Saturday, 17 January 2015

Laïcité - the separation of state and church

Martin Place, looking across Pitt Street

Australia is an irreligious nation.

According to the 2011 Census, 61.1% of the people call themselves Christian (Catholic 25.3%, Anglican 17.1%, Uniting Church 5.0%, Presbyterian 2.8%, Eastern Orthodox 2.6%, Baptist 1.6%, Lutheran 1.2%, Pentecostal 1.1%, and other 4.5%), 7.2% of the population is affiliated with non-Christian religions (Buddhism 2.5%, Islam 2.2%, Hinduism 1.3%, Judaism 0.5%, and other 0.8%), and 22.3% of the population is non-religious. However much Australians talk about being religious, they do not walk the walk: a 2008 global Gallup poll, found nearly 70% of Australians stated religion as having no importance.

According to a 2009 Nielsen survey, 84% of respondents agreed that religion and politics should be separate. Section 116 of the Constitution of Australia precludes the Commonwealth of Australia from making laws for establishing any religion, imposing any religious observance, or prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.

Australia is a secular state.

The French term Laïcité, pronounced " laisity", is the absence of religious involvement in government affairs, as well as the absence of government involvement in religious affairs. It is the principle of the separation of church and state, although in France it also means the equal treatment of all religions.


City Daily Photo bloggers post photographs on a theme on the first day of each month.
On February 1, they will address this intriguing question:
If you had to leave forever the city from which you usually post, what would you miss most?
Find out more about the February 2015 Theme at the CDP portal.

17 comments:

Dina said...

Very interesting. But where is the Jewish percentage?

Dina said...

Oi, so small?! Thanks, Julie.

Julie said...

Just over 97,000, Dina. I was surprised, too.

Joan Elizabeth said...

You are right about us being a secular nation. Of those 61.1% who call themselves Christian only 7% attend church regularly (defined as attending at least once per month). Even so there are 1.8 Million people attending a church service each week so not entirely insignificant.

Rob the frog said...

Where I live now, the east of France, blasphemy is still a punishable. The region was german when most french laws came in action in 1802 (the so called Code Napoleon). A local bishop ask it to be abolished, in... 2014, 212 years after the rest of France...

Julie said...

Do those two stats together make sense, Joan.You have a better head for this sort of thing than I do, I reckon. 7%(of 61%) attend once per month which out of a population of 23m is about 980,000. If so, how can 1.8m attend weekly?

Julie said...

Good heavens, Rob. I am learning just how complex and nuanced, French society is.

Eric Tenin said...

"the equal treatment of all religions", which is the most complicated thing to apply for a secular state. France banned what we call an "ostentatious religious symbol" (eg Islamic veil, "large crosses", kippas, Sikh turbans...) in government facilities.
But how far you go? Recently several mayors have been blamed for exposing a nativity scene in the entrance of their town hall.
They claimed that it was part of French tradition, more than a religious claim...

Stefan Jansson said...

Religion just make me tired.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

I love it when our City Daily Photo Community raises issues and when we have conversations of substance. At Greensboro Daily Photo, we post something religious or spiritual every Sunday. In 6 years os Sundays, there has been no shortage of things to photograph. However, we don't tend to dig deep enough to get these conversations going. Chapeau, Julie for digging deeper and for giving us some great food for thought!

Janis
Greensboro Daily Photo, Greensboro, NC USA

William Kendall said...

I would be part of that 22.3% of non-religious.

William Kendall said...

And I imagine at least one Sydney photoblogger might be going with the Opera House for that February theme day!

freefalling said...

You should see how many new church buildings there are in Toowoomba. Seems everytime you turn around there is another one going up. AND they are HUGE! Like they could each house at least 6 basketball courts. What the hell are they doing in there? And who is going to all these churches? Toowoomba only has a population of 120,000.

Julie said...

Letty, do you think they are churches foR Christian religions?

Joan Elizabeth said...

OK from what is seems the weekly attendance information was based on decade old data when the population was lower and the percentage attendance higher but people are quoting in along with the 2011 results.

Julie said...

Joan, that is what I found when googling for data. I then just decided to go traight to the ABS, which I should have done to start with. I will try and get this % attendance straight this week, and base it on 2011 census.

freefalling said...

Oh yes. Definitely Christian.