16 - 22 May
A Queenslander deplores the denigration of people of her state and makes a plea for understanding; Bob Hawke's deep Christian roots remembered; and a Palestinian woman speaks of daily life in the birthplace of Jesus.
May 22 2019
Despite a national swing to the Coalition, Queenslanders in particular have been singled out for ‘blame’ by some for returning the Morrison Government to power. But in the absence of a convincing alternative for their future, mining-based communities in Central and North Queensland make rational decisions about their future, says Kate Galloway.
Bob Hawke’s Christian roots ran deep and even after he declared himself an agnostic, they shaped him. In this extract from his book In God they Trust: the religious beliefs of Australia’s Prime Ministers, Roy Williams looks at the role faith played in the life of Labor’s longest-serving Prime Minister, who died on 16 May.
Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies and the Chair of the diocese’s Religious Freedom Reference Committee, Bishop Michael Stead, sought assurances on religious freedom as the election campaign entered its final stage, with Rugby Australia sacking star player Israel Folau over a controversial message he put on Instagram.
Simon Smart, Executive Director of the Centre for Public Christianity, regrets the Israel Folau controversy, writing that social media is perhaps the worst possible place to try to explain complex religious concepts and that Bible verses ripped out of context and lists of “sinners” bound for hell, without any sense of the broader story, distorts the core message of the text and its offer of abundant life for every person who would accept it.
The Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Curry, will receive the 2019 Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award “in recognition of the huge media impact generated by his royal wedding sermon”. The Sandford St Martin Trust, which has been making awards since 1978, said that his 2018 sermon “helped to bring a better understanding of religious belief and its modern relevance to a new audience”. An estimated 1.9 billion people watched Bishop Curry deliver the sermon at the St George’s Chapel Windsor wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle, in which he told the congregation of royals and celebrities that “love is the way”.
Areej Masoud, a Palestinian Christian who lives in Bethlehem, talks to the Centre for Public Christianity’s Simon Smart about daily life amid the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict.
Bishop John Inge of Worcester says he was “used and manipulated” and subjected to naked praying in the 1980s by the disgraced former bishop and convicted abuser Peter Ball. After the scathing conclusions of the latest Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse report – which also criticised Prince Charles and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord (George) Carey – Dr Inge tweeted that the report’s criticism of the churchpeople who protected Ball was “well deserved”.
Bishop Christopher Lowson of Lincoln is “bewildered” by his suspension over a safeguarding issue. A statement by Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury on 16 May said that the move was based on information provided by the police. “If these matters are found to be proven, I consider that the bishop would present a significant risk of harm by not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people,” Archbishop Welby said. “I would like to make it absolutely clear that there has been no allegation that Bishop Christopher has committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult.”
Christian and author Os Guinness – born in wartime China to medical missionaries, raised in England and resident in the US for more than 30 years – speaks to the Centre for Public Christianity’s Simon Smart about his life and says he was glad to grow up in the 1960s because “it forced me to think through my faith, and to relate my faith to all that was going on”.
Jesuit priest Andrew Hamilton hails Kurdish refugee Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison as “one of the great Australian books” that “will continue to be read and honoured in the distant future when the people who devised Manus Island are remembered only as footnotes in it”.