God Forbid Podcast | Holy hot potatoes: Freedom edition


Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free! But how free are we really? James Carleton sits down with an Opus Dei bishop and a Uniting Church theologian to find out what happens when anti-discrimination, freedom of speech and freedom of religion clash.

In this episode:

The inverted red crosses at Dark Mofo in Hobart have ruffled a few Christian feathers, but nobody’s taking them down. But is it fair to deliberately antagonise a religious group for the sake of it?

The ACT has legislated to compel religious institutions to report all allegations of child sexual abuse to the ombudsman — including those made in the confessional. But Catholic clergy say it’s government overreach, and they’d rather go to jail than violate the seal of confession.

As Ireland votes to allow abortion for the first time since 1861, New South Wales parliament votes to restrict protests in front of abortion clinics.

So what are Christians morally opposed to abortion supposed to do? And what about Christian feminists?

The gay wedding cake dilemma pushes the very limits of rights-based discourse. In the US, the Supreme Court ruled one baker — Jack Phillips — is not obliged to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that every baker can withhold service for religious reasons.

Supporting Information

Read more from Liam Elphick on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission case on ABC News: America’s ‘gay wedding cake’ court decision and what it means for Australia.


Most Rev Bishop Richard Umbers, auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. The youngest Catholic bishop in Australia and Australia’s first ever bishop from Opus Dei.

Rev Dr Robyn Whitaker, senior lecturer in biblical studies and Academic Dean at Trinity College Theological School at the University of Divinity.


James Carleton


Rohan Salmond

About God Forbid

Religion: it’s at the centre of world affairs, but profound questions still remain. Why are you here? What happens when you die? Does God matter? The ABC’s podcast, God Forbid, seeks the answers.

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