Secular. Sec-u-lar.

Whether it be same sex marriage, the location of the remote control, mining, AFL/NRL, who sleeps in the wet patch, basically any topic really that is in the news, I see a common thread. When religious leaders start talking, they talk about how Australia is a “Christian Society”. Err, no.

Now I’m not writing about what they are discussing, I’m writing simply about the use of the term “Christian Society (CS)”. The term is used as a qualifier , to give the person speaking a sense of authority and knowledge. As an example, I’m a Cronulla Sharks supporter, so use of “CS” in those terms would be me saying “As a Sharkies supporter, I know that NRL is a better game than AFL”.

While it may be the case that around 60% of people mark down their faith as some kind of Christianity on the census (a percentage that is dropping rapidly), that doesn’t make Australia a Christian Society. Australia is a secular country, like the majority of countries in the world. This secularism gives people the religious freedom to believe what they want, but doesn’t give them the right to use those religious beliefs to impose law on others, a fact often lost on religious leaders.

If the religious leaders want the followers of their faith to do something, they can ask, but they can’t enforce it by common law, nor can they persecute anyone for not following them. It’s a fact often ignored by the who seek to use religion as a point of authority on a subject. Australia by our constitution prohibits a state religion. Have a look at the consitution, you can event it as an app these days, it’s good reading. Section 116 states:

Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion.
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

So by all means, if church representatives want to give their views on a subject, feel free to do it. That is one of the great things about Australia. But your religious freedom does not give you the right to make judgement on those who do not follow your opinion. Your religious beliefs are not the basis for law in this country, so stop saying Australia is a Christian Society, because you are lying. We are a secular society, and if it wasn’t for that, you probably wouldn’t be heard at all.

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  1. The Australian Constitution is a good read and should be a compulsory subject in school. Australia has been a secular society, in a social sense not constitutionally, for years. After all, there is Sunday trading, Christmas and Easter holidays are really long weekends and RE is an optional subject in government schools. Like it or not, it is reality.

  2. We have been constitutionally as well since federation. It’s just a pity that some people don’t recognise this, to suit their own political agenda, while denying having one.

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