An example from Australian Census Form
An article appears on the website of the Rationalist Society of Australia advising people who will be filling in 2011 Census Forms to make sure your interests are met in decision-making and funding, and that views you don’t hold are not over-represented in the coming years.
(they tell us) If you don’t actively participate in religion on a regular basis, mark “No Religion”.
WHY WOULD AN ORGANISATION SUGGEST YOU DO THIS?
The Rationalists tell us: Because how you answer this Census question will influence decisions by Australian governments and many other entities. Often the transfer of taxpayer money to religious organisations is justified on the basis of the Census results, as are special concessions and exemptions like the right to discriminate against some groups.
(ah I see….. there has been a huge push for same sex marriage, same sex couple adoptions etc…. euthanasia too, in the media of late), continue reading and you will see that the people who want these changes brought into law are non-theists who say they feel marginalised!
Non-theist concerns get marginalised not because there aren’t many of us, but because policy makers don’t realise just how many of us there are. Getting accurate and representative numbers means that when politicians are formulating policies, they have to consider the implications of losing the non-religious vote as well as their usual concern about the religious vote. It means there’s potential to have more influence on issues that typically have a strong support base amongst the non-religious — like dying with dignity, normalising gay marriage, secularising school chaplaincy and replacing Special Religious Instruction with general religious education.
Reading further on their web site you will discover some rather strongly worded claims in regards to tax payer monies and charities per se.
What is the data on religion used for?
Data on religious affiliation is used for planning educational facilities, aged care and other social services provided by religion-based organisations; the location of church buildings; the assigning of chaplains to hospitals, prisons, armed services and universities; the allocation of time on public radio and other media; and sociological research.
Taking that statement to its logical conclusions:
For example if 1,000,000 Muslims were to ‘tick’ their box and some extremely large number of Australians ticked ‘no religion’, very soon Islam would be considered Australia’s largest religion, more Mosques and Islamic schools and radio programmes and television shows would be devoted to the Muslim way of life.
The Rationalist asks:
If I mark “No Religion”, will this undermine the good work religions do?
While many religious groups perform helpful and much needed charity work, a lack of transparency and accountability makes it impossible to determine exactly how much is spent on charitable works versus spending on church buildings, wages, allowances and businesses. It is estimated that some $30 billion a year remains untaxed due to exemptions enjoyed by religious organisations.
The problem is all religions and all religious works are classified as charities. Even unusual religions like the Church of Scientology get tax exemptions. Classifying all religions as charities is an idea that goes back to medieval times – it’s based on a law that was first promulgated in the time of Elizabeth I in 1601! Hardly reflective of a modern society committed to democratic principles of transparency and accountability.
Having retired from working in a Christian Environment after seventeen years myself, I can vouchsafe the number of ‘checks and balances’ and the mountain of paperwork that gets filled in, to ensure not one cent of government money gets used for purposes other than those to which they have been ascribed.
I wonder also how men and women who give their lives over to Christian values and the evangelical work of the Gospel, as in chaplaincy, hospital visitation, prison ministry etc would feel hearing that their ‘good works’ predate the founding of Christianity?
What if I identify with ‘Christian values’?
Values such as ‘love thy neighbour’ and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you‘ are shared by many religions, cultures and societies throughout history. Many of our modern values are actually based on ancient Greek philosophies that pre-date the Christian era.
The Rationalists also say when it comes to Children’s faith: Children should be counted as “No Religion”.
This is because children’s capacity to understand complex concepts only develops around age 12 to 14. Until then, they are unlikely to understand the full ramifications of religious belief and it’s both unfair and inaccurate to assume they accept the religious affiliation of their parents.
In Australia there are about 4 million children under 14 years of age. That is about 20% of the population that should be marked as having ‘No Religion’.
Another stance I seriously disagree with as children who are brought up in a Christian Household are loved and ‘covered’ by The Saving Blood of Jesus Christ. That – in my understanding enables them to claim Christ as their Lord and Saviour = Christian!
In Exodus 12:13 we can extrapolate that if the House is ‘covered by the blood’ that also means the children as well. Therefore you must acknowledge that your children are Christian on the census form.
Skeptics often object that belief in the Christian God or any god at all, is a matter of having blind faith without any rational reason for one’s beliefs. But faith doesn’t have to be blind. God created us with thinking minds and he wants us to use them, and he gives us reason to believe in him.
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. KJV
The census is important for many reasons, but there is a concerted effort both here and in the UK to change the way in which people will answer the section on their personal religion. If we do not stand firm and show our true identity, not being ashamed to claim Christ as Lord and Saviour, then we will have no one other than ourselves to blame when civil society – discards Christianity totally for a faith less society with all the ramifications associated with it.
Same Sex Marriage – Same Sex Parents – Legalised Euthanasia – Transgender Rights – and the list will keep growing. Your legal rights and responsibilities towards your children may become lost to the rights of the State and you will have no say in it. Already vaccinations are being made compulsory and the micro-chip will be with us very soon.
It is essential that you stand up and be counted – Christian Values arrived in Australia with the First Fleet and are well entrenched in the law and constitution of this land we call Australia.
Mark The Box on the census form with the correct descriptor. Stand up and be counted please.
Australian 2006 Census
Religion by Count of Persons:
Religion by Percentage: