News and views from Australia and around the world

Melbourne bishop laments US decision; Stephen Hawking's rare honour at Westminster Abbey; and are clergy generous?

June 20 2018 

NCCA President Bishop Philip Huggins responds to US withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

The President of the National Council of Churches in Australia, Melbourne Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins, laments the Trump Administration’s decision to take the US out of the UN Human Rights Council, saying “besieged minorities in places of brutality” will pay a heavy price.


Institutional abuse survivors urge Senators to reject National Redress Scheme

Some survivors of child sexual abuse in institutions have called on Senators to reject legislation establishing the National Redress Scheme, to which the Anglican Church and other churches and institutions have committed themselves, saying the Bill is fundamentally flawed and has the potential to further traumatise survivors in its current form. The Scheme is due to come into effect on 1 July.


Ashes of Stephen Hawking buried in Westminster Abbey

Watch an excerpt from the Westminster Abbey Service of Thanksgiving for famed physicist Stephen Hawking at which his ashes were interred between those of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, listen to the tributes to him and read the Order of Service in the Abbey’s own coverage of this historic event on 15 June.


Ministers of religion rank highly for giving among occupations: study

Ministers of religion have again topped the table of occupations with the highest deductible gift-to-taxable-income ratio, according to a report by the QUT (Queensland University of Technology) Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Studies. The report examined Australian Taxation Office statistics on tax-deductible giving for the 2015-16 financial year, showing that Australia recorded its first drop in the value of tax-deductible charitable donations since the Global Financial Crisis, with fewer Australians giving – and giving lower amounts.


How the Anglican Church has hardened its stance against same-sex marriage

Leading Melbourne Anglican journalist and historian Muriel Porter criticises Australia’s bishops for their recent joint resolution following the legalisation of same-sex marriage, saying it is harsh and discriminatory towards same-sex couples and plays into the hands of Church conservatives, whom she accuses of being “on a power trip”.


The Bible and borders: Does Scripture belong in the US immigration debate?

Baptist scholar Mark Brett, Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Divinity in Melbourne, examines the use of Biblical texts by the US Administration to justify the controversial policy of taking children from what it says are illegal immigrant families and by opponents to challenge the policy.


GAFCON grows – Conference doubles

Russell Powell, from Anglican Media in the Sydney diocese, reports on the 10th anniversary meeting in Jerusalem of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which Sydney Anglican leaders support but which critics charge is a movement that seeks to supplant official Anglican structures.


Geneticist Francis Collins ponders peril of biotechnology

The scientist known for his leadership of the Human Genome Project – a man of faith as well as of science – compares the beauty of a person’s DNA to that of York Minster’s Rose Window in a vivid presentation to Washington DC’s National Press Club, but also warns of scientific and safety concerns, as well as “huge philosophical and theological concerns” about biotechnology.


‘Even death on a cross’: How Christian humility upended the world

John Dickson – Anglican minister, historian and Founding Scholar of the Centre for Public Christianity – contrasts the cross as a symbol of shame in the Roman world with it as a mark of true greatness for Christians. “Our culture remains cruciform long after it stopped being Christian,” he says in this article for ABC Religion and Ethics.


Taking a lesson from Michael Curry could just save the Church of England

British commentator on religion Andrew Brown says the recent royal wedding “dramatised the heroic efforts the Church of England is making to unstuffify itself”. But mixing the African-American preaching style of Bishop Michael Curry with the jewel-encrusted tradition of St George’s Chapel is only one example of the work it needs to do, he writes in this piece for The Guardian.