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. No Ordinary Garment: The Burqa and the Pursuit of Tolerance

    Peter Kurti | 01 Jun 2015 | Research Reports

    Individuals in a liberal society should enjoy the fundamental right to live in obedience to any religion of their choosing.... Read More...

  2. What are We Fighting For? Islamism and the Threat to Liberal Ideas

    David Kilcullen | 10 Feb 2015 | Occasional Papers

    This volume brings together two presentations and the introductions from an event hosted by the Centre for Independent Studies... Read More...

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. Independent Charities, Independent Regulators: The Future of Not-for-Profit Regulation

    Helen Andrews | 06 Feb 2014 | Issue Analysis

    Abolishing the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission is a necessary first step in fostering an independent... Read More...

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Opinion & Commentary

  1. There’s more to the burka than a choice of attire

    Peter Kurti | 03 Jul 2015 | The Australian

    National measures announced by the Abbott government in the past month, along with comments this week by the Prime Minister ... Read More

  2. My church is wrong to think coal is evil

    Peter Kurti | 01 Jul 2015 | The Daily Telegraph

    FEARFUL of falling out of step with the fashionable morality of other churches, Sydney Anglican diocese’s investment arm, ... Read More

  3. Our churches have fallen in love with climate change

    Peter Kurti | 15 May 2015 | The Spectator

    The sharp, carbon-edged truth is that the churches are keen to adopt climate change as a cause to help them connect with ... Read More

  4. It’s time to face up to the Muslim fault line

    Peter Kurti | 21 Apr 2015 | Daily Telegraph

    We were given a stark reminder on the weekend that our nation faces a growing threat to its security, when Victorian police ... Read More

  5. Paying lip service to the Holocaust

    Peter Kurti | 21 Feb 2015 | The Spectator

    Founded in October 1945, the United Nations may think its mission was shaped by the horrors of Auschwitz, but it did not ... Read More

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  1. The church and fossil fuels

    Peter Kurti | 03 Jul 2015

    Divestment from fossil fuels has become the moral weapon of choice in the armoury of ecclesiastical environmental activists ...

  2. Debate we have to have

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 May 2015

    The new appointments to counter home-grown terrorism are a clever and politically astute move that will facilitate the national ...

  3. Abbas no angel

    Peter Kurti | 22 May 2015

    Leaders customarily exchange gifts when they meet formally. So it would have been odd had Pope Francis and Palestinian President ...

  4. Anti-Semitism is much older than Israel

    Peter Kurti | 06 Mar 2015

    ‘Harry Potter’ star Miriam Margolyes has form. Noted for her vehement anti-Israel views, the Jewish actress didn’t ...

  5. For and against - but standing for what?

    Peter Kurti | 16 Jan 2015

    Amid the placards and pencils borne by the multitude in Paris, which principles were they professing to defend?...

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