Good without God. That was the message Sydney Atheists delivered from the sides of their bright red britbus on Sunday. The group, after being told they were not allowed to place religious advertisements on the side of Sydney buses, hired their own, and drove it around the city decked out in Atheist slogans.
City Hub sat down with Sydney Atheist organisers – Andrew Lamond, and Fleur Dickinson – on their way to Kirribilli House to hand over a petition calling for removal of the school chaplaincy program.
So what is Sydney Atheists all about?
AL: If you look at the census of 2006 19% of people said they were of no religion, and a lot more said the religion they were born into not necessarily the religion they practiced. So Atheists are potentially 20% of people, and we are underrepresented. We are here to become known as a sizable part of the population and by being known we want to change the way the Government thinks about its funding, they are taking too much notice of the church.
FD: I’m sick of my tax dollars being wasted on unnecessary religious things, I want my tax going to good things like medical research rather than religious organisations.
What is the School Chaplaincy program, and why do you want it stopped?
FD: It is a Government run program that’s using $400 million dollars of taxpayer money to put chaplains in state schools around Australia. These are religious people disguised as student support, and they are all untrained. If the Government wants to have this kind of system set up in the schools they should put more money into regular school councillors who are all trained professionals, and don’t have religious bias’s.
What can people do to support this kind of action?
FD: In August there will be a census for Australia, we would like people to tick the box for no religion, if they don’t actually believe in any religion. Government spending is influenced by that result.
AL: We want to make sure our tax dollars end up going to the right places.
FD: Also remember if you write in ‘Jedi’ or ‘Pastafarian’, you won’t actually be counted, tick no religion.
Sydney Atheists hold regular monthly meeting, for more information visit http://www.sydneyatheists.org/