Promoting Secularism in NSW

We recognise that the right to freedom of religion or belief entails state neutrality in matters of religion. That is, the people should enjoy both freedom of religious belief and practice and freedom from imposed religious doctrine and practice.

Recognition of both the freedom to hold or practice a religion or belief, and freedom from the imposition of religious ideas and practices on others thus raises the need for a secular state; a clear and effective separation of religious influence on state activity, often called ‘separation of church and state’.

We hold that Australia is currently a ‘soft theocracy’; that is, the state favours religious institutions through taxpayer-funded grants, tax exemptions, as well as exceptions to discrimination law, and religious influence in law-making.

red mass protest

Members of Care Leavers of Australia Network protest against the Red Mass outside the Catholic Cathedral in Melbourne 2021. The Red Mass is a religious ritual held each year to bless the start of the legal year. It is attended by many judges, barristers and other legal officers, many wearing wigs and gowns.

Zelda Bailey argues that "Presently in Australia teachers are labouring under a bewildering array of different approaches to worldview education across the States and Territories, especially regarding the place of Religious Instruction/Religious Education and the role of Chaplains in schools. It also does little to inform and prepare students for the diverse worldviews that exist across the world, many of which play dominant roles in contentious global issues... deeper reflection and improved self-knowledge would heighten sensitivity to the situation of others and lead to positive feelings and an appreciation of our common humanity." She offers a plan to achieve these ends.
Even when the pioneering world-shattering Universal Declaration of Human Rights was being drawn up, the evidence was there. States involved in drafting it were often more interested in preserving their historical customs, religions, power, prejudice and convenience, at the expense of ensuring truly genuine, equal enjoyment by all citizens of the rights that they were advocating. We are part of a political revolution: one that is failing badly throughout the world. To bring about a humanist/human rights revolution much needs to be done.
Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) identifies the right of every child to an education, and that right to an education be directed toward “the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
“Dishonesty should not be rewarded, yet a religious minority is flooding the Ruddock Review claiming their ‘freedom’ is denied,” says NSL ambassador and science communicator, Professor Paul Willis. Prof. Willis said it was “disingenuous at best” for church organisations to saturate this Religious Freedom Review with submissions based on fear, distortions, and claims not backed by evidence.
In 1975 the New Zealand government, flying in the face of constitutional separation of church and state, legislated to integrate religious schools into the government school system. Substantial funding of these schools soon followed. Max Wallace analyses this history finding the likely reason for the funding was more to do with politics than 'justice' for students in religious schools.

Max Wallace

Soft Theocracy

Max Wallace

Atheist Convention

National Secular Lobby

29 April 2019

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