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Christianity and the Census
Next Tuesday night (9 August) is 2016 Census night – where we are required by law to answer all sorts of questions to help governments make decisions about such things as public transport, housing, education and hospitals.
The religion question – and its implications for the funding of school chaplains and faith-based charities, as well as tax-exempt status for churches – is all important.
The religion question is the only one that is not compulsory. It lists six Christian denominations and three non-Christian religions, with a space for “other” – but for the first time, “No religion” is the first option.
That was the result of a quiet campaign by the Atheist Foundation of Australia three years ago. They hope that putting “No religion” at the top before any other option, they would win the “donkey vote” – and ultimately force governments to end any subsidy or recognition for the huge amount of public good done by faith-based community organisations.
They have also mounted an advertising campaign in supermarket car parks and elsewhere, urging people to mark the “No religion” box.
The problem is compounded by the fact that many non-denominational Christians mark
“No religion” because they have faith in Christ, but don’t belong to a particular denomination.
To them, “religion” means “denomination”.
What can we do?
· Make sure we answer the religion question – by marking one of the six boxes for Christian denominations, or writing “Christian” or something similar in the space provided for “other” religion.
· Send this email to other friends and family, encouraging them to do the same.
· Pray – that the atheist campaign will fail.
May the Lord bless and guide you!