Weekend Wrap for 25 May 2019

Welcome to our first edition of the Weekend Wrap! Each week, we’ll try our best to keep you – our secular supporters – up to date with what’s happening on relevant issues, important legislation in our parliaments and commentary in the media and elsewhere. Just a little bit of light reading for the weekend!

It's been a big week. What else is there to do but take a leaf out of Scott Morrison's book and ask:

👍 "How good is secularism?!" 👍

If you're part of the overwhelming majority of Australians who think the separation of church and state is a pretty darn good thing, then the election result of last weekend is cause for concern.

We know that there are secularists across all parties. But we also know that the coalition’s position on ‘religious freedom’ and eagerness to enshrine into law a Religious Discrimination Act (precise contents unknown) should be of deep concern for secular Australians.

We hope our Weekend Wrap can contribute to keeping secular Australians informed on the issues that matter to us. If you come across something that you think we should share in the next edition, send a message to our inbox. The Weekend Wrap is also published on our new 'Secular Spotlight' blog.

From the Capital

The religiously-loaded language of Prime Minister Morrison has re-energised religious communities and influenced the election outcome, says Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) director Martyn Iles.

The ACL claims the Morrison government’s re-election as a win for ‘religious freedom’.

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen claims that progressive politics has abandoned people of faith and urges Labor to re-connect with them. Labor’s Anthony Chisholm rejected the argument.

On a brighter note, Lyle Shelton (and the Australian Conservatives as a whole) failed to win a place in the Senate.

Around the Country

WA: Ministers of religion will be required to report child sexual abuse under proposals by the Labor government.

VIC: Reason Party MP Fiona Patten enjoyed a win last month in nudging the Victorian parliament to get rid of the Lord’s Prayer at the opening of each day’s session. The government agreed for the Procedure Committee to examine the matter. Minister Gavin Jennings told parliament: “We recognise that there are contested views in the chamber about the appropriateness of the prayer and its contemporary relevance and appropriateness in the context of the multifaith nature of the Victorian community and the cultural diversity of the state…”

Commentary and Analysis

How might we expect Morrison’s Pentecostalist beliefs to shape his actions as Prime Minister? Well, for one, the climate emergency wouldn’t register, writes Philip Almond in The Conversation. End-of-the-world stuff is just part of God’s plan.

LGBTIQ advocate Rodney Croome points out that the coalition has no ‘religious freedom’ mandate as it did not put to voters its case for the issue or its desire for a Religious Discrimination Act.

Until next time, spread the "good news" on Secularism and if you can, please consider helping us raise the secular profile.

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