3 - 9 June
Religious freedom to be election issue, Anglican hospital in Gaza asks for help, stop short of apology, Pakistani couple acquitted in blasphemy trial, 'The Handmaid's Tale' and our own fertility crisis, and much more.
June 9 2021
The corporate regulator has launched an investigation into an investment fund run by the collapsed Presbyterian Church of Queensland that took $26m from investors, including church employees and clergy. Queensland’s supreme court appointed receivers to the church earlier this month. Guardian Australia has learned the church has debts of about $101m, mostly related to its aged care business, Prescare.
The Morrison Government has placed religious freedom back on the political agenda, as Attorney-General Michaelia Cash restarts meetings with key stakeholders and church groups embark on a lobbying blitz to shape and enact the laws before the election. Freedom for Faith, a lobby group run by law professor Patrick Parkinson, is organising a “religious freedom weekend” for 11-13 June. Ministers of religion will use sermons to preach the need to protect religious freedom and parishioners are being urged to lobby their MPs about the urgency of the issue.
Religious Freedom Weekend is happening on June 11 to 13 this year. Christian legal think tank Freedom for Faith (FFF) is calling Christians to join with churches and faith communities across Australia to pray for the persecuted globally – and for the protection of religious freedom in Australia.
One constant before, during and after the latest turmoil between Israel and Palestine has been the ministry of Al Ahli Arab Hospital, a Diocese of Jerusalem facility in Gaza City that had a surge in patients while sustaining minor damage during the Israeli airstrikes, the Episcopal News Service in the US reports.
A Pakistani court has acquitted a Christian couple who have spent seven years on death row for alleged blasphemy, their lawyer says, in a case that rights groups have long singled out for fair trial issues.
Pope Francis has said he was pained by the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Catholic school for indigenous students in Canada and called for respect of the rights and cultures of native peoples, but stopped short of the direct apology some Canadians had demanded.
English Bishop Christopher Hill, a consultant to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission III, reviews for Church Times a book by Melbourne vicar Dr Alexander Ross described by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as “an indispensable point of reference”.
Sixty years after she stepped into the jungle to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat, Jane Goodall, the world-renowned primatologist and conservationist, has won the 2021 Templeton Prize. Goodall, 87, is only the fourth woman to win the award, established by the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton to honour those who use science to explore humankind’s place and purpose within the universe.
For years, the LGBTQ movement in The Episcopal Church had a specific primary goal in mind: full participation in the sacraments, including matrimony and holy orders. For many LGBTQ Episcopalians today, the path forward is less focused on one legislative outcome and more on cultural shifts.
Writing 35 years ago, Margaret Atwood could scarcely have predicted how much of her dark vision would come true by now. Fertility rates across much of the developed world are in sharp decline, with profound consequences for the world. We need to talk about these issues which have such an impact upon lifelong happiness and wellbeing, writes Professor Patrick Parkinson, a family law specialist at the University of Queensland.