Aussie, Kiwi & South Pacific Atheists

Information

Aussie, Kiwi & South Pacific Atheists

A group for networking and friendship between atheists in the Australian/New Zealand/South Pacific region, and for discussion of political and religious topics relevant to these regions.

Members: 344
Latest Activity: Aug 16

Aussie, Kiwi and South Pacific Atheists

This group is hosted by Richard J and Chrys Stevenson


Another High Court Challenge Against the National School Chaplaincy Program

Website: http://www.highcourtchallenge.com

Breaking News! After successfully challenging the Commonwealth government in the High Court of Australia over funding for the National School Chaplaincy Scheme, Ron Williams is to take them on again.  In an attempt to circumvent the High Court ruling, the government has passed some extremely questionable legislation which tears at the heart of parliamentary democracy and public accountability.  Williams has consulted with his crack legal team and the decision has been made today (Saturday, 7 July) to mount another challenge.

For more information see here:  

http://thatsmyphilosophy.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/its-on-williams-to-return-to-the-high-court-on-chaplaincy-issue/

Mounting a High Court challenge is extremely expensive and Ron Williams is just an average, suburban Dad.  If all of us who care about a secular, democratic Australia can chip in as much as we can, it will help enormously.  Please consider donating at:  

http://www.highcourtchallenge.com/

This is your chance to be a part of making Australian Constitutional history!


Embiggen Books - Your Australian Atheist/Skeptical Bookshop

Embiggen Books, an Australian bookstore devoted to promoting science, philosophy, rationalism and skepticism is now on Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. Warren Bonett and Kirsty Bruce of Embiggen are also passionate and active members of the atheist and skeptical communities.

Australian Atheist Issues

For new members, if you want to get a grasp of some of the issues effecting atheists in Australia, you might like to take a look at the Atheist Nexus (Australia) submission on "Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century" made to the Australian Human Rights Commission early last year. It's long, but easy reading, and worth spending some time on. A report, using information compiled from submissions, should be released later this year.

Atheist Meetup Groups - Australia

If you'd like to meet up with some local atheists, there's no better way than joining your local Atheist Meetup, Skeptics, or Freethought Groups:

Adelaide Atheists
Ballarat Atheists
Brisbane Atheists
Canberra Social Skeptics
Melbourne Atheists
Launceston Skeptics
Macarthur Atheists (Macarthur Region, Sydney (NSW)
Perth Atheists
Perth Skeptics
Sunshine Coast Atheists
Sydney Atheists
Sydney Freethinkers
Western Sydney Freethinkers
Wollongong Skeptics Society

Have we missed your meetup group? Just let me know and I'll add it in.

Discussion Forum

Question from a visitor.

Started by Ted E Bear. Last reply by Chrys Stevenson Jan 17, 2013. 6 Replies

Naughty corner for not attending R.E? Yes, this is in NZ folks!!!

Started by Therese Monteath-Carr. Last reply by Blamer on twitter Dec 10, 2012. 3 Replies

Pell v Dawkins: this Monday

Started by Phillip A. Ellis. Last reply by Alice Apr 17, 2012. 3 Replies

Any Hamiltonian skeptics out there?

Started by Leela Moses Nov 16, 2011. 0 Replies

Comment Wall

Comment

You need to be a member of Aussie, Kiwi & South Pacific Atheists to add comments!

Comment by Chrys Stevenson on February 28, 2010 at 4:38am
BTW Trevor, if you start a group, I'll send out the word here, on Facebook and Twitter to give you a great start!
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on February 28, 2010 at 4:37am
Trevor, you have a ready made group waiting to go an Atheist Meetups. Go to Atheist Meetups. Then, in the right sidebar, click Country: Australia and City: Wolloongong the 'Search'. Scroll down and you'll find a long list of atheists waiting for someone to set up an atheist group in 'The Gong'. It's easy. Just start a group, pick a central point to meet and start!
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on February 28, 2010 at 3:28am
Best to start an Atheist Meetup Group. Our Sunshine Coast Atheist Meetup Group (we share the Brisbane Atheist's site) meets once a month for dinner at a local pub. It's informal, a ton of fun, and there have been no pitfalls at all! Plans are being developed to network all of the atheist groups, so if you start one, let me know and we'll keep you in the loop!
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on February 27, 2010 at 12:58pm
I agree, Luke. A set of resolutions should come out of the Convention but, alas, as far as I know, there is no mechanism or space in the programme or plans to do so by Convention organizers. I did suggest this at one point, but received a very luke-warm response.

And yes, your point about squabbling over commas is very valid. That is, indeed, what happens in committee situations.
Comment by Luke on February 27, 2010 at 9:55am
Soooo. What will it look like? Will we make a list of things we all agree on? Let's do that now. I'll start us off with what I want... really roughly:
. laws should be based on peer reviewed studies, not superstitions, public opinion and what was on TV this morning.
. public schools should be secular. Religious education is what churches are for. They have people all day on Sunday. If they can't get their message out to children during 1/7th of the week they need to improve their teaching skills.
. science based medicine is the only medicine the government should fund.
. private sexual activity between consenting adults has nothing to do with the government.
. the government's laws prohibiting GLBTI marriage should be removed. The injustice of these laws is as self evident as the injustice of slavery or apartheid.

Should it be more of a "We do believe"? Just gotta re-word the above, thus:
Laws based on peer reviewed studies and science make better laws.
Neutrality towards religious beliefs lets everyone live in peace.
Public schools are secular institutions.
Churches, not public schools, are for religious indoctrination of children.
Public medicine should be science based.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transvestite and intersex rights to marriage are self evident.
Scientific facts do not have to answer to superstition.
Equality of the genders is self evident.
A robust democracy limits censorship where ever possible.
Science educators should teach current best scientific theories, not superstition, to students.
... and so on...

What else do people want in there?

From there we just need a catchy name... something like "The Melbourne Declaration" or "The March 2010 Declaration"

But then, at the meeting, how do we stop people from squabbling over semantics? You know what people are like. They'll fight to the death over a comma. Meanwhile the churches have the government eating out of their hands.

Is this what we're doing or have I missed the point??
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on February 27, 2010 at 6:22am
Welcome Trevor! While you're in a reading mood, check out Sean the Blogonaut's latest blog on atheism - No Action = No Movement = No Change. I'd really be interested in everyone's comments - either here or on Sean's blog
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on February 25, 2010 at 3:57am
Good-oh! Anyone else want to put in their 2 cents worth?

http://www.gympietimes.com.au/story/2010/02/25/faith-unites-community/
Comment by Luke on February 25, 2010 at 3:43am
Chrys: Your comment is up. I like what you're saying. :)
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on February 25, 2010 at 12:46am
Just in case it doesn't get published, here's my contribution to the story on Jim Wallace using Martin Luther King as an example of Christians being at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.

"Indeed Luke. As much as propagandists like Jim Wallace like to argue otherwise, the Church has always had to be led kicking and screaming into social and human rights reforms.

The modern history of the Western world has been one of rapid social and scientific progress, with the Church digging in its heels truculently on every major reform. Eventually, the weight of public opinion
becomes so great that the Church is forced to concede defeat – but never without rueful warnings that this will destroy both the Church and the fabric of society. Amazingly, it never does.

It is ironic that Wallace uses Martin Luther King as an example of Christians being at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement. In fact King was frustrated at the failure of conservative Christian whites to support his cause, writing in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

"I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists."

King argued for a progressive church. Jim Wallace, on the other hand, has publicly argued against an Australian Human Rights Act because it may hinder the Church's current ability to discriminate against women, homosexuals, single mothers and other minority groups."
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on February 25, 2010 at 12:44am
Oh, and well said, Luke!
 

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