This report outlines the findings from a comprehensive analysis of Australians’ contemporary connection with religion, by the numbers.
It exposes a much smaller and softer base of religiosity than headline affiliation statistics imply, a rapidly growing rate of no religion, lack of certainty of religious belief, connections between religiosity and a focus on financial issues, and majority social opinions — even amongst the religious — at odds with the vocal pronouncements of conservative clerics. When, for example, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney states that Christian parents expect 'Christian values' to be taught at religious schools — including the claimed right to evict 'unsuitable' staff and students — the rhetorical strategy reflects the doctrines of his Vatican masters, not those of actual Australian Christians, even the more committed ones.
Legislators and governments would be wise to keep clearly in focus the real attitudes of all Australians, religious or not, rather than focusing on or favouring Australia’s most vocal religious conservatives. Failure to do so would not only be an affront to democratic principles, but would increasingly lead to electoral backlash.