Secularists Reject Religious Register

The Victorian Secular Lobby, Inc., rejects the proposal that MPs should be required to register their religious beliefs, describing the proposal as "simultaneously risible and obnoxious".

The apparently single-person organisation, 'Plain Reason', made the proposal in February and received some media coverage.

President of the Victorian Secular Lobby, Lev Lafayette, wanted to emphasise that a secular approach supports the freedom of and from religion, and the separation of religious authorities from public policy.

"The very idea that the state should keep a register of MPs religious affiliations goes against the very principle of keeping religion out of politics", he said.

"Secularism is about knowledge which is founded and testable in our shared world. It is not an argument against religious beliefs, but an argument independent of it."

The Lobby has religious members, including members on their committee of management.

However organisations such as the Australian Christian Lobby were also criticised for their approach.

"Overwhelmingly, members of the public believe social policy should come from evidence-based research and secular ethics, rather than religious dogma. It is a conceit of organisations such as the Australian Christian Lobby who think they speak for all Christians", Mr. Lafayette added.

For further information contact Nick Langdon, Secretary of the Victorian Secular Lobby, Inc., public@victoriansecular.org

The Victorian Secular Lobby is incorporated in the State of Victoria, Number A00594400A

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Related article: Push for MPs

Related article:

Push for MPs to register religious beliefs
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/push-for-mps-to-register-relig...

From the University of Melbourne Secular Society

This proposal contravenes the principle, on which the UMSS is founded, that religion and government are and ought to remain separate spheres. Politicians should be free to discuss publicly, or to refrain from discussing, their religious views (or lack thereof) as they see fit. The Government has no business in compiling an official register of such opinions.

- James Fodor, President UMSS

"Secularism is about

"Secularism is about knowledge which is founded and testable in our shared world. It is not an argument against religious beliefs, but an argument
independent of it."

True, and so the idea if a "register of religious beliefs" for politicians is an anathema in a pluralistic, secular country.

At the same time, ad hominen arguments are not helpful either.

From my POV, I don't care what people believe in the privacy of their own minds - but I DO care how they behave and treat others.

In a free country, politicians (like anyone else) have the right to hold religious views and have these inform their political choices. They just
don't have the right to expect these views have any greater value than any other views, and they must accept robust - but respectful - dissent and
debate.

Meredith Doig