Why Religion In The 2016 Australian Census Matters

Written by Kim Wilkinson on . Posted in News & Updates

Encouraging All Australians Who Affiliate With Christianity To Write ‘Christian’

I'm writing Christian in Question 19 of the CensusChristians of all denominations are being encouraged to fill in the ‘Religion’ box, or the ‘Other’ box when answering question 19 of the Census on Tuesday night August 9. CMAA has prepared a website to encourage Christians and people of all faiths to make sure their faith is counted.

This year the ‘No Religion’ box will be the first choice. Christian Media & Arts have worked in coalition with some of our members to build an information website yesreligion.org.au and Facebook page that encourages believers and listeners to our community stations to answer truthfully and give a true reflection of faith in Australia.

The subtlety of placing the ’No Religion’ box at the top is designed to make it easier for those unsure about their faith, or what they personally believe, to tick the ’No Religion’ box instead of the ’Religion’ or ’Other’ categories.

CEO Nathan Brown explains, “The Yes Religion popup site educates people around the following questions…”

1. What’s the religious question all about?
2. Does the question really matter?
3. Are there implications for how I fill it out?

As Christian Media & Arts Australia we have a collective voice that can strengthen the Christian voice through the census. We encourage those who may not be going to church, but still hold to the values and central beliefs of the Christian Faith to fill in the ‘Religion’ box, or the ‘Other’ and specify ’Christian’.

The impact of this Census question could have significant changes for Australia says Ruth Powell, director of National Church Life Survey Research. “What will happen is that you will end up in the No Religion box and people will go ‘Ahaa’ see, church doesn’t matter anymore. People don’t believe in God. See they ticked the No Religion box.

I'm writing Christian in Question 19 of the CensusChristians need to acknowledge their faith when they answer Question 19 to counter an atheist campaign promoting the ‘No Religion’ agenda aimed at weakening the voice of Christians in Australia.

The “no religion” option was introduced to the census in 1991. The ABS agreed to change the order after receiving more than 400 submissions alleging a bias in how the question was framed, because “no religion” appeared after nine religions and the “other” box, making it difficult to spot on a first glance.

In the last Australian census in 2011, 61.1 per cent of people (13.1 million) identified as Christian, while 22 per cent (4.7 million) marked the “no religion” box or wrote down atheism, agnosticism, humanism or rationalism in the “other, please specify” box.

The Atheist Foundation and affiliated organisations are waging a campaign to increase the No Religion numbers in order to pressure governments to push through secular atheistic policies that further undermine conservative Christian values.

The Atheist Foundation of Australia president Kylie Sturgess emphasised that the aim of the “Mark No Religion” campaign is to get to the truth, a goal that she says has been supported by people of faith as much as atheists.

We’re after accurate answers to the census questions, so they can benefit all Australians and so far we’ve been flabbergasted by how supportive people have been of getting the truth out there,” Sturgess tells Eternity.

We hope to benefit all Australians because policy and funding decisions are made on the basis of data that accurately reflects modern-day Australia. We want to see that people are honest and thoughtful about filling out the census and have a reflection about what they are saying.”

Author of Post God Nation, Roy Williams predicts that the percentage of Australians marking a Christian option this year will fall to about 50 per cent, partly because of the new methodology and partly because of increasing secularisation among the young. “I don’t have a problem with the notion that it’s in everyone’s interest that the numbers that come out of the census are meaningful,” he says.

CMAA is providing a resource for the church and Christian Media to bring education and understanding to your communities. Nathan explains, “The Yes Religion website is not an alarmist site in tone – rather it is a site that provides education around the importance of answering the question in line with your religious beliefs and affiliation.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Visit the website and share it through your own social media channels. 
  2. Please visit, like and share https://www.facebook.com/YESreligion/(@YESreligion)
  3. Use #mycensus and #yesreligion on Social Media
  4. Download and play CSAs from MEDIA POINT or Drop Box
  5. Share to your email lists.
  6. Ask your church to show the animated video on Sunday this week and bring education awareness of the site.

 

 

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