I'm an Australian Humanist interested in social justice, non-violent action and sustainable living.

How does that relate to your activities?

 

2. An interesting study of the Catholic Church in Australia. In the Netherlands the government subsidises the university training of Humanist Counsellors (Univ of Humanism). With the severe drop in the number of Catholic priests, as well as in Protestant denominations, what support is there for people seeking answers to their personal questions?

 

In the attached 12 page PDF it demonstrates that most Australian catholic churches do no longer have a resident priest (despite importing priests from Africa and Oceania) but that Catholic schools are increasing and creating a two-tear society in Australia: religious schools and state (secular) schools. Humanism is generally not taught in Australian schools, nor is Creationism, except probably in a few fundamentalist Baptist schools.

 

The reason (Australian) churches are tax-exempt is a relic of past history, when the church was established by the State that did the taxing. It was deemed that church work was good work. In the Statute of Elizabeth I (about 1602) four 'heads of charity' were set out, of which I remember three: the relief of poverty, the advancement of education and the advancement of religion. The third one should be finally declared obsolete.

How does this compare with the American church tax-exempt laws?

 

Ben Leeman,

Melbourne Australia

 

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