Australians who’ve let go of religious tradition but still believe in God or Christian values, are being urged to declare their faith in the Census on Tuesday.
Christian Media & Arts Australia and Olive Tree Media have together launched a website, videos and a Facebook page titled ‘Yes Religion’.
Their campaign addresses the ‘religion question’ in the census, and encourages people with any faith or belief in God, to either choose a religion that they most identify with, or write something in the ‘Other’ box—rather than ticking ‘No Religion’.
Those with a spirituality based in Jesus, or a belief in Christian-based values, are being encouraged to write ‘Christian’.
The Believers Who Don’t Consider Themselves ‘Religious’
Christian demographics researcher Dr Ruth Powell, the director of the National Church Life Survey, said many people who believe in Jesus or spiritual things have grown to dislike the word ‘religion’, because it carries connotations of dead tradition.
However she is urging those people to get past their qualms and stand up for their values next Tuesday by filling in the ‘Other’ box on the census questionnaire.
“Many Christians today prefer to say they’re spiritual,” she told Vision FM. “It’s as though the word religion has become corrupted to Christians. [They think], ‘I don’t want to tick any of these boxes because my faith is bigger and more important than that.’”
Dr Powell wants these people to consider the bigger picture—because marking ‘No Religion’ on the census will not help their cause.
“What will happen is that people will go ‘See, church doesn’t matter anymore. People don’t believe in God,” she said.
Think About The Implications, Says Karl Faase
The YesReligion campaign, voiced by Christian documentary maker Karl Faase, was launched on Tuesday. It’s in response to a campaign by the Atheist Society, calling for people who no longer consider themselves to religious to mark ‘No Religion’ in the census.
The Christian community is concerned that a rise in people choosing ‘No Religion’ will send the government, and its policy makers, a message that faith-based values, and faith-based services like including welfare, education, and justice – are no longer wanted.
In his videos, Karl Faase points out the potential implications of a society dominated by ‘No Religion’.
Dr Ruth Powell believes Question 19 isn’t so much exploring the nature of peoples’ spirituality but more to do with social groupings.
“It’s really asking do you see yourself as having a religious identity, or do you see yourself as belonging to a particular tribe, if you like,” she told Vision FM.