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.


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,…

A Shy Hope in the Mind: Secularisation and the Diversity of Australia’s Religious Economy
Peter Kurti
12 June 2018 | AP1

There are few facets of human society — whether political, social, or economic — that are untouched by the influence of religion. Yet those who oppose any appearance of religion in the Australian public square argue that it simply has no part to play in…

Media & Commentary

Folau free speech debate: both sides need to show tolerance
Simon Cowan, Monica Wilkie
21 April 2019 | CANBERRA TIMES

It will be deeply ironic if rugby union star Israel Folau is fired for condemning a bunch of various categories of ‘sinners’ to hell unless they repent. After all rugby…

From British race patriotism to inclusion: we are not a racist nation
Tom Switzer
20 April 2019 | SMH

“Racist” is a powerful accusation to make against anyone, but since the Christchurch terrorist attack it has been frequently applied to Australia’s political mainstream. Hardly a day goes by without…

Abide with the left - or be crucified.
19 April 2019

Easter is the perfect time for protest and dissent. Yes, it’s when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus — but the Galilean teacher was crucified because he had provoked anger…

Israel Folau and the tyranny of tolerance
Peter Kurti

Rugby Australia’s attempt to remove Israel Folau from the game is now being presented as nothing more than a matter of contract law. First determine what it was that Folau…

Tolerance = silencing
Peter Kurti
17 April 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Easter is a celebration that has brought hope to billions of people. But before the hope, there was anger, intolerance, and hatred that led to crucifixion. What has changed since…