Chair of the St Mary’s Parish Council Rob Dawson is encouraging people to identify their religion in next week’s census.
Chair of the St Mary’s Parish Council Rob Dawson is encouraging people to identify their religion in next week’s census. Kerri Burns-Taylor

Ticking the right box on Tuesday

WITH Census night just one week away, people are being encouraged to think twice before deciding which small box to tick under the heading “religion”.

The Atheist Foundation of Australia has generated a “Mark No Religion” campaign, urging those who are not practising members of a religious group to identify that in order to generate a more accurate result.

Chair of the St Mary’s Parish Council Rob Dawson said although some people didn’t attend church regularly, they still held strong bonds to a particular religion.

Mr Dawson conceded religion is usually inherited, but said people often returned to the church as adults to marry and introduce their children to the faith.

“Most certainly you’re born into a religion but the choice becomes yours later on in life and I think this is just to satisfy a minority group who probably has another agenda,” he said.

An Atheist Foundation member based in Toowoomba, who didn’t want to be named, said the “No Religion” campaign was simply encouraging people to be truthful.

He said the group was not asking people of any particular religious connotation to not identify with their chosen faith, but rather asking those who weren’t practising parishioners to choose “No Religion”.

“People are supposed to answer honestly – it is actually illegal to say the wrong things on census forms – but I do think people get flippant with census forms,” he said.

“What we want is an accurate representation so we can look at the past and present figures and see what is going on.”



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