by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
Feb 6 - 13, 2011
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
A martyr for her art (The West Australian)
Feb 11 - Joan Wasser spent her childhood convinced she was going to die by fire.
Shock, horror (The Australian)
Feb 12 - (Review) [David] Walsh's point is to demonstrate the fallacy of religious belief and the inescapable reality of the human body.
Chance to share a saintly eternity (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 9 - A FINAL resting place in the Saint Mary MacKillop Memorial Wall, just metres from where the Josephite nun was once buried, could be yours for $5000.
'Appalling' law lets schools expel gay students (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 12 - A SENIOR Anglican bishop calls it "appalling" and a gay and lesbian rights group condemns it as "deeply offensive", but the Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, backs a NSW law that allows private schools to expel gay students simply for being gay.
Also: Greens MP slams gay student expulsion law (ABC News)
Feb 12 - The New South Wales Greens says an exemption for religious bodies in the Anti-Discrimination Act is leading to unfair treatment of teachers and students at religious schools.
School chaplains not representative (The Australian)
Feb 12 - THE faith of chaplains employed under the federal government's school chaplains program does not reflect the religious sentiment of the community, with Christian chaplains having a stranglehold on the program.
Also: Non-religious chaplains idea angers Christians (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 13 - EDUCATION Minister Peter Garrett is considering funding non-religious ''pastoral care workers'' under the controversial school chaplains program, but the religious lobby is warning him not to muddy the waters.
Religiously defending the right to remain secular (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 13 – (Opinion: Leslie Cannold) THIS column is about lawlessness, and what your government is doing in your name.
Catholics cannot confess via iPhone: Vatican (ABC News)
Feb 10 - Catholics cannot confess via iPhone and technology is not a substitute for being present when admitting sins to a priest, a Vatican spokesman said.
Also: Forgive me, Father, for my iPhone says I have sinned … (WAToday.com.au)
Feb 10 – (Opinion: Maureen Dowd) A Catholic confession app has had global success helping the fallen faithful.
Also: Now you can pray by iPhone with applications for spiritual help (Perth Now)
Feb 11 - LOOKING for the path to spiritual enlightenment? There's an app - or rather, apps - for that.
Rome booked out for John Paul II beatification (The West Australian)
Feb 10 - ROME (AFP) - More than two million pilgrims are expected to throng the streets of Rome for the beatification ceremony of John Paul II on May 1, leaving travel agencies desperate for accommodation and hotel prices soaring.
Kubica to get drop of Pope's blood (news.com.au)
Feb 13 - POLISH church leaders are hoping that a drop of blood belonging to the late Pope John Paul II will put fellow-Pole, Formula One star Robert Kubica, on the road to recovery.
Cameron's clarion call may turn out to be wrong (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 7 – (Opinion: Paola Totaro) LONDON: David Cameron's unexpected, and bold, critique of multiculturalism in Britain has sparked a ferocious political row after he linked what he called ''passive tolerance'' with Islamic extremism and terrorism.
Also: British PM's attack on extremism sparks anger (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 8 - THE political row caused by David Cameron linking what he called ''passive tolerance'' with Islamic extremism and terrorism looks likely to worsen, as funding is withdrawn from Muslim groups and the British government considers stricter rules for activism at universities.
Feb 8 - Former British prime minister Tony Blair says Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood should be treated with caution.
Pro-reform Saudi activists launch political party (The West Australian)
Feb 10 - RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Islamists and opposition activists have launched a political party in a rare challenge to the absolute monarchy, asking King Abdullah for a voice in the Gulf Arab state's governance, its organizers said Thursday.
Violence has silenced the majority (The Australian)
Feb 11 – (Opinion: Shuja Nawaz and Mohsin Khan) THE recent assassination of governor Salman Taseer of Punjab in Pakistan has highlighted the ongoing and often violent battle for the future of the country.
In Casablanca, only Jewish museum in Arab world (The West Australian)
Feb 10 - CASABLANCA, Morocco (AFP) - A white building tucked into a residential neighbourhood of this cosmopolitan city holds a treasure trove few here know about: the Arab region's only Jewish museum.
A boy's big day out in Istanbul (The West Australian)
Feb 10 - He would have been no more than 10 years old, dressed splendidly from head to toe in white with gold and blue trimmings.
We don't need another pharaoh after Mubarak's 30-year reign (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 7 – (Opinion: Paul Sheehan) As we hope for the Egyptians who have mobilised peacefully against their political and economic suffocation, we must not overlook the Egyptian army officer Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli.
SBY pressured over sect killing (The Australian)
Feb 8 - CIVIL and religious rights group have demanded the dismissal of Indonesia's Religious Affairs Minister.
Muslim mob burns churches in Indonesia (ABC News)
Feb 9 - Hundreds of Muslim radicals set two churches on fire and attacked a court in Indonesia's Central Java on Tuesday, calling for harsh punishment for a Christian on trial for blasphemy.
Also: US 'deplores' religious killings in Indonesia (news.com.au)
Feb 9 - THE US has condemned an outbreak of religious violence in Indonesia that left three people dead and several churches badly damaged.
Also: Indonesia police guard churches amid wave of hate (ABC News)
Feb 10 - Indonesian police stood guard outside churches on Wednesday after a wave of religious hate crimes swept the mainly Muslim country, shocking civil society and sparking international concern.
Also: Indonesia arrests 13 over religious violence (The West Australian)
Feb 11 - JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian police said they had arrested 13 men over two incidents of religious mob violence which left three people dead and churches in flames.
Also: Tolerance for religions tested in Indonesia (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 12 - THE killing of three followers of the Ahmadiyah faith by a frenzied group of Islamists this week has left Indonesia reflecting on how closely it lives up to its national credo ''unity in diversity''.
'Schoolboy' bomber kills 31 in Pakistan (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 11 - A teenage suicide bomber has killed up to 31 Pakistani army recruits at a parade ground, an attack the Taliban said was revenge for US drone strikes and local military offensives.
Delay in Bashir terror trial (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 11 - PROSECUTORS will call an extraordinary 136 witnesses as they try for the third time to have terrorism charges stick against Abu Bakar Bashir.
Pakistan on nuclear expansion (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 11 - PAKISTAN has begun building what independent experts say appears to be a fourth plutonium-producing reactor at the Khushab nuclear complex, a move that could signal a further escalation in Pakistan's arms race with India.
Hefty bill for Muslim women's privacy at public swimming pool (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Feb 11 - RATEPAYERS could be stung up to $45,000 to install curtains at a public pool so Muslim women can have privacy during a female-only exercise classes.
Feb 10 - The Federal Government has seized on reports of tensions between Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his deputy Julie Bishop.
Also: Australian aid school deters poverty and inspires dreams (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 10 - COME graduation day at Tetebatu’s School District 5 primary school, the local Islamic preacher would greet departing students at the front gate.
Also: Axing aid a 'victory for radicalism' (The Australian)
Feb 12 - AUSAID'S Indonesia director Jacqui De Lacy flatly dismisses the notion that Australian aid to Indonesian Islamic schools fuels religious radicalism: "In fact, we're doing the exact opposite.”
Feb 12 - ANTI-POKIE MPs Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie have held a secret meeting with almost every major church in Australia for an election campaign war against the club industry over poker machines.
Also: Xenophon, Wilkie meeting churches (Adelaide Now)
Feb 12 - MPs NICK Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie have held a meeting with churches as part of an anti-gambling campaign.
Should we have faith in the political system? (Adelaide Now)
Feb 12 - THE elevation of overtly religious state MPs to senior positions has reignited debate on faith in politics.
Let us stop pussyfooting around our censorship laws (The Australian)
Feb 12 – (Opinion: Ross Fitzgerald) The religious lobby and prudes on the ALP's Right continue to treat Australians like children.
Family First gets $405,000 lifeline from its chairman (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 13 - THE embattled Family First Party has been thrown a financial lifeline by its chairman Bob Day, who has propped up the once-influential organisation with loans and campaign funding of more than $400,000.
Religious groups to regain bias rights (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 13 - THE Baillieu government is preparing to restore unlimited rights to religious organisations to discriminate against gays and lesbians, single mothers and people who hold different spiritual beliefs.
Freedom for Faith; Freedom from Faith (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 7 – (Opinion: Dick Gross) In Cairo and in Melbourne faith and freedom danced their timeless antagonistic tango last week.
Gay times, bad times (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 8 - JIMMY Yan was only 16 when he had his first real experience of homophobia.
Sunday rebel backs shopping change (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 10 - Once known as the rebel trader, Frank Penhalluriack went to jail in the mid-'80s for illegally trading on Sunday.
When it comes to marriage, faith is the strongest tie that binds (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Feb 12 - AUSTRALIA is often called a multicultural melting pot, but people from some religious groups are sticking to their own when it comes to marriage.
Holy unrest over religious right to discriminate (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 13 - ADULTERERS? ''Yes.'' Divorcees? ''Normally, no.'' At his desk overlooking St Andrew's Cathedral, an uneasy Bishop Robert Forsyth is listing the sinners officially barred from working for the Anglican Church.
Should the Bible have a sealed section? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 10 – (Opinion: Katherine Feeney) Apparently, the Bible is not as consistent as the Religious Right would have us believe. According to two populist academics, it’s actually a bit erotic and rather promiscuous in parts.
Church man's arson mission (Hobart Mercury)
Feb 12 - A DEEPLY committed Christian succeeded in burning down the house of his wife's ex-husband at the second attempt, a court heard yesterday.
Seven days on job and police priest axed (Adelaide Now)
Feb 13 - A GREEK priest appointed by SA Police as a chaplain has been sacked seven days into his job.
'Rant' dentist is biting back (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Feb 13 - A CONFESSED "God-botherer" dentist, with a history of preaching to patients, says he is being discriminated against for living out his faith as he fights to keep his registration.
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