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Godless Aussies

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Post  jifrock Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:59 pm

Sydney Morning Herald, Sept 8 2009

God takes back seat at weddings

September 8, 2009

IF YOU always thought Australians were a godless pack of loose-living bastards, you're right. Census figures confirm that more Australians are living together before getting married, that more children are being born out of wedlock and couples are more likely than ever to be married by a celebrant than in a religious ceremony.

Changing social attitudes over the past few decades have resulted in a greater acceptance of couplings outside marriage, including de facto and same-sex relationships.

Figures just released by the Bureau of Statistics show that registered marriages are at a 20-year high, and weddings officiated by civil celebrants are increasingly popular. In 2008, civil celebrants performed 65 per cent of marriages.

"This is part of a wider trend towards secularisation in Australia," says Lixia Qu, a researcher at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. "Not only do more people today identify themselves as being of no religion (21 per cent compared to 18 per cent in 1996) but the percentage of people who call themselves Christian has declined 78 to 72 per cent from 1969 to 2006."

These changes are easy to take for granted and yet they represent a significant re-ordering of moral priorities, according to demographer Bernard Salt.

"If you had said years ago that we would see many more people living together before marriage and double the number of kids being born out of wedlock, moralists would have seen it as proof of the decline of civilisation and the collapse of our moral fibre. But the reality is that the taboos we once thought immovable are completely flexible."

Salt believes such shifts show our maturity. "People are less preoccupied with sexuality and more concerned about discrimination, with sexism and racism and even with sustainability. Who cares if you're gay? Who cares if you live together without getting married?"

Likewise, the significance of marriage has diminished.

"People care less about the actual marriage, so they don't mind having kids outside of it."

This is partly a function of gender equality. "Marriage is part of an earlier notion that women were dependent on men. Women were saying 'if I am going to invest in you by bearing your kids, then you have to commit to me in marriage'. But with women able to earn an equal income, that contract has been weakened."

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Join date : 2009-09-07
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Post  pandamonium Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:45 am

IF YOU always thought Australians were a godless pack of loose-living bastards, you're right.

HAHA, this is a brilliant intro. And now I want to live in Australia.

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Age : 39
Location : Bay Area


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Post  DG Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:55 am

Speaking of Godless Aussies,

For anyone in Sydney, you may be interested to know that Christopher Hitchens is speaking at the inaugural "Festival Of Dangerous Ideas" at the Sydney Opera House. Perhaps I am slow in that I have only just learned about this talk, but I imagine that I am not the only one. His talk is entitled "Religion poisons everything".

A Google search for "Festival of Dangerous Ideas" will put you on the right path...


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