The new Victorian Premier, Ted Ballieu, has recently announced intention to change the Victoria's Equal Opportunity Act 2010 which ensured that religious organisations could not discriminate in the field of non-religious employment.
Recently a PEW study surprised many by its announcement that most atheists know more about religion that those of strong belief, despite the fact that a majority consider religion to be "very important" to their lives. In other surprise figures, a sizeable minority of Protestants cannot name the gospels and a similar figure of Catholics are unaware of the sacrament of transubstantiation.
Much has been made of the fact that France, the has banned the burqa, l'affaire du voile, with the exception of places of worship. Earlier in the year a law was passed that scarves covering the face were banned in schools and hospitals, as well as on public transport. Women, who violate this requirement will be fined €150 Euros and given a course of lectures on the basics of the secular foundations of the French Republic. Men, who force women to wear burqa, will face up to a year in prison.
The Los Angeles Times has reported Obama's speech for 9-11, where he claims that it was the perversion of religion, rather religion itself that was the cause of terrorism. This is a challenging statement and whilst politically expedient, it certainly should be subject to scrutiny. After all, it is often in the name of religious justifications that some of the greatest secular crimes have occurred.
At the ICUU/ANZUUA conference there was some discussion of the possibility of a Unitarian-Universalist seminary for Australia. "The time is right", was a commonly expressed statement indicating a confidence in our current capacity and needs. The following is a preliminary sketch on how ANZUUA might proceed in establishing such a seminary with some references to how it is conducted at Meadville-Lombard and Starr King in the United States.
A surprise study published in The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and reported by Scientific American suggests that the so-called Generation X group are more loyal to their religious background than the "Baby Boomers". By the same token the survey of some 37,000 Americans also noted that the number with no religious affiliation doubled in the 1990s and continues to increase.
Pew has conducted a poll which reveals that 18% of U.S. residents believe that Barack Obama is Muslim, up from between 11% from March 2009 to August 2010, whilst the number who believe he is a Christian has declined from 48% to 34%, whereas the number who don't know his religion has increased from 34% to 43%.
A survey of doctors in the United Kingdom has shown there is a strong correlation between those of religious faith and the types of drugs that they prescribe, with critically ill patients not being informed of strong pain killers which, whilst pallitive, can shorten life. One wonders what doctors will be like if they find themselves in such a situation - or will they use the drugs that they know about to relieve the symptoms?