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New website urges Australians to Keep Religion Out of Politics

A new website - http://CensusNoReligion.org - has been designed as a resource for interested Australians in the lead up to the next Australian Census being held on 9 August 2011. It gives people information about how the results of this question can be misused to allocate funds, overstate the number of actively religious people in Australia, and exaggerate the importance of religion in modern Australia.

AFA launches new website

The Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) has launched a new website designed to encourage individuals and families to think about the importance and impact of their answer to the Census question: "What is the person's religion?"

This campaign is part of a wider education and communication campaign being run by the Atheist Foundation of Australia that draws attention to the fact that the wording of this question means many people will select the religion of their baptism or initiation at youth, despite not being a religious person at all.

This website - http://CensusNoReligion.org - has been designed as a resource for interested Australians in the lead up to the next Australian Census being held on 9 August 2011. It gives people information about how the results of this question can be misused to allocate funds, overstate the number of actively religious people in Australia, and exaggerate the importance of religion in modern Australia.

AFA President David Nicholls said, "Data from the Census is used by parliamentarians and religious leaders to sway politics and social policy in favour of complying with religious tenets and ecclesiastical notions. In fact in many cases, it makes a situation where a decision that should rely on empirical evidence is overridden by religious demands.

"The coming Census in Australia is an important chance to make sure your interests are met in decision making and funding and that views you do not hold are not over-represented in the coming years," Nicholls said. "I encourage everyone to visit the website and make sure they are informed of the implications of their answers, and if you are not religious now to mark 'No religion' on August 9."

For more information go to: http://CensusNoReligion.org

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Comments

Every term at primary school I was obliged to fill in a form stating my father's occupation, my address and my religion. The problem was that I wasn't sure which category I fitted into. I tried a variety of Christian denominations- rotating 4 I knew of several times or put down whatever sounded good on the day.The teachers never asked me why my religion kept changing ! One day after yet another form filling school day I half seriously upbraided my father for having left me in the ignominious position of not knowing my category. He replied that if I wanted a label then I could go and get one any time I wanted and I could have any one I wanted. I was free to choose! Having been given this carte blanche, I was no longer interested since the appeal of a label to me was that it was something one was given,not what one chose. I declined and from that moment,overcame any desire for a religious label. I wonder what I have missed out on by not belonging to a religious tribe,nor following mysterious learned rituals nor experiencing the immediate acceptance when a signal heralding religious allegiance is immediately understood by a stranger.

"Data from the Census is used by parliamentarians and religious leaders to sway politics and social policy in favour of complying with religious tenets and ecclesiastical notions". The Census is about statistics and demographics and is not political. The solution for atheists and skeptics is simply to put "no religion" in this question box. Surely it is the job of politicians, idealistically, to represent the needs and opinions of the people of Australia. Whether that happens in reality is debatable. Governments need to be secular, and neutral, but this does not mean people are not spiritual beings, or are all non-religious. It is still quite a valid, but optional, question to ask.

The cartoon is a very appropriate representation of the Atheist Foundation of Australian(AFA). Atheism has been around long before religion even started, yet still has not been able to set up any organisation to help those in need.

After reading about the AFAs opinion of the Wesley Mission in Australia, I have the following to say about the AFA.

The AfA came into being into 1970, ample time set up an agency for screening suitable families as foster families. Yet has done nothing what so ever in that field. Has the AFA ever applied to any government agency for funding to start a foster agency? No. Rather than try and destroy an organisation, like the Wesley Mission, that is trying to help children, rather then tell that organisation they are wrong, the AFA should start its own foster parent organisation. If the AFA and its members are so intelligent and caring, they should easily be able to do so.

There is a traditional Australian adage that goes like this: "put up or shut up." I suggest David Nicholls take heed of this part of the Australian culture and stop whining like a 5 year old, grow up and start putting his own words into action. This is the adult thing to do. Either the David Nicholls and the AFA start their own foster care agency or they should shut up.

Regardless of there being no god, religious organisations like the Wesley Mission, Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Salvation Army, Local Baptist and United Church groups, put a lot of time and effort into helping the 'down and out' in our society. And even though the Government does give such organisations money, a lot of the work done at these organisations is done voluntarily, I personally know of one such women, a Methodist, who started her volunteer work in the 1940's and still continues to do so today. The AFA and its members are full of rhetoric, I would use the word dribble to describe what they say, but none of them have any substance in what they say.

Finally the AFA is not an Atheist organisation. By its own definition it is an agnostic organisation that has decided to hijack and redefine the word atheist along agnostic lines.