Promoting science, reason & critical thinking with a rational A-theist perspective to advance the secular political agenda

Opinion: SAC takes on CPAC

Published on Australian Independent Media Network on 29.11.23

Secular Australia justifiably expects equal media attention to that given to CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference that stages rallies promoting authoritarian agendas. Notably, the Secularism Australia Conference, SAC, is the polar opposite!

On 2nd December SAC sets out to “reclaim the middle ground” with 18 key speakers, including former High Court Justice, Micheal Kirby, and personalities who promote justice and unity.

Speaking for the nation’s secular majority, SAC will showcase a raft of social policy initiatives to directly counter the divisive social and political agenda championed by a reactionary CPAC.

CPAC23 screened dozens of speeches filled with calls to privatise, religionise, and corporatise society. It’s similar to a “deregulate everything” mantra of new Argentinian president, Javier Milei, and the new global wave of authoritarianism.

That is precisely why Australia needs strong secular voices of inclusion, justice and reason — especially within all our parliaments, in mainstream media, and in community organisations.

Secular principles are all socially inclusive: (i) to guarantee freedom of thought, conscience and belief for all, (ii) to require governments to treat religious and non-religious worldviews equally, and (iii) to ensure separation of the institutions of religion from institutions of the state.

There are literally dozens of social issues underpinned by these core secular principles, just five illustrate the point. (1) How Voluntry Assisted Dying excludes hundreds of the terminally ill — all unable to discuss VAD by phone with their GP because religions say “no”. (2) Women’s reproductive health needs are denied by “publicly funded” religious healthcare, due only to biblical doctrine.

(3) School children are being “religiously harvested” by evangelical agencies — during classroom lessons which are sanctioned by State governments. (4) the Census question on religion grossly understates “No Religion”. (5) Christian prayers in multi/non-denominational parliaments are archaic and socially divisive.

The challenge for a secular Australia today — and the right of a ‘non-believing’ public majority — is to be free ‘from‘ religious indoctrination. The global rise of Pentecostalism — particularly its “7 Mountains Mandate” to dominate society — is forensically covered by prominent UK journalist, Elle Hardy, in Beyond Believe; a 4-year study of Pentecostal churches across four continents.

Ultra-conservatives with substantial wealth and/or undue media influence distort the secular agenda with outrageous impunity. Refer again to all the CPAC23 speeches linked above.

One case in point is Janet Albrechtsen , a former Director of the right wing Institute of Public Affairs, and columnist for Rupert Murdoch’s flagship The Australian.

Indeed, Ms Albrechtsen wrote a scathing opinion piece in The Oz on 22.11.23 (paywalled) railing against the upcoming Secular Conference on 2nd December, in Surry Hills. Ten days before SAC — when not even one word had been spoken — she just “knew” she’d absolutely hate it all.

Her article was a breathless tirade linking basic secular principles directly with transgenderism, wokeism, the entirety of gender politics, all culture wars, and the climate “hoax”. She states, “And it’s hard to escape this new religion.” What a bizarre statement to make! Religion requires a ‘god’, but Janet knows that. She also knows secularism simply doesn’t have one!

Notice this basic right wing strategy to bundle up everything they hate in the world and stick a convenient label on it — it’s all down to Satanism, to communism, or secular heresy. Oh, please!

SAC, and the objectively rational speakers of the Secularism Australia Conference will take a calm and measured analysis of where Australia actually stands now, in relation to the broad sweep of issues which undermine progress towards a fair, just and equitable society.

The inaugural Secularism Australia Conference is organised by Humanists Victoria, Rationalist Society of Australia, the National Secular Lobby, and NSW Teachers Federation. And SAC is sponsored by several of Australia’s leading pro-secular organisations and Plain Reason is pleased to be part of that.

Plain Reason promotes science, rationalism, and critical thinking.