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13-19 December

Christmas rubs up against Australia's 'fair go' myth, says a leading author; the Ruddock Review on Religious Freedom is reported and commented upon; and the US Episcopal Church explains why it is considering putting its money where the guns are made.

December 19 2018

 

How the Christmas story upends the Australian myth of the ‘fair go’

The Christmas story is one of radical un-fairness and stands in contrast to Australia's “fair go” myth, especially as it has been invoked by those with power and privilege, writes Meredith Lake, author of the award-winning The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History.

 

Religious Discrimination Act to form part of Coalition election platform

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is to take a proposal for a dedicated Religious Discrimination Act to the next election, after the Government released the Ruddock Report on Religious Freedom and announced that it had already accepted 15 of its 20 recommendations and planned to refer the remaining matters to the Australian Law Reform Commission for advice due in the second half of 2019.

 

Church of England’s first female bishop to become Bishop of Derby

The first woman to become a bishop in the Church of England, Bishop Libby Lane, is to have her own diocese as Bishop of Derby after Easter 2019, having served as suffragan Bishop of Stockport in the Diocese of Chester since her historic consecration in 2015.

 

Morwell rector and former Melbourne clergyman David Head tells his story

Listen to the Revd David Head speak to ABC Gippsland’s Soundtrack to My Story about his life, coming to faith and the challenges of coming out.

 

Brexit alternatives proposed by MPs and peers, including former Archbishop of Canterbury

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord (Rowan) Williams, Bishop Nick Baines of Leeds and novelist Ian McEwan are among 21 signatories to an article in The Guardian calling for a citizens’ assembly to stop the UK “falling apart in constitutional chaos” over Brexit, Hattie Williams reports for Church Times.

 

Bishops from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia issue joint protest on West Papua abuses

The Anglican Communion News Service reports that 11 bishops – including two Primates and a Primate-elect – have expressed “deep disappointment” at the continued suppression of the first people of West Papua and have called on Indonesian authorities to “halt all state-sanctioned abuse and violation of human rights”.

 

US Episcopal Church eyes investing in gun manufacturers to press for greater gun safety

David Paulsen of the Episcopal News Service reports that the US branch of the Anglican Communion is considering investing in gun manufacturers to give the Church a new voice in how those companies do business. The aim is to minimise “lethal and criminal uses of their products”.

 

The Ruddock Freedom of Religion Review is about much more than discrimination

Prominent West Australian Anglican and Lecturer in the University of Western Australia School of Law, Renae Barker, writes that freedom of and freedom from religion must be about more than discrimination and find ways to balance the legitimate human rights claims of both those of faith and those without.

 

Religious freedom in secular Australia

Jesuit priest and lawyer Frank Brennan, a member of the Ruddock Review on Religious Freedom, writes that even with a Federal Election due in 2019, it should not be too much to expect that Australia’s elected leaders commit to a Religious Discrimination Act, enhance the role of the Australian Human Rights Commission and ensure uniformity in the states and territories on selection criteria for students and staff in religious schools.

 

The curious history of the Christmas carol

BBC Music reporter Mark Savage talks to two leading choral composers, John Rutter and Bob Chilcott, about Christmas carols, with Rutter observing that carols are one of the oldest forms of English-language choral music because the 15th century Church allowed them to be sung in the common tongue at a time when religious services were conducted in Latin.