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Posted by on Feb 24, 2013 in Announcements, Personal, Politics | 5 comments

Advancing Secularism in Australia

On 21 March, I’ll be appearing at Macquarie University on a panel about “Advancing Secularism in Australia” – along with Sean Faircloth, Max Wallace, Jane Caro, and John Kay, chaired by Stephen Mutch. If you’ll be in Sydney that day, please come along. I’m looking forward to the discussion, and particularly to meeting Sean Faircloth, author of Attack of the Theocrats!, and Director of Strategy & Policy for the US arm of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. I’ve corresponded with him, but we’ve never met in person. Of the others, I know Jane Caro best (along with Tamas Pataki, we formed a team in a nationally televised debate about atheism, back in 2011). In all, it is fine line-up of speakers with different emphases and areas of expertise.

The topic relates to something that has been a pet interest of mine for some time now: the question of what a truly secular Australia would look like. For a start, it would not have religion classes, taught from a devotional viewpoint, in public schools! However, there is far more to say, and I imagine that there will be a certain amount of controversy even among these speakers.

  • Zardoz

    I would imagine the topic of religiously owned companies like Sanitarium actually paying tax on their profit might come up.

  • Is compulsory comparative religious study in public school a non-starter of an issue in Australia like it is in the USA?

  • RussellBlackford

    Not necessarily a non-starter. Curricula are crowded, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if such a course already existed in one of the school systems or if someone proposed it. There would be some opposition, but not the sort of craziness that I’d expect to see in the US.

  • RussellBlackford

    I should read Max Wallace’s book on all the tax stuff. Do you have any detail about how it works with Sanitarium?

  • RussellBlackford

    Oh, and I should say that it’s an idea which I personally support.