Weekend Wrap for 8 August 2021

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 8 August 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

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

VIC: Following an attempt by Reason party leader Fiona Patten to remove the Lord's Prayer from state parliament, Labor has vowed to axe the century-old tradition if re-elected, after striking an 11th-hour deal with a crossbench MP to put off a vote on the contentious matter. (SMH)

NT: Country Liberal senator Sam McMahon on Wednesday introduced her Bill to give the NT the power to decide its own euthanasia laws, nearly 25 years after it was denied such a right by the Howard government in 1997. (The Australian)

NT/ACT: Senator Sam McMahon has admitted she feels sorry for Canberrans, as her bill to restore the rights of the NT - but not the ACT - to legislate on voluntary euthanasia was introduced to Federal Parliament. (Canberra Times)

VIC: A leading Buddhist has thrown her support behind Victorian upper house MP Fiona Patten’s push to have a Christian prayer replaced with something more inclusive at the opening of each parliamentary sitting day. (RSA)

NSW: A number of prominent New South Wales community organisations have written an open letter to NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman, calling on him to commission an independent review of the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act. (The Guardian)

VIC: Premier Dan Andrews appears to have put all social reform work on the back-burner in the lead-up to next November's state election. (SMH)

QLD: The Noosa Temple of Satan has declared they will be holding their Black Mass in the public streets (COVID lockdown permitting) after they were denied the right to book a public facility to host it following threats from Christian antagonists. (NTS)

NSW: Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has launched a scathing attack on proposed euthanasia laws in NSW, warning there are inadequate safeguards in them to prevent people with mental illness from qualifying for euthanasia and to protect Catholic aged care homes from having to carry out euthanasia on their premises. (Catholic Weekly)

Commentary and Analysis

New research polls carried out through July show that the ABS's 'leading' census question on religion skews religiosity data in Australia. (NSL)

NSL director Brian Morris writes on the "spiritual pork-barrelling" justified by skewed census results, caused by problems with the collection of religion data. (AIM Network)

Monica Dux encourages lapsed Catholics to consider the "serious moral dimension" of the religion question in the census when responding to it. (The Age)

Monica Doumit writes on the census campaigns which "pop up every five years – at their proselytising best – to encourage Christians and Catholics in particular to make the jump to the ‘no religion’ box in the census". (Catholic Weekly)

Archbishop Anthony Fisher states that the census question on religion does not capture all the "senses of practising a religion", and that this should not be the benchmark for deciding on a response. (The Australian)

Gerard Henderson, executive director of the Sydney Institute, writes on how the census has been "weaponised by born-again atheists in their battle with believers." (The Australian)

In an editorial, Gay Alcorn of The Age, writes that dropping the Lord’s Prayer would help the Victorian State Parliament better reflect its diversity. (The Age)

David Smith, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, looks at why Australia’s religious right loses policy battles even when it wins elections. (The Conversation)

Dr Mark Stephens from the Centre for Public Christianity ponders what it means that the percentage of Australians identifying as Christian will drop below 50% for the first time ever after this census. (SMH)

The Rationalist Society of Australia welcomes Dave Sharma’s ‘principled stance’ on the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill. (RSA)

Robyn Whitaker, Senior Lecturer at the University of Divinity writes on COVID vaccination and how a fringe group of Christians hijack faith in a war against science. (The New Daily)

Peter Downie, National Director of FamilyVoice Australia, opines that we need a national day of prayer. (FVA)

Events and Advisories

That's it for another week!

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