Multifaith Leaders urge immediate release of refugees and asylum seekers still in detention – including those in the Park Hotel

immediate release of refugees and asylum seekers still in detentionMultifaith leaders and faith communities in Australia have recognised the plight of those in long term detention – particularly those who have endured many years of enforced containment in detention centres and hotels. A plea for a merciful solution is raised for those who are held for more than 8 years in detention.

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Tasmanian Way to St James pilgrim walk attracts global audience as virtual event

Tasmanian Way to St James pilgrim walk
Pilgrims walk from the Huon Valley to St James Church, Cygnet, Tasmania

People from all over the world are taking part in the virtual version of a Tasmanian pilgrimage this weekend.

The Way to St James from Mountain River to Cygnet was inspired by Spain’s Camino de Santiago.

COVID-19 has moved the Tasmanian event online, but pilgrims from around the world are connecting to share the experience.

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Health and Freedom of Religion and Belief: promoting health and well-being for all

International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities and discrimination. The world’s most vulnerable, including religious or belief minorities and indigenous peoples, have been disproportionately affected and left with even fewer possibilities for accessing preventative healthcare and treatment if they get sick. Health crises also often lead to an increase in harassment, discrimination and stigmatization of religious or belief communities, especially amongst women and girls. There will be an online discussion of this issue – with the lens of Freedom of Religion and Belief – online, on January 20, 2022

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Attorney general defends religious schools’ right to sack teachers for views on sexuality

Attorney General Michaelia Cash
Michaelia Cash’s department says religious discrimination bill does not affect the operation of the Sex Discrimination Act but that it ‘would allow a religious school to consider a person’s religious beliefs about issues such as sexuality’. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The Attorney General’s department also says changes to Sex Discrimination Act protecting gay students will be delayed until after religious discrimination bill. Michaelia Cash’s department also says changes to Sex Discrimination Act protecting gay students will be delayed until after religious discrimination bill.

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Best of 2021: Religious discrimination laws coming to the boil

Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison introduces the Religious Discrimination Bill in the House of Representatives in November last year. NSW and Tasmania fear the bill would override their state anti-discrimination laws Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Father Frank Brennan – Jesuit and human rights lawyer was a member of the expert panel chaired by Philip Ruddock to report on whether Australian law adequately protected the human right to freedom of religion writes about the current environment on Freedom of Religion – given the Victorian Government’s Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Amendment Bill 2021 and the proposed Religious Discrimination Act which is widely expected to be introduced in the next session of the Australian Parliament.

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New eco-theology book combines diverse views with best practices

Contemporary Ecotheology, Climate Justice and Environmental Stewardship in World Religions

A new volume—“Contemporary ecotheology, climate justice and environmental stewardship in the world”—is the latest of the continued fruits of the 6th International Conference on Ecological theology and Environmental Ethics, or Ecothee, which took place in September 2019 at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolymvari. This volume is available for full access and download.

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Care for Environment – Daoism

Dao Temple

Daoism has existed as a tradition in China for at least 2,500 years. It takes its name from the Dao or “The Way,” as described in the Dao De Jing, “The Classic of the Way and Its Power,” attributed to the legendary Laozi, which means simply “the Old Master.” This work of great depth and beauty is one of the most translated books in the world.

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Anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies aged 90

Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama

The Nobel laureate, often described as South Africa’s moral conscience, died in Cape Town on Boxing Day. Desmond Tutu, the South African cleric and social activist who was a giant of the struggle against apartheid, has died aged 90, prompting tributes from religious leaders, politicians and activists from around the world.

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Pope Francis calls for ‘dialogue’ to heal a divided world

Pope Francis gives his Christmas message

Pope Francis has used his Christmas message to decry increasing polarisation in personal and international relationships, saying only dialogue can resolve conflicts ranging from family feuds to threats of war. In his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message delivered on Saturday, Christmas Day, the head of the Catholic Church called on individuals and world leaders to talk to each other rather than dig in their heels, a distancing he said has been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Christmas Messages from Church Leaders

Christmas Messages from Church LeadersChristmas is with us once again. Church leaders remind us of that Jesus is the reason for the season, and not merry making and over-indulgence. It has been a year of challenges for churches – and indeed, for all faiths. Many religions – when Covid19 restrictions halted divine services – had to find new solutions to continue ministry and service to spiritual seekers. Here, we share two Christmas messages from Church leaders which bear witness not only to the Birth of Jesus, but also to the confrontations to the human situation we all face, together.

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Pope at Christmas night Mass: Jesus shows the way from littleness to greatness

Pope at Christmas night Mass

At the Mass during the Night for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Pope Francis reflects on how God comes into the world in littleness, as a tiny infant, drawing near to us to touch our hearts. The Pope celebrated the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica with a smaller congregation on hand in respect for health-safety rules.

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Interfaith Festivals – Christmas and New Year

Interfaith Festivals - Christmas and New YearAt this time, there are so many festivals centred around the time of Solstice, the Birth of Christ, the Death of the Prophet Zoroaster. Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Judaism are all represented with festivals at this time. In the New Year, there is the Shinto New Year observance, The Epiphany (Christmas for the Orthodox), the Rastafarian Christmas, the celebration of Guru Gobind Singh, the World Religion Day of the Baha’i and the Mahayana New Year of the Buddhists. Melkut shomain, the Reign of God is celebrated in many traditions.

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Stress at Christmas?

Stress at Christmas?
Interfaith includes people of all faiths, and of no faith (for these are people who practice human values, that which upholds human flourishing.) Many people join in the Christmas festivities. Yet, this is a stressful time for many – some with a newly diagnosed Covid infection, others stressed by demands to put on a lunch that satisfies all, still yet others who are in poverty. Here is an article about meditation – Silence is religiously neutral – and letting go of stress at this Christmas.

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2022 World Interfaith Harmony Week Lecture

World Interfaith Harmony Week Logo - smallProfessor Douglas Ezzy of University of Tasmania will deliver the 2022 World Interfaith Harmony Week lecture on Tuesday 1 February 2022, on the topic of Religious freedom, discrimination, and living well together. This will an online event, hosted by Religions for Peace Australia Victoria Branch, Tasmania Branch and the Multifaith Association of South Australia.

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TIME FOR LIVING THE CHANGE: Climate-Friendly Lives for People of Faith

Climate-Friendly Lives for People of Faith

Living the Change upholds two of our deepest convictions:

  • We believe the Earth is a sacred gift.
  • We believe each of us has the responsibility to live in a way that supports and sustains our common home.

While world leaders have agreed to keep global warming to a 1.5⁰C limit, current trends have us headed for at least twice that level and a truly devastating future. We urgently need a massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. Join people of faith creating climate-friendly lives.

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