Religious freedom push revs up

"We are making progress in this important work," Professor Patrick Parkinson told a Freedom For Faith (FFF) conference in Sydney this week. "I have been kept closely in touch with the Ruddock Inquiry. I have been kept informed by the Prime Minister's office and we have been making progress." Faith-based organisations should have a faith-based mission, he said, "but faith-based organisations have become industrial scale aged care, for example, is huge and only going to get bigger." Professor Parkinson takes up a new position as Academic Dean and Head of School for the University of Queensland Law School in July. The FFF includes various religions and is close to conservatives within the Catholic Church.

Those with no religion do not have such access to the Prime Minister's office.

Religious and secular groups launch EU freedom of belief campaign

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Politicial pressure to increase chaplaincy programs in schools

A push is on within the federal government to renew, and significantly boost, the "absolutely essential" school chaplaincy program in this year's budget.

The controversial initiative to insert religious chaplains into state schools - twice ruled invalid by the High Court - was  amended but continued under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, and cemented by Tony Abbott in the 2014 budget.

That budget committed more than $60 million a year to the project, affording an allowance of $20,000 per school for a religious chaplain to provide pastoral care and guidance for students.

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Children placed in religion classes agains parents' wishes.

Parents at a NSW public school say they have been left "horrified" after students were repeatedly placed in scripture classes against their parents' wishes and told they needed to have an interview with a deputy principal before they could attend non-scripture classes.
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Fiona  Patten MLA has introduced a Bill in Victorian Parliament to limit the category of  'charity'  to those organisations engaging in objectively charitable works, such as advancing health, education, social or public welfare.
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Victorian Upper House MP, Fiona Patten has read a Bill in the Victorian Parliament to amend the Charities Act 1978 to exclude the advancement of religion as a charitable purpose. This amendment will ensure that tax exemptions for charities in Victoria only apply to those organisations engaging in objectively charitable works.
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New report: 85 countries ‘severely discriminate’ against the non-religious

Those are the top-line findings of the 2017 Freedom of Thought Report, published today by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

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Melbourne Catholic archdiocese's inaction had 'catastrophic' consequences

The failure of senior figures within the Catholic archdiocese of Melbourne, including the former archbishop Thomas Francis Little, to deal with serious allegations of child sexual abuse "demonstrates the catastrophic human consequences of inaction", a report from the child sex abuse royal commission has found.
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Archbishop condemns 'Militant Secularism'

Archbishop, Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP, called on Australia's legal professionals to protect and defend religious freedom in an age of "militant secularism" during Monday's 'Red Mass' (Mass for judges to start the legal year).

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What does 'freedom of religion' really mean?

“Dishonesty should not be rewarded, yet a religious minority is flooding the Ruddock Review claiming their ‘freedom’ is denied,” says NSL ambassador and science communicator, Professor Paul Willis. Prof. Willis said it was “disingenuous at best” for church organisations to saturate this Religious Freedom Review with submissions based on fear, distortions, and claims not backed by evidence.

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"Christianity's history and place in Australia is already part of the National Curriculum, making some study of the Bible entirely consistent with adherence to the expected curriculum." There are a number of examples of where the Bible forms a natural part of Australia's national curriculum.
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The Vatican deals wih increasing need for exorcism

As a result of an alleged demonic epidemic, a six-day school will be held in Rome to train clergy in how to recognise and deal with the demonically possessed.
Requests for exorcisms had tripled in the past few years. There were now an estimated 500,000 alleged cases of demonic possession recorded in Italy each year.
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Religious freedom review appointee has argued for limited sharia law in Australia

The Turnbull government has appointed an academic who has argued that recognising religious freedom should include acceptance of a limited form of sharia law to the Ruddock review.
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