This is the year when we in Australia fill out the Census. The following is an email from the Australian Family Coalition.
‘There’s nothing new about a census. Even in the Gospels we read:
“And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled” (Luke 2:1).
What has changed over the years, though, are some of the questions asked.
The last census (2016) saw a controversial change to the question on religion, re-ordering the available options to place “no religion” as the first possible answer.
Leading though this change was (i.e. it probably encouraged more people to tick “no religion”), it’s unlikely to account for the total increase in “no religion”, which grew from 22.3% in 2011 to 30.1% in 2016.
It’s a fact that many Australians have lost affinity with their faith.
However, this current census has been accompanied by a slick online campaign to deliberately reduce the number of Aussies who tick a faith box.
Now, that’s a different matter from arguing for more accurate data – and one that begs a question:
Why would anyone spend their time and finances on a campaign other than to further sideline and remove the influence of faith – especially Christianity – from our society?
We know that not all AFC supporters are Christians or believers of any other faith.
We believe, however, that the role of faith in Australia is something that should concern everyone.
Removing the foundations of this nation – and the moral compass that has guided it – cannot be done without severe social consequences.
Even prominent atheist Richard Dawkins has made this point, once writing:
“Before we rejoice at the death throes of the relatively benign Christian religion, let’s not forget Hilaire Belloc’s menacing rhyme: ‘Always keep a-hold of nurse for fear of finding something worse’.”
On another occasion, Dawkins stated: “I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse”.
Unfortunately, this point is wasted on many of our elected representatives.
Only last week, Victorian MP Fiona Patten (of the poorly named ‘Reason Party’ and, formerly, of the ‘Sex Party’) attempted to remove the Lord’s Prayer from Parliament.
Her attempt was not defeated, but rather deferred, following a pledge from the Andrews Labor Government to remove the prayer from both houses of the Parliament should it win the next election.
Such a move would do little to remind politicians that they serve a purpose far larger than themselves – and that they are ultimately meant to BE servants.
It would also undermine Australia’s cultural heritage in much the same way as removing references to God from the Constitutional preamble would.
Conversely, retaining prayers acknowledges that Christian belief (regardless of any individual’s personal faith) has forged this country and should serve as a moral guide for decision-making.
So, with hostility to faith at palpable levels, what can we do practically?
The first thing involves the census.
If you feel any faith affiliation at all – even if you don’t regularly practice that faith – please tick the appropriate box on the census.
It’s also important to encourage your family and friends to do likewise.
If anyone needs further convincing as to why, Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney has written a helpful opinion piece HERE.
The second thing is to keep campaigning for freedom of religion & belief.
Our recently re-launched Freedom Declaration is now approaching 25,000 signatures.
This is a massive effort – but we’re not done yet!
We presented a similar document to the then Attorney-General Christian Porter in 2018, prior to draft legislation being circulated for comment.
We want the Freedom Declaration to make a similar impact, reminding federal MPs that the promise to safeguard freedom of religion and belief remains unfulfilled.
With a federal election approaching, the months ahead are crucial to making our case – and making ourselves heard.’https://www.austfamily.com.au/