Religion and Civil Society

Religion and Civil Society investigates the implications of a liberal understanding of freedom for religion in civil society. We also seek to analyse the extent and nature of religion as a form of social capital in the public sphere.

Anti-Semitism and religious hatred in Australia have been recent topics of research, along with broader questions as to the meaning and value of religion in Australia.


CRACKING UP? Culture and the Displacement of Virtue
Peter Kurti
09 July 2019 | AP4

Unease has been growing that something has changed for the worse in our culture. The change is perceptible but often defies precise description; yet it provokes this unease because of a concern that the foundations of our common social life have become unstable. This sense…

Why God is Good for You
Greg Sheridan
28 November 2018 | OP169

Conversation with The Australian’s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan and CIS senior research fellow Peter Kurti on the intellectual, historical and cultural case for belief in God. Australia and many parts of the West are losing faith in God. And yet the Judeo-Christian tradition has created and underpinned the moral and legal…

A Test of Maturity: The liberal case for action on religious freedom
Robert Forsyth
31 July 2018 | PP8

Australia has long enjoyed religious freedom in practice without robust legal protections. Such protections as there are, are found in anti-discrimination law, usually as exemptions. However freedom of religion remains vulnerable to accusations of prejudice, bigotry and discrimination when the views and practices of religious…

Millennials and socialism: Australian youth are lurching to the left
Tom Switzer, Charles Jacobs
20 June 2018 | PP7

The 20th century’s failed experimentations with socialism serve as a strong lesson that, despite its idealistic promises of equality, the ideology has led to nothing but oppression and poverty. However Australian Millennials have remained relatively unaffected by socialism’s shortcomings. The oldest were aged only nine…

Without Fear or Favour: Practising your Faith and your Profession
Debra Mullins
20 June 2018 | OP165

The adequacy of religious freedom protections in Australia has been now reviewed by the Ruddock Inquiry established by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the same-sex postal survey in later 2017. By late June June 2018, however, the government had yet to release Ruddock’s findings. Nonetheless,…

Media & Commentary

Beware the ‘bill of rights’ trap when debating freedom of religion
Lukas Opacic
12 September 2019 | Spectator

Two recent events have exposed some serious misunderstandings on both the right and left about how Australia’s human rights protections work — and have unhelpfully revived calls to introduce a…

Left-wing Antisemitism rising
Peter Kurti
23 August 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Evidence is mounting that antisemitism is on the rise. For a recent example, a CNN poll found that “more than a quarter of Europeans say Jews have too much influence…

The Forgotten Freedom No More
Jeremy Sammut
19 July 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

As a think tanker, I sometimes jokingly refer to myself as a fact grubber and barrow pusher who is necessarily consumed by the nuts and bolts of key public policy…

What’s happening to our live-and-let-live culture?
Peter Kurti
12 July 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Free speech is being closed down in the name of preventing ‘hate speech’; bonds of trust in commercial life are broken, and religion is now so divisive that a new…

Israel Folau: Moral compass all askew as virtue is eclipsed by values
Peter Kurti
06 July 2019 | The Australian

Unease is growing in Australia that something has changed for the worse in our live-and-let-live culture. The seismic shifts giving rise to this pervasive anxiety seem to have been coming…