There is a campaign at the moment relating to the upcoming census to tick “No Religion” on the census form if you don’t believe in a particular religion, or have only a passing familiarity with a religion.
It’s funny how people have reacted to this story, and this campaign as a whole, as a push to be anti-Christian, anti-Jedi, or, somehow, pro-Muslim.
I can’t agree.
I am definitely pro-Australian, and support the right of everyone to follow their own faith, and to live according to their own beliefs.
This means that I don’t want to see sites of religious significance desecrated – vandalising a church, synagogue, mosque, sacred site, graveyard, and so forth to me is equally terrible. All of these are protected by Australian Law.
I am against assault on Indian students, gays, women, people wearing hajibs or storm trooper masks equally. We recently had a government sponsored campaign that told us “Australia says no” to violence against women.
I feel that people ought to have the right to marry no matter their race, colour, creed, or sexual preference. There is a significant percentage of Australians who share this belief with me.
But I get criticised for being Un-Australian when I defend those who are gay, Muslim, Indian, or whereever they come from. I get told we are living in a “Judeo-Christian” society, even though our laws recognise common-law marriage, and there is no legal impediment to adultery, but there is to stoning.
I am told that we can have an unmarried female PM, but we can’t have two men marrying because it goes against our traditional beliefs as a culture, and we have no legal provisions to ensure that women are treated equally in the workforce.
So, because I am an Australian, with no particular religious conviction, I’m marking no religion.
If for no other reason because I agree with the pilgrims who fled to the US to be free of religious persecution
I agree with Father Bob Maguire, who has advocated not putting down a religion simply because your parents raised you in that way
But mainly I agree with Rev Martin Luther King.
I dream of a day when Jew or Gentile, Protestant or Catholic, heterosexual or homosexual, Muslim or Christian, we can all lay down our arms and sing together “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last,”
We all have a right to be free.