Please enter “No Religion” in this week’s census

Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Quick Note, Thoughts | 5 comments

The time is finally upon us Australia. Census forms have started to appear on our doorsteps, and if you truly care about where money goes in this country I implore you to answer these questions correctly and truthfully. And in particular, if you are not religious now, I urge you to place “No religion” in the area for religion.

Why? I’ll tell you why!

The AFA’s Census website states quite clearly why it it important to answer this question correctly and truthfully:

In a nutshell
The coming census in Australia is an important chance to make sure your interests are met in decision making and funding, that views you do not hold are not over-represented in the coming years.”

In other words, if you mark “Catholic”, but you don’t actually count yourself as a practising Catholic, the number of Catholic people in the country is skewed. This matters because the government works out how to allocate money to certain groups such as religions based on the numbers presented in the census, therefore if you answer this untruthfully, the money is distributed incorrectly, and groups like the Catholics are incorrectly represented in our community.

If you are an atheist, agnostic, Pastafarian, Jedi, or HarryPotterist, don’t make this your entry, mark it as “no religion”. Jedi etcetera will be counted as “Not defined” and will simply be ignored. “No religion” however is a concrete answer and will be tallied as legitimate.

If you have any other questions about the census, simply ask me in the comments below and I will find an answer for you, or visit the AFA’s Census No Religion Campaign web page.

NOTE: This article was also published at RichardDawkins.net!

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5 Comments

  1. A timely post, Marty! If truth be told there are alot less “Christians” out there than statistics would have us believe. Most people have only a vague understanding of the religion, don’t go to church etc etc. No religion it is! :)

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  2. This census, for the first time, I will be answering “No Religion”. I suspect that many people, despite not being at all religious, will simply do what I had always done and tick the religion that their parents identified with.

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  3. I’m an atheist. Are you suggesting I should mark down “no religion” instead of “atheist”? If so, that would be misleading. What difference does it make answering “no religion” vs “atheist”? Both would be correct answers for many people.

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    • “Atheist” is coded as 7012 and is included in the more general “no religion” category (anything that begins with a “7” is in this category). So by all means mark yourself down as an atheist.

      I wrote a piece on the various categories of religion beliefs yesterday as a guide for people filling in the census. You can visit it here: http://www.godless.biz/2011/07/31/a-guide-to-the-census/

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  4. Gday,
    I am interested in your discussions above but am hoping you can help me with a bit of clarification, where do I as a card carrying, practicing Unitarian Universalist stand as I am most definitely not a Christian by the true definition.

    Thanks
    Ian the Unitarian

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