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.


  1. A Quartet of Freedoms: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Association and Conscience

    Jeremy Sammut, Peter Kurti, Robert Forsyth | 16 Oct 2014 | Occasional Papers

    An aggressive secular culture, combined with the diminished standing of religious organisations in Australia, is putting... Read More...

  2. The Forgotten Freedom: Threats to Religious Liberty in Australia

    Peter Kurti | 01 Jul 2014 | Policy Monographs

    When religious followers try to express their beliefs about topics such as same-sex marriage, they are frequently met with... Read More...

  3. Multiculturalism and the Fetish of Diversity

    Peter Kurti | 10 Dec 2013 | Policy Monographs

    Multiculturalism began as a response to the White Australia policy and continues to enjoy public support. But a new, ‘hard’... Read More...

  4. In the Pay of the Piper: Governments, Not-for-Profits, and the Burden of Regulation

    Peter Kurti | 23 Apr 2013 | Issue Analysis

    Reforms intended to boost confidence in Australian charities risk turning the charitable sector into just another arm of... Read More...

  5. What Kind of Religion Is Free in the Public Square? A Warning from the United States

    Ryan Messmore | 06 Mar 2013 | Occasional Papers

    In the 14th Acton Lecture, Dr Ryan Messmore, President of Campion College, asks what kind of religion is free in the public... Read More...

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Opinion & Commentary

  1. Comment: Struggle against Islamist ideology will last centuries

    Benjamin Herscovitch | 06 Oct 2014 | Online Opinion

    Combating Islamic State’s deadly global reach gets more urgent by the day.... Read More

  2. Tolerance squeezing out conviction

    Peter Kurti | 10 Jul 2014 | On Line Opinion

    Australian courts look to be taking a more restrictive view of religious liberty as they seek to strike a balance.... Read More

  3. Right to religious freedoms can play havoc with new laws

    Peter Kurti | 04 Jul 2014 | The Australian

    The US Supreme Court has reignited debate in America about the fundamental human right to freedom of religion.... Read More

  4. Don’t let freedom of religion become a dangerous idea

    Peter Kurti | 01 Jul 2014 | The Daily Telegraph

    Sometimes it is freedom of religion that needs to be protected from undue interference and restriction by the state.... Read More

  5. The Forgotten Freedom: Defending Religious Liberty against Aggressive Secularism

    Jeremy Sammut | 23 Jun 2014 | ABC Online

    The High Court's recent decision about the constitutionality of the school chaplaincy program has revived the debate about ... Read More

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  1. The Prime Minister might be a feminist

    Cassandra Wilkinson | 03 Oct 2014

    The Prime Minister has attracted some ire previously by calling himself a feminist. This week he once again proved he either ...

  2. Antisemitic abuse demands our leaders' condemnation

    Peter Kurti | 15 Aug 2014

    Antisemitism is a scourge fuelled by bigotry, malice and hatred. All political leaders must condemn it unequivocally if their ...

  3. Freedom to believe must mean freedom to practice

    Peter Kurti | 04 Jul 2014

    The right to religious liberty is not an absolute right and must always be balanced against other rights and freedoms enjoyed ...

  4. Truly dangerous ideas don't condemn girls to death

    Jeremy Sammut | 27 Jun 2014

    Using the Opera House to provide a platform for someone to justify and excuse murder is an intolerable violation of the basic ...

  5. Will defunding school chaplains mean smaller government?

    Simon Cowan | 20 Jun 2014

    Why should taxpayers fund the general provision of religious services anywhere? ...

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