Census: The current census data does not accurately reflect our country’s religious views

The Census21 Alliance say that the current census data does not accurately reflect our country’s religious views.

VIDEO: As author, comedian and maths geek Adam Spencer says, the census is your opportunity to be counted. Let’s be honest with ourselves and with the country.

"This is due to a large number of Australians marking that they belong to a religion in the census when in fact they no longer really practise or hold those beliefs. "Census data is used by government and many other organisations to inform a wide range of important decisions like the amount of public funding religious organisations receive, to the voice and influence religion is given in public affairs and media. "The next Australian Census will be held on Tuesday 10th August 2021 and we need it to accurately reflect what Australians truly believe. "So, when you’re filling in the census and you come to the question on religion, this is your chance to think carefully and decide whether you still see yourself as religious. "If you don’t see yourself as religious anymore, this census, mark ‘No Religion’. Census21 Alliance offers : Five good reasons to mark ’No Religion’

  1. Let’s get it right – The Australian Census is only held every five years and it collects important data on our nation. It’s critical that we get it right.

  2. Fairness in public funding – when religious organisations are attributed more support than they actually have, they receive an unfair amount of public funding.

  3. Fairness in voice and influence – incorrect data also gives religious organisations a stronger voice and more influence than they actually deserve.

  4. Let’s be honest – Australians deserve honest answers about the views we hold towards religion.

  5. Do it for you – Marking ‘No Religion’ in this year’s census can be a moment of personal clarity and liberation for you.

Why is answering the religion question important? You are not required to answer the religion question, but religion statistics from the Census are used to inform policies and funding that affect the daily lives of all Australians — for example for schools, hospitals, aged care facilities, universities, places of worship, chaplaincy programs, laws governing religious and non-religious freedoms, allocation of time on public radio and other media, and so on.

Erroneous statistics, along with misleading claims from some religious leaders, can result in damaging policies or inappropriate funding. What if I’m baptised but not practising?

If you firmly and actively believe the teachings and positions of your denomination’s leading clerics, then it would be appropriate to mark that religion. However, if you doubt or disagree with leading clerics, then you could answer ‘No Religion’. How should I answer for my children?

If possible, let them answer for themselves. Freedom to choose is a fundamental right in Australia. Record their answer even if your answer is different. If they haven’t decided, or are too young to decide, the most appropriate answer is “No Religion”. What if I believe in a ‘higher power’ but not God?

The purpose of the Census is to establish the number of Australians following the beliefs and practices of specific religious creeds. If you believe in a general ‘higher power’ but don’t follow the tenets of a specific religion, mark ‘No Religion’.

The religious makeup of Australia has shifted slowly over the past 50 years. In 1966, Christianity was the main religion (88%).

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