Vale, Gary Bouma
One of Australia’s preeminent sociologists of religion, Professor Gary Bouma, passed away recently.
Professor Bouma’s colleagues and friends have remembered him as a generous and rigorous academic who was always encouraging of others.
His research interests included interfaith relations, pluralism, and freedom of belief. He was also an ordained Anglican minister.
He was the UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Interreligious Relations – Asia Pacific and Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Monash University. He was also President of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions and Chair, Board of Directors for The Parliament of the World’s Religions, which took place in Melbourne in 2009.
Professor Bouma was an advocate for same-sex marriage and for the rights of LGBT people, as well as the rights of women. On 12 August, he wrote in a Facebook post that the Australian Government’s proposed ‘Freedom of Religion’ Bill “prioritises the ‘religious’ views of a small and shrinking minority and to allow them to discriminate against others.”
He was also the author of over 20 books and was awarded an AM for services to sociology as an academic, to inferfaith dialogue, and to the Anglican Church of Australia.
One of the last pieces he contributed to before his death sought to get people to carefully consider what they answer for the Census question regarding religion, a multiple author piece written for the ABC’s website.
Insights sends condolences to Gary Bouma’s friends and family.