The Centre for Research in Religion and Social Policy provides a means of engaging with the issues of the contemporary world – by stimulating research and engagement activity across the whole institution and by building external partnerships. 


Research Themes

These themes help RASP focus our research efforts but are not exclusive. 

View 2017-2018 Research Themes

RASP event


The Centre will run an intentional program of events throughout the year.

View upcoming events



Revd Dr Gordon Preece was appointed the Director of the Centre. 

More about Gordon

End of Life CHOICES

For Australia and many other countries, a significant contemporary issue is the consideration of legislation enabling voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. With such legislation currently before the Victorian Parliament, there is an urgency for debate with wide community participation, informed by rigorous scholarship at the religion-social policy interface – this is RASP’s, the University of Divinity’s Centre for Research in Religion and Social Policy, raison d’etre.

On Thursday 29 June RASP hosted a major public conversation between two world-renowned bioethicists, Professor Peter Singer and Professor Margaret Somerville. The event was chaired by John Cleary, long-time ABC presenter and creator of the original Religion Report.

Some 400 members of the public attended and were able to ask questions from the presenters.

Watch the live-stream of the event by clicking on the image.

Read articles from members of RASP on Euthanasia and Assisted Dying →

Peter Singer

The Victorian government’s proposed legislation would allow doctors to act on patients’ requests for prescription drugs that, should they choose to take them, would bring about their peaceful death.

Similar legislation has existed in the American state of Oregon for 20 years, and in neighbouring Washington for 8 years.  More recently, California, Vermont and Colorado have followed Oregon’s example, as has Canada. Some European countries also permit doctors to help patients to end their lives.

Read Peter Singer's Address →

Margaret Somerville

The euthanasia physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia (PAS-E) debate involves a conflict between respect for individual autonomy and respect for human life. Pro-PAS advocates give priority to autonomy, anti-PAS-E adherents to respect for life.

Pro PAS-E argue PAS-E are medical treatments, just extensions of palliative care. Anti PAS-E disagree seeing doctors killing patients or helping them to kill themselves as a seismic disruption of our foundational societal values and a radical change in the ethos of medicine.

Read Margaret Somerville's Address →

Faith and Society

Private and Public Religion in Law and Theology

A lecture by Dr Lombardo Benson PhD, DD University of South Africa (Pretoria)

RASP | 21 February 2018


Read about current issues in religion and social policy from members of RASP and the University of Divinity. The University consists of eleven colleges representing a diverse range of Christian traditions so most blogs will reflect the perspective of our members but in engagement with a range of other perspectives. Contributors should send article material to the Director of RASP, Revd Dr Gordon Preece.

Disclaimer: The University of Divinity does not accept any responsibility or liability for the opinions expressed in these pages.

In the news

Read about current issues involving religion and social policy in the news in Australia and around the world.