The Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) has erected billboards across the country urging Australians to mark ‘No religion’ on their census forms in August.
AFA president David Nicholls said he hoped the signs would help the public think about how they filled out the census question about religious affiliation and how that information could be misused to influence public debates.
“The question on religion asking ‘What is the person’s religion?’ is a leading one and it could sway people to mark their religion of baptism or early youth and not their present stance, which may be devoid of any faith,” Nicholls said.
“This can cause a distortion of census statistics whereby religious people appear to be more numerous in society than they really are. Public policy can and does reflect these figures, which … unfairly favours religion.”
Nicholls said that despite only seven percent of Australians regularly attending church, policy on voluntary euthanasia, GLBTI equality, abortion, religious education in state schools, stem cell research and other areas were continually interfered with by politicians following Christian dogma or seeking to appeal to a religious constituency.
Billboards have been erected in Melbourne on the Western Highway at Ardeer and at North Road, Huntingdale, and at seven other locations around the country.