Calls For Religions To 'Stop Getting Special Treatment' In Australia In The Wake Of New Census Data
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If the 2021 Australian census taught us anything, it's that most of us don't give two figs about religion.
Yet it massively impacts so many legislative and governmental policies that are part of our everyday lives.
And if religion is getting less and less important, then why the hell do they get so many free passes?
CEO of Humanists Australia Heidi Nicholl certainly asked this question, writing an op-ed calling for religious organisations in Australia to no longer receive 'special treatment.'
"Put simply, society has changed," she wrote in a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald.
"And the 2021 census results give us a clear idea of exactly how much it has changed, with almost 10 million people now reporting that they are not religious.
"Plenty of these people are living good, highly contributory lives. It is time we acknowledge it is perfectly possible to be ethical, compassionate and to live a life of meaning without any supernatural beliefs."
She added: "It is also clear that it is time to rethink and reconsider all of the many ways in which the Australian state privileges religious institutions."
Here's a few recent examples of how the Big Guy In The Sky has impacted actual both Australian and world events.
Abortion has been a hot topic since the abandonment of Roe v Wade in the US, thanks to their conservative Supreme Court.
Our former government, with the ultra-religious Scott Morrison at the helm, proposed a religious discrimination bill which would have allowed the religious to exclude the non-religious at schools.
Meanwhile, religious organisations pay no tax in Australia at all.
Nicholl raises this in her op-ed, too.
"The tax exemptions granted to religious organisations, other than for genuine charitable work, means millions of dollars are lost to state revenue at a time when so many social services are in dire need of funding," she said.
In 2019, the happy-clapping mega church made $93 million (£53m).
Imagine how well off we'd be as a nation if part of that cash was lining government coffers instead of the bank account of a Hillsong pastor.
After all, according to the census only 44 per cent of Aussies now identify as Christian - and that number is rapidly declining.
In 2016, it was 61 per cent. In 1911 it was 96 per cent.
And those who identify as belonging to 'no religion' are becoming the norm Down Under, with 39 per cent ticking that box in 2021, up from 30 per cent in 2016.
And if the data follows the same pattern, the non-religious will actually outstrip the number of Christians in Australia by the next census in 2026.