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Weekend Wrap for 22 June 2019

We have a big focus on Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying laws in this week’s edition of the Weekend Wrap. And, of course, there’s more on Israel Folau!

Be sure to let us know if we’ve missed any issue of importance to secular-minded Australians.

The Weekend Wrap is also published on our new 'Secular Spotlight' blog.

The National View

More than 100 organisations and individuals have written to both major parties demanding they ban religious organisations from discriminating on the basis of sexuality and gender identity (The West Australia).

In the latest in the Israel Folau saga, the millionaire ex-footballer has been roundly roasted for turning to online fundraising platform GoFundMe – usually used to raise funds for kids with cancer – to help cover his legal costs (News).

Folau has claimed that Rugby Australia’s decision to end his contract was “inconsistent”, arguing that there was no clause in the contract that prohibited him from sharing his religious beliefs outside the workplace (The Australian - paywall).

Seeing the writing on the wall, Senator Cory Bernardi is deregistering his struggling Australian Conservatives party. But, he claims, it is the coalition’s right-ward shift since the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister that means a standalone conservative party is no longer necessary (ABC).

New research into the religious identities of teenage Australians shows that just one in five have a commitment to a religion, but, at the same time, a large section remain interested in spirituality (ABC).

Around the Country

VIC: The introduction of voluntary assisted dying (VAD) laws in Victoria will increase pressure on other states and territories to pass similar legislation, says euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke (The Australian - paywall).

VIC: While many Victorians have welcomed the peace of mind provided by the new VAD laws, Dr Nitschke labelled the safeguards as “too strict and onerous”, making the end-of-life option potentially out of reach for many terminally ill patients (The Age).

VIC: Catholic bishops around the state have maintained their opposition to VAD, warning doctors not to take part in assisting patients to gain access to the end-of-life option. The Church also reaffirmed that its health providers would not offer such services: (The Age).

Commentary and Analysis

Radio host Neil Mitchell slammed the Catholic Church for its actions in continuing to oppose VAD and argued that any institution that accepts public money should have to work within the law (3AW).

Many terminally ill Australians, such as Dr Philippa Ramsay, feel that Victoria’s VAD laws don’t go far enough (The Saturday Paper).

John Keown, a professor of Christian ethics at Georgetown University, outlines the ‘slippery slope’ argument when it comes to the potential impact of Victoria’s VAD laws (ABC).

James Boyce explores how religious institutions have expanded their influence, especially in areas such as community services, even though Australians are turning away from religious belief. Far from the ‘walls closing in’, they’ve actually been coming down (The Saturday Paper).

Comparing the coalition’s spending on religious chaplains in schools versus its mental health programs shows how out of touch the government’s priorities are, writes Mathew Mackie (The Big Smoke).

That's it for another week!

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