal parliament. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at Guardian Australia
Key moderate Liberals are still refusing to back the government’s religious freedom laws over concerns they will leave LGBTIQ Australians vulnerable to discrimination, despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowing to fast-track protections for students at church schools. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at The Age
The Coalition promised in 2018 to protect LGBTQ+ children in schools. What’s taking so long? (4 Feb 2022) Read more at Guardian Australia
The principal of a Brisbane school that demanded families sign anti-gay and anti-trans enrolment contracts previously lobbied senators to allow employers “the right to discriminate” against homosexuals. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at Guardian Australia
Around the Country
QLD: A Brisbane college missive insisting students denounce homosexuality and asking them to agree to specific gender roles has earned a rebuke from the state Human Rights Commission, saying it would likely amount to unlawful discrimination. (31 Jan 2022) Read more at The Sydney Morning herald
QLD: A Queensland school’s demand children adhere to the gender roles of their biological sex or face exclusion has been met with major backlash, with more than 50,000 people signing a petition against the move in just a matter of days. (31 Jan 2022) Read more at The Courier Mail
QLD: A parent and teacher at a Brisbane Christian college that is demanding parents sign a contract affirming students identify as their birth gender and that homosexuality is "sinful", says she is looking for another school for her child to attend. (31 Jan 2022) Read more at ABC News
QLD: A former teacher and student at Citipointe Christian College say school's religious dogma left them scarred (31 Jan 2022) Read more at SBS News
QLD: Citipointe Christian College's new enrolment contract, requiring parents to sign a Declaration of Faith or forego their child’s enrolment, has been referred to Queensland’s Non-State School’s Accreditation Board. (1 Feb 2022) Read more at Eternity News
QLD: The Independent Education Union, representing over 17,000 teachers and staff in Queensland non-government schools, has called on Citipointe Christian College to meet its responsibilities under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act and ensure no student at the College is discriminated against on the basis of gender identity or sexuality. (1 Feb 2022) Read more at Out in Perth
QLD: Federal moderate Liberal MPs will renew their push for fast-tracked protections for LGBTQ school students when Parliament returns next week, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison aims to deliver on his election promise to legislate to protect religious freedom. (1 Feb 2022) Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
QLD: The principal of Brisbane's Citipointe Christian College released a video message to parents late yesterday giving them a two-week extension to sign an enrolment contract that demands families denounce homosexuality and subscribe to traditional gender roles. (2 Feb 2022) Read more at ABC News
QLD: The Rationalist Society of Australia has urged the Queensland government to remove Religious Instruction from public schools, concerned that Citipointe Church missionaries use the program to “harvest” children. (3 Feb 2022) Read more at the RSA's website
QLD: Protesters will rally against the Religious Discrimination Bill on Friday, as several students have reportedly left or planned to tear up their enrolment at the embattled Citipointe Christian College. (3 Feb 2022) Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
QLD: Faced with increasing public backlash against its homophobic and transphobic enrolment contract, Citipointe Christian College on Thursday announced that it was withdrawing the document that was issued on January 28. (3 Feb 2022) Read more at Star Observer
QLD: The principal of Brisbane's Citipointe Christian College that has been embroiled in a student enrolment row has announced he will stand aside to take extended leave. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at ABC News
QLD: While Citipointe Christian College principal Brian Mulheran's future remains unclear - he said he would take “a period of extended leave” while someone else acted in the role - he has spent decades fighting LGBTIQ+ rights. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
QLD: A Guardian Australia investigation has discovered extensive links to the Liberal National party, including church figures who are significant LNP donors; attempts by churchgoers to infiltrate party branches; and overt political campaigning by the church’s leadership. (5 Feb 2022) Read more at Guardian Australia
NSW: Pro-life Labor MLC Greg Donnelly has launched an ePetition in the latest attempt to stop the passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021. (5 Feb 2022) Read more at The Catholic Weekly
Commentary and Analysis
Mike Seccombe: Two parliamentary inquiries into Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s religious freedom legislation are under way, with many, including Liberal Party supporters, wondering why the divisive bill has not been scrapped. (29 Jan 2022) Read more at The Saturday Paper
Carolyn Tate: There’s nothing Christian about excluding transgender kids (31 Jan 2022) Read more at news.com.au
Law and Religion Australia analyses whether Citipointe Christian College was legally justified in issuing its enrolment contract. (1 Feb 2022) Read more at Law and Religion Australia
Si Gladman: How the National School Chaplaincy Program crosses a line. (2 Feb 2022) Read more at Rationale Magazine
Rev. Alex Pittaway: Why does the religious freedom of Christian schools have so many victims? (2 Feb 2022) Read more at Star Observer
Concerned Parents of Citipointe Christian College: Why we, as Christian parents, cannot sign a school contract that condemns gay or transgender students. (2 Feb 2022) Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights: The Religious Discrimination Bill is fundamentally flawed and must be rejected. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at the ALHR website
Alastair Lawrie: 5 things we learned from the Senate Hearings into the Religious Discrimination Bill. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at alastairlawrie.net
Eternity News gives its views on the reports returned by the two parliamentary inquiries into the Religious Discrimination Bill. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at Eternity News
Madonna King: Queensland’s controversial Citipointe Christian College might have retracted the gender and sexuality contracts it demanded of students, but it has put Prime Minister Scott Morrison firmly in the firing line. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at The New Daily
Gary Nunn: I know exactly what it’s like to attend a school where homosexuality is frowned upon, and in which petrified, vulnerable, secretly gay students – as I was – are viewed as shameful and sinful. And I know the lifelong effects of indoctrinating such prejudice into children’s minds. (4 Feb 2022) Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
Jacqueline Hardy: Why did Citipointe think it could get away with its anti-LGBT enrolment contract? (4 Feb 2022) Read more at Star Observer
Events and Advisories
Sign up to the #DontDivideUs campaign currently being run by a group of pro-secular groups including the NSL, to act against the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.
Just.Equal are running a campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill. Use their tool to send emails to Labor MPs urging them to oppose the Bill.
Minister for Human Rights, Tara Cheyne, is running a petition calling on the Australian government to restore the right of Territories to pass laws on VAD. She also recommends people email the Commonwealth Attorney-General with their views, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dying With Dignity NSW has a tool that makes it easy for people to contact their federal MPs and senators to request help in repealing the "Andrews Bill", the 1997 legislation which denies the Territories the right to pass legislation on Voluntary Assisted Dying.