Politicising the Census

The God-haters are at war against religion and the census:

Today is census day in Australia. Normally that would not be worth writing an article about, but we live in abnormal times. Today everything has been politicised. Even the census has succumbed to the culture wars and political correctness. I will explain why in a moment.

This is our 18th national census; the first one was done in 1911. It has been done twice a decade since 1961. It is a mandatory census – those who do not get it in on time will be fined several hundred dollars for every day it is not lodged.

This time 65 questions are being asked. It is the question about religion that has caused a big stink by the usual suspects. We now have the militants pushing a campaign to tell people how to fill in the census, at least when it comes to religion. Never before have we had activist groups seeking to influence the census in this way.

Their hatred of religion in general and Christianity in particular is never ending. They actually seem to think that unless folks pick “no religion” – which is at the top of the list of options – we will become, or perhaps already are, a dangerous theocracy wherein anyone without religion will be imprisoned or put to death. Um, these nutters must have Australia confused with places like Communist China or some Muslim-majority nation.

In terms of recent trends, here are what the previous three censuses have found in terms of religion:
2006 census – 63.9% marked Christian (of all stripes), while 18.7% said no religion.
2011 census – 61.1% marked Christian (of all stripes), while 22.3% no religion.
2016 census – 52.1% marked Christian (of all stripes), while 30% no religion.

So there has been some movement away from religious to non-religious. But of course “no religion” does not mean “atheist” – it includes all sorts of folks with various spiritualities that are not in formal or institutional religions. So the misotheists and atheists are not at all getting their totally atheistic heaven on earth any time soon – not by a long shot.

But the God haters are not deterred. Comedian Tim Minchin for example thinks that we must ‘de-Christianise’ the census results to ensure that Australia is a full-tilt secular society, and that evil religious people like Scott Morrison do not impose a theocracy on Australia.

In the meantime the head of the Rationalist Society has been praising satanism! Of course satanism IS a religious belief, just as secular humanism is. These folks are all over the place here. One recent report in the Australian speaks to these matters:

One of the leading voices behind the campaign urging people to mark “No Religion” on the 2021 Census has praised the principles of Satanism as “fantastic”, “progressive” and “sensible”. In a monthly Rationalist Australia webinar, President Meredith Doig discusses the “impact” of the campaign on sixth category religions including the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Satanism and Witchcraft with the leader of Census21, Michael Dove.

 

A vocal backer of the Census 21 drive for people to mark No Religion, Ms Doig said Satanism was having an important role in pushing for “equality and secularism”, before noting followers of the faith were already behind the campaign. “If anybody hasn’t actually read the principles of Satanism, they’re fantastic. They’re very sensible. They’re very secular, they’re liberal, progressive, all sorts of nice things. So, go Satanists,” Ms Doig said.

 

Despite all the hysteria and foaming at the mouth by the ‘god does not exist and I hate him’ brigade, Australia remains overwhelmingly a religious nation. And many have spoken out at this politicisation – or religionisation – of the census. The same article I quoted above went on to say this:

 

“It’s probably not surprising that those pushing the ‘no religion’ campaign are wildly supportive of Satanism,” Mr Sukkar told The Australian. “I suspect Australians will pay no attention to these strange fringe dwellers.” “The Census is for each household to complete honestly and without interference. So I would simply encourage all Australians to complete their own Census ­survey and ignore this bizarre campaign.”

 

Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher said the campaign was “misleading”, saying the push would “distort” the true picture of Australia. “But not only is this campaign deceptive, it also reduces our ability to get reliable information on where our people are, and so where we must concentrate infrastructure and services such as Catholic churches, schools, hospitals, aged care, welfare and pastoral care,” Dr Fisher said. “And by giving a distorted picture of who and where we are, the secularists hope to use the census as yet another excuse for denying believers a voice in the public square.”

 

Australian Christian Lobby national director Wendy Francis described the Census21 campaign as “out of step” and “out of touch” with “everyday Australians”, designed to “marginalise and exclude” people of faith. “The ‘tick no religion’ campaign is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The ‘no religion’ campaigners love the principles of Satanism, believing that it advances their causes. It reveals an out of touch agenda meant to marginalise people of faith in this country.”

Others have also spoken out. FamilyVoice said this:

FamilyVoice Australia is urging householders to tick one of the Christian faith boxes in the census form, to ‘resist militant atheism’ and promote ‘faith integrity’. “Ticking one of the Christian faith boxes is a vital way to resist militant atheism that is denying freedom to believers in Christ,” said FamilyVoice spokesperson David d’Lima.

 

“By indicating their faith, people of Christian persuasion lend influence that will challenge such moves as scrapping the Lord’s Prayer in the Victorian Parliament, and resist efforts to remove freedom of faith within independent education,” he said.

And the Australian Family Coalition put it this way:

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.

As mentioned, Anthony Fisher has also weighed in on this. On the Alan Jones show last night he continued to share his concerns:

Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher says it would be “absurd” for anybody who doesn’t go to church every week to tick ‘no religion’ in this year’s census. “Most Australians believe in God, Australia is not a Godless country, it’s not an entirely secularised country,” he told Sky News host Alan Jones. “Faiths play a big role in our community in terms of the social infrastructure, the charitable works, the spiritual life for many people.” www.skynews.com.au/opinion/alan-jones/most-australians-believe-in-god-sydney-catholic-archbishop/video/31b25e8c9efbfda1c2f82a7bce2c410b

Image of The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions
The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions by Berlinski, David (Author) Amazon logo

All that the ‘I hate God’ crowd are doing here is showing us all just how intolerant and exclusive they are. They do not care at all for a more welcoming and inclusive society. What they want is God kicked out of all public life – if not all private life as well.

Sorry folks, but last century saw grand experiments to try to bring about this very thing. And all it did was result in tyranny and the deaths of tens of millions of people. The attempts to establish an atheistic Mecca on earth always ends up in bloodshed and totalitarianism.

As David Berlinski (a secular Jew), put it in his brilliant 2008 book, The Devil’s Delusion:

What Hitler did not believe and what Stalin did not believe and what Mao did not believe and what the SS did not believe and what the Gestapo did not believe and what the NKVD did not believe and what the commissars, functionaries, swaggering executioners, Nazi doctors, Communist Party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Black Shirts, gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did not believe was that God was watching what they were doing. And as far as we can tell, very few of those carrying out the horrors of the twentieth century worried overmuch that God was watching what they were doing either. That is, after all, the meaning of a secular society.

Or as G. K. Chesterton nicely summarised things a century earlier in his superb 1908 volume Orthodoxy: “The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them. The Titans did not scale heaven; but they laid waste the world.”

Hilarious afterword

And this press release from Kenya has just come out:

This evening, regretfully, the Secretary of the Atheists In Kenya Society Mr. Seth Mahiga informed me that he has made the decision to resign from his position as Secretary of the society. Seth’s reason for resigning is that he has found Jesus Christ and is no longer interested in promoting atheism in Kenya.

 

We wish Seth all the best in his new found relationship with Jesus Christ. We thank him for having served the society with dedication over the last one and half years. The position of Secretary of the Society has been rendered vacant. We are calling upon Kenyan atheists who would wish to join our Executive Committee to send their CVs to info@atheistsinkenya.org.

Ha! God wins again!

[1709 words]

15 Replies to “Politicising the Census”

  1. Psalm 2 … why do they rage and plot in vain… the LORD shall hold them in derision…

  2. Bill, I’m surprised that no one has mentioned what I believe is very wrong about this question on religion. That is, except for writing “Christian” in the Other box, one cannot actually claim to be Christian. i personally, and I suspect, many many more, consider myself a Christian first and a denomination a far second.

    I believe the question should be put thus:
    What religion are you? Christian
    Buddhist
    Muslim
    etc I can’t remember the choices
    BUT if one ticks Christian, another drop down set of options should appear:
    Anglican
    Baptist
    Catholic
    Church of Christ
    and so on
    then last No religion

    what do you think?

  3. I agree with Jilba – which denomination we belong to is much less important than being a Christian first – I am a Christian who worships in a Uniting Church, with some reluctance, but I believe this is where God wants me at present. It is absolutely necessary and vitally important that we take a strong stand for God and Christianity in this issue.

  4. Since the God-haters referred to in this article readily admit to hating God, then I would like to firstly dedicate to them that nice little passage from Romans 1:28-32 which addresses them specifically. Secondly, I would like to dedicate to them all those nice little cursing psalms – “O Lord, thou God of vengeance, thou God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth: render to the proud their deserts! O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exalt? They pour out their arrogant words, they boast, all the evildoers…”

  5. Jilba has an excellent point. Might as well bring that one up in the next weekly installment of CultureWatch Radio. (Nobody tip Bill off in advance, okay? We gotta keep it fresh.)

  6. For people who don’t believe in God they sure spend a awful lot of time talking about him and hating him. Mention any fictional being – Superman, Loki, some other Marvel or DC character – and it won’t phase them BUT mention Jesus or God and they tear into a rage. On some level they must know he exists and that HE, not they, is Supreme. Otherwise their actions are simply illogical.

    Jilba if I was in Australia I would want on a drop down under Christianity … Protestant with no need for further delineation. That is how I classify myself.

  7. I answered as above by writing Christian in the other box. Simple but should have been unnecessary and been a primary option with if denomination, if it was actually needed, followed by a drop down box with a further selection available.

    A comment on the politicisation of the bureaucracy is why were the other religions not separated by denominations, perhaps a little prejudice to skew the results and combined with immigration policy further convince the decision makers that we were not founded and continue to be a Christian nation.

  8. I sort of rushed through my census but as I recall there was no option for “atheist” as a religious belief.

    Atheists, of course, like to consider that their beliefs are not religious in nature for various reasons but one is that it enables them to circumvent the separation of church and state principle. The Australian ABC, for example, routinely exploits this to promote atheist-zealot scientists and others while routinely excluding theists. This is, in fact, the complete opposite of the religious establishment prohibition but they get away with it because they deceitfully represent atheistic beliefs as not religious in nature but, in reality, they are establishing atheistic religious belief and getting away with it.

    This similarly occurs in schools and other educational institutions as well. They pretend, as most religions do, that their beliefs are scientific when, of course, there is no scientific evidence that God does not exist – quite the reverse, but they get away with it because people do not understand that atheism is simply the religious belief that God does not exist. It may encompass other beliefs, including pagan beliefs, but it is still a religious belief.

    My personal experience suggests that the claimed religious “nones” are mostly agnostics who don’t want to seek God because they believe it will interfere with their “lifestyle” and are not, in fact, atheists but be that as it may, theists really do need to stop atheists from getting away with their government sponsored establishment of atheistic religious belief.

  9. My husband was raised Catholic, as was I. He now describes himself as atheist in the actual meaning of the word, i.e. not a theist, not a believer in the existence of God or the supernatural. He stopped believing in his 20s, somewhat ironically after completing a diploma in theology so he could teach religious studies as a school teacher. He ticked ‘No religion’ in the census.

    I’m no longer a practising Catholic. The many scandals put paid to that. I looked into Anglicism but concluded they were not much different. I went to Hillsong a few times but it seems like a commercial entertainment company using religion to make money.

    I considered marking Catholic in the census but decided No Religion was the best description. Perhaps Agnostic would be closer but it’s not on the list.

    I’m not sure why the religion question is in the Census. It would hardly be of much use in planning religious schools since the question is not framed that way, Perhaps I’ll ask my local member what purpose it serves.

  10. Thanks Carmel. As I said in a recent interview about this matter, “no religion” certainly does not simply equate to only “atheist”. There are all sorts of people who are still religious or spiritual in various ways who might check “no religion.” And agnosticism is a much more useful and intellectually honest position to hold to than atheism. The former says I just do not know for sure if God exists or not. The latter arrogantly says, ‘I DO know for sure – end of the matter.’

    As to scandals in the church, we must keep focused on Christ. We don’t stop going to doctors altogether when we read about certain abusive doctors here and there. See this article for more on this: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2021/08/12/on-church-scandals-and-scandalous-christians/

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