The Australian census is being carried out this year on 9 August. Australian atheist and humanist groups are conducting a campaign to encourage non-religious Aussies to tick the ‘No religion’ box on their census forms. A similar campaign in the UK earlier this year by the British Humanist Association was a great success, with the message “Not religious? In this year’s census say so” getting national publicity. When the official data is released, the percentage of British people who are not religious should be a more accurate (and possibly higher) number than that recorded in the last census.
Let’s achieve the same thing in this Australian census! If you’re not religious, please seriously consider ticking ‘No religion’ on your form. If you intend to put down a joke religion like Jedi, Church of the FSM and such, I urge you to reconsider your decision. As the Atheist Foundation of Australia puts it:
[If you write down a joke religion] it gets counted as 'Not Defined' and is not placed in the 'No religion' category. This takes away from the 'No religion' numbers and therefore advantages the religion count. It was funny to write Jedi once, now it is a serious mistake to do so.
Since the census results are used for funding and decision making purposes by state and federal governments, it is vital that the interests of non-religious Aussies are properly represented. Statistics indicating a substantial number of non-religious citizens will bolster Australian secularism against attempts by religious groups to enact policies that unduly privilege them, or that unfairly disadvantage those who don’t subscribe to their ideology.
Come August, religious folks will be doing the right thing according to their convictions – ticking the box of their particular faith. We infidels should be just as sincere with our unbelief.