“The recent 2006 ABS statistics demonstrate that, contrary to perceptions about the increasing influence of new evangelical churches, Australia is undergoing a continuing shift towards less religious belief.”, said John August, NSW Secretary and media spokesperson for the Secular Party of Australia.

The statistics show that young people are becoming more non religious. As Lisa Pryor wrote recently ‘Atheism is a wonderful gift to give a child’.

This greater prevalence of atheism, together with the recent surge in popularity of books focused on Atheism, indicates more Australians think religions are unnecessary to a valid moral code and sense of purpose – a trend the Secular Party will reflect.

This trend suggests Australians will become more concerned about – and reject – the growing religious influence on politics. Howard has long pursued a religious agenda under the cover of “family values”. Rudd has also professed strong religious beliefs.

Which is not to criticise the Liberal Party as such. When John Hewson was leader, the party embraced ideals of tolerance and personal freedom of lifestyle and belief. Under Howard, the Liberal party has turned its back on these traditions, and turned towards a reactionary, conservative agenda of religious intervention. We wonder if Labor would be any different in Government.

The Secular Party embraces the tolerance which the Liberal Party has lost, from all angles. We endorse the right of all citizens to whatever personal beliefs they see fit to have – with the proviso that Government policy remains independent.

It is interesting to note that believers are also growing more tolerant and secular – a Newspoll survey commissioned in early 2006 by the Secular Party of Australia (in conjunction with the Australian National Secular Association and the NSW Humanists) showed that 49% of self identifying Catholics believed in legal recognition of same sex marriages – together with more than half of the general population.

We in the Secular Party look forward to riding the wave of increasing Secularism – and plan to articulate this important developing awareness. We plan to endorse candidates in the upcoming Federal Election, so Australians will be better able to express their concerns at the ballot box.

Aug 10, 2007