Religion and Civil Society

The Centre for Independent Studies’ Religion and Civil Society program investigates the implications of a liberal understanding of freedom for religion in civil society.

We 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.


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…

Reason, Repentance, and the Individual: Recovering the Religious Roots of Western Civilisation
Peter Kurti
23 November 2017 | OP160

Reason, repentance, and the individual are three of the principal roots of Western civilization. They are, moreover, roots that are set firmly in the rich soil of our Judeo-Christian heritage. But the danger is that as our commitment to that heritage weakens, so, too, does…

Acton Lecture 2017: Civic Virtues and the Politics of ‘Full Drift Ahead’
Iain Benson
19 June 2017 | OP155

Today almost everyone affirms the importance of ‘values’ but few would insist these are shared moral essentials.  How is it that the most common term of our political and even private moralities became so relativistic and what, in anything, could be offered as an alternative?…

Media & Commentary

Can’t unscramble the faith omelette
Peter Kurti
06 July 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Symbols of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, Eure, France, Europe How best to protect the fundamental human right to religious liberty is a key area of enquiry for the…

We’re still God’s country
Peter Kurti
18 June 2018 | Daily Telegraph

Opponents of religion say God no longer matters in our society. After all, the 2016 census did show the number of Australians reporting ‘No religion’ had gone up to over…

Religion is far from finished
Peter Kurti
15 June 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Opposition to religion is often based on claims that it no longer matters in today’s society. It’s true that the percentage of Australians reporting ‘No religion’ went up from over…

Time offers no escape from justice over sex abuse
Peter Kurti

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson’s conviction sends a loud and clear message about accountability. That Wilson is facing jail for covering up historic acts of sexual abuse perpetrated by fellow priest…

Gaza slides further into violence, poverty and despair
Peter Kurti
18 May 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Sustained violence in protests along a series of staging points on the Gazan border with Israel has been deliberately orchestrated by Hamas, the terror group with political control of Gaza.…