The Anglican priest, George Pitcher, writes in today’s Telegraph some truly bizarre guidance for folks to consider when filling out the 2011 census forms in the UK. As you might expect, its all focused on the Infamous Question 10 … the religious one. Apparently, according to him, the British Humanist Association is not being “fair” because it is about to launch its campaign to stop respondents to the ten-yearly national Census on 27 March saying they’re religious when thy are not.
To that I say WTF … the BHA are not being “fair”??
He also claims that the New Atheists have been beside themselves with rage since the 2001 Census, when 72 per cent of people in England described themselves as Christian. Now that deserves a second WTF … rage?
He appears to be simply making this stuff up, but then when you consider that his full-time career involves the propagation of a superstitious fantasy for which there is not one jot of evidence, I guess I should not be surprised to find him making more stuff up.
The main thrust of his argument is that people don’t like being told what to do, and so the BHA campaign is at odds with that. He also feels that folks tick the “Christian” box because they want to belong to a Christian community, but not the church.
Right then, time to spell out what is really going on here, its all about £££. The Government uses the answers to the question determine how funding is allocated, will it go to secular or religious bodies within various communities. If the secular vote goes up, the Rev Pitcher and the religious group he represents, loose out financially. What the C of E also truly fears is the manner in which the census will highlight the decline that has happened since the 2001 census. The recent British Social Attitudes survey found that the majority of people in this country – 51 per cent – said they belong to ‘no religion’. Let me stress that number, it basically means that if you add up all the religious people of all beliefs, they are now a minority, and thats a huge reality check for the C of E, so anything they can do to sweep that under the carpet is highly desirable, and that apparently includes encouraging people to lie about their beliefs.
If curious, you can read his rant here, but then I suspect that if you are like me you will be more amused by the readers comments.
The reality is that the BHA aren’t telling anyone what to believe, they’re simply encouraging people to state their beliefs, and that is the truly honest position – which is in stark contrast the the Rev Pitcher encouraging folks to lie.
The find out more about the BHA campaign, you can click here. Here are some details.
The Census cuts non-religious people in half!
The census data on religion produced by the 2001 census gave a wholly misleading picture of the religiosity of the UK, cutting the number of non-religious people in half. See What is happening.
Why this matters
If you say you’re religious on the census and don’t really mean it, then you are treated by some sections of the media, churches, and even government policymakers as if you are a fully-fledged believer. See why bad census data matters.
What you can do
The short answer is simple. If you’re not religious, then answer “No Religion” on the census. Take the pledge today! You can find out why this is our recommendation and there’s lots of other ways you can support the campaign.
We need to raise awareness and we need to do it quickly. We are asking like-minded people to support advertising for the Census Campaign on public transport and in public places. Donate today.