What Australians really think about religion

The survey showed 60 per cent of Australians would prefer that people keep their religious views to themselves (Pixabay)

Australians firmly believe that religious people are subjected to discrimination in this country. But all the same, we’d rather the godly kept their views to themselves, writes Annabel Crabb. Source: ABC News.

Seventy-one per cent of Australians told the ABC’s Australia Talks National Survey that religious discrimination happens “occasionally” or “often” in this country. Ironically, this is a point on which the devout and the heathen are in agreement.

Even among Australians with no religion, 68 per cent agreed that there is discrimination, as did 74 per cent of Catholics, 72 per cent of Protestants and 74 per cent of “other religions”.

Still, we’d rather the devout kept quiet

But a broad majority of Australians – 60 per cent – would prefer that people keep their religious views to themselves.

This was a view held most strongly, as you might imagine, by non-religious respondents, of whom 73 per cent wished not to hear the religious views of others.

But even a slim majority of Catholics – 53 per cent – agreed that it was better to keep religion a private affair.

Protestants were more inclined to support full disclosure; only 39 per cent of them felt religious views should be private.

And people from other faiths were divided on the question: just shy of a majority – 47 per cent – agreed religion should be a hush-hush affair.

If you’re wondering why all religious respondents besides Catholics and Protestants are grouped together, it’s because only those two faith groups provided a large enough sample to isolate in a statistically reliable fashion.

According to the 2016 Census, 2.6 per cent of Australians follow Islam, 2.4 per cent are Buddhist, 1.9 per cent are Hindu and 0.4 per cent are Jewish.

Catholicism is the leading single religious group, claiming 23 per cent of the population, while 13 per cent identify as Anglican and 16 per cent as “other Christian”.

Australia is not a country in which religious belief is the dominant determinant of identity, social status or indeed even social activity.

When given a list of eight attributes and asked which was most central to the respondent’s sense of self and identity, Australians placed religion stone-cold, motherless last.

Annabel Crabb is the ABC’s Chief Political Writer


What Australians really think about religion (ABC News)

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