Tuesday 9 August 2011

The Punch on the Census

Frank Gomez, a well known Sydney based atheist, secularist, humanist, ethics teacher and banker, wrote to day an excellent article on the cenus for The Punch. And it is not just excellent because it features www.whymarknoreligion.org, our meta FAQ on the census. And the comment section is definitely also worth a look.
Christian organisations, such as the ACL, who ask people to mark "Chrisitan" even if  they no longer practice their religion should at least be able to answer the following point that Frank raised:
If I say I am Catholic simply because I was raised Catholic, though I have not visited a church in 20 twenty years and I am deeply sceptical of the existence of a supernatural creator, then what are the Census results actually saying?
If Catholicism in particular, or Christianity in general, has become so watered down that they even ask atheists like me to mark the Christianity,  what do they stand for? Marking Christian would then become a bigger joke, than marking Jedi or Pastafarian.

Originally posted by ansgar

Friday 5 August 2011

Fund Raising for Bus Campaign on Track

Funds Raised for Sydney Atheists Bus

Last Saturday we launched the Sydney Atheists Bus campaign officially at Cafe Well Connected, in Glebe. It was not just a nice evening among free-thinker, but also raised more than $800. Thanks to everybody, especially to Murray for digging deep to get the two best seats on the bus.

The raised fund will comfortably cover the banners that will be attached to the bus; you see one of them here hanging prominently on Glebe Point Road. If you want to contribute to also cover the bus hire, feel free to donate.

Originally posted by ansgar

Monday 1 August 2011

Leslie Cannold reports from Chaplained schools

" While there are always exceptions to the rule, in my 14 years of teaching, I am not aware of a single Chaplain who has contributed any time to either PD or extra-curricular activites. Nor am I aware of a Chaplain completing a 4 year degree as we do. Yet, Chaplains are afforded all the priveleges of a teacher without the responsibilities.

These responsibilities include the Child Protection Policy. As a male teacher I am not permitted to sit with a female student one-on-one with the door closed to my office/room. I must keep the door open and must be in clear sight of other students or staff. School Chaplains do most of their 'counselling' one-on-one, out-of-sight and behind closed doors. This implies that while teachers cannot be trusted, those attached to a Christian church can be, despite the mounting number of sexual assaults on children perpetrated by the clergy."
read the rest on Leslie Cannold's blog

Originally posted by Ian Woolf

A Guide to the Census Guides

As you probably know, the 2011 census will take place on August 9th. Some of you may already have received the census forms. Even though the census has many questions, the religion question gets all the attention. Various groups have asked people to carefully consider which religion they mark; they should only mark religions they actually follow. You can see that the question hasn't been changed since 1971; seven of the possible answers are some form of Christianity. Even Christians have complained that they wouldn't know which denomination to choose. This was different in 1971, when Anglicans and Catholics considered each other separate species. Even though a few of them interbred succesfully.

Then there is the field "Other", which lets you fill in your religion of choice. But beware. The Australian Bureau of Statistics only accepts answers that follow their classification scheme. You can be an anarchist, calathumpian, infidel, or zilch (all code 7010 atheist), but you cannot be Jedi, or Pastafarian. If you fill in one of the latter, your answer will be ignored as "Not defined". And finally, you've got the field "No Religion". We advice to mark this field. That you follow no religion is all the ABS needs to know.

There are some great campaigns websites that will give you more information. First, of course the AFA website CensusNoReligion.org. The AFA is also responsible for the "Mark No Religion" billboards that you might have seen, and you might have seen Jason Ball on TV explaining the campaign. Also worth a visit is the Queensland Humanist Census-Campaign website. And finally, Reason Australia - the new umbrella organisation for free thinking groups - has information on the census on its website as well.

Furthermore, there are plenty of blogs that cover the topic. Just to mention three that are especially noteworthy. The first is Andrew Skegg's Guide to the Census. Browse his blog; he has more on the topic. Then there is Danny Allen's A Vote For Jedi Is A Vote For Jim Wallace. If you don't know who Jim Wallace is, he is the best advertising for reducing the influence of religion in politics. But remarkable is also Ravings and Rantings of &rew. Written by an engaged Anglican, who asks not to pretend to be Anglican, if you do not know or care what it means to be Anglican.

Finally, there is our own meta FAQ, a site that addresses the most common misconceptions. Go to WhyMarkNoReligion.org. You are welcome to add your own response to a common misconception. Simply give a tagline that expresses a misconception, and a measured response. My favourite misconception at this time is Mosques will be built everywhere, if you don't mark Christian. If you don't lie on your census form, then the terrorists win.

Originally posted  by ansgar