THE RATIONALIST ASSOCIATION OF NSW

The Rationalist Association of NSW was founded in 1912. We define rationalism as the attitude of mind which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason. It is a system of philosophy and ethics independent of all arbitrary assumptions or authority. Rationalism was a movement that emerged in the second half of the 19thC, particularly in the wake of Charles Darwin, whose book, Origins of the Species, provided a scientific foundation for thought independent of religious speculation. Read More.

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AUSTRALIA IS A SECULAR NATION

Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently said that Australia is not a secular country, and that secularism 'is just one belief system among any belief system you choose', with 'no greater claim than any other on our society' and '[t]he constitution provides for freedom of religion, not from religion'.
Dear Prime Minister, you need to do your research. Secularism is NOT a belief like any other religious or non-religious life-stance. It is a political process. It is not a belief: it is the right to have or not have one. The concept has been wrongly equated with atheism. Due to fear of being branded an atheist and anti-religious, people avoid identifying with it, or even discussing it. We can distinguish between the two concepts of secularisation and secularism. Whereas secularisation denotes concentration on worldly matters by religious communities, secularism is the process by which government is concerned with cohesion and welfare of diverse religious and cultural communities. The two are distinct.
Politicians repeatedly misrepresent the meaning of political secularism and state-religion relationships. This has become tedious, and they should know better.
As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Australia, is indeed a secular government. A simple logical analysis of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief in Article 18 of the Covenant, and s. 116  of the Australian Constitution, means the government has undertaken to remain neutral on the matter of religion and should not enforce nor prohibit the free exercise of religion, leaving religious choice to the liberty of the people.

Continue: Why Secularism?

THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

Despite Australia's membership of the  UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) ,the Council's working group on arbitrary detention has condemned as arbitrary and illegal our indefinite incarceration of refugees and asylum seekers, issuing critical statements on five individual cases of detention in a year. But those unlawfully held remain in indefinite detention, where they have been held for up to nine years without charge,  

Although seemingly committed to the concepts of equality, individual freedom and the rule of law, states with atrocious human rights records have secured membership and great influence on the  Council, established to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights".

Members generally have failed to condemn human rights abuses in e.g., the Sudan, Byelorussia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China, says Ibn Warraq. It is largely influenced by nations who have signed a Muslim-based Human Rights Convention. In June 16, 2008, discussion of religious questions was banned  by the president.of the Council, forbidding criticism of religious human rights breaches.

The UN recently voted to re-elect Saudi Arabia to the Council for the 2017-2019 term, despite its atrocities  in Yemen and at home. The Council placed Saudi Arabia in 2015 at the head of a committee that selects investigators to scrutinise human rights in other countries.

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LORDS COMMITTEE: RESPECT THE LAW BEFORE “THE VALUES OF OTHERS”

Public policy must put "respect for the law" before "respect for the values of others" and defend "the shared values of British citizenship", a House of Lords committee has said. See here.

‘RIGHT-WING RELIGIOUS NATIONALISTS LAUNCH DRAMATIC NEW POWER PLAY’

" ...the power of the presidency isn't the only way Christian nationalism is advancing its agenda in America today... A  coalition of Christian right groups have organized a major legislative initiative called "Project Blitz." Its goal is to pass ... Christian-right bills at the state level, whose cumulative impact would be immense." see here

LORDS COMMITTEE: RESPECT THE LAW BEFORE “THE VALUES OF OTHERS”

Each state makes it illegal to discriminate against a person on the ground of religion in employment decisions. These anti-discrimination rules apply to public schools and their hiring decisions. See here.

Also, federal and some state governments have STOPPED COUNTING COMPLAINTS against the school chaplains program and NO STATES KEEP RECORDS of the faith of chaplainns.  See here.

CHAPLAINCY PROGRAM IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS LEGALLY QUESTIONABLE

Public policy must put "respect for the law" before "respect for the values of others" and defend "the shared values of British citizenship", a House of Lords committee has said. See here.

HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK IN AUSTRALIA, SAYS THE UN

The Australian Government has been strongly criticised for the "chilling effect" its actions have unleashed on human rights defenders in Australia in a UN report released last week, and Special Rapporteur Michel Forst told the UN's Human Rights Council he was "astonished" to observe "mounting evidence of regressive measures" being pursued by the Government. See here.

CHAPLAINCY PROGRAM IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS LEGALLY QUESTIONABLE

Each state makes it illegal to discriminate against a person on the ground of religion in employment decisions. These anti-discrimination rules apply to public schools and their hiring decisions. See here.

Also, federal and some state governments have STOPPED COUNTING COMPLAINTS against the school chaplains program and NO STATES KEEP RECORDS of the faith of chaplainns.  See here.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT - IT'S MY RIGHT!

An EU campaign has been launched by religious and non-religious groups promoting freedom of belief . They absolutely defend the right of belief through secularism, but not the right to impose that belief on others. See here

HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK IN AUSTRALIA, SAYS THE UN

The Australian Government has been strongly criticised for the "chilling effect" its actions have unleashed on human rights defenders in Australia in a UN report released last week, and Special Rapporteur Michel Forst told the UN's Human Rights Council he was "astonished" to observe "mounting evidence of regressive measures" being pursued by the Government. See here.

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