Since its inception, Progressive Atheists’ (PA) goals have supported and promoted the principles of a secular society. We value and work together with various groups with a view to bettering our society on issues of equality surrounding gender, race and sexual orientation, to name a few. We are pleased to join the Secular Coalition of Australia (SECOA) and hope to further realise the common goals we share.
The 2011 Census indicated that more people are identifying themselves as having no religious affiliation at all, the percentage increasing from 18.7% in 2006 to 22.3% in 2011 These are encouraging numbers, reinforcing our belief that atheists in general support the separation of church and state. Equally, it is very encouraging to see that, irrespective of religious affiliation, the vast majority of Australians are in support of this secular principle. Early this year and in view of this, we compiled a table listing Federal Parliamentary Members’ past voting records on same sex marriage, cloning and RU-486. Though we do not endorse any political parties, we believe voters should be informed on where their politicians stand on these important issues. We support SECOA’s efforts in developing a voting scorecard for the upcoming federal election.
SECOA’s 10 Point Plan draws together many of our own aims and we welcome it. We have posted the Plan on a sister Melbourne Atheist Facebook group site, as well as on our own website and will continue to update these and encourage further discussion between members.
For the past few years, our members have dedicated their time to setting up Meetup groups around Victoria to enable atheists and freethinkers to contact each other and open up dialogue regarding local and other issues of concern. PA has also been holding regular monthly meetings and organising events such as Darwin Day and a Zombie Easter Parade. We were proud to have been one of several groups involved in supporting the Sean Faircloth Tour in Melbourne in March this year.
On June 1st groups from around Victoria convened in Melbourne for our inaugural Atheist Conference. Examples of member concerns raised for discussion were: religious discrimination towards women and minorities, religious tax exemptions, labelling of Halal / Kosher meats, and the lack of women participating in the atheist / freethought community.
This June, one of our members has been fortunate enough to attend the Secular Women’s Conference in the US and the Empowering Women Conference in Dublin. PA is eagerly awaiting her return and we are hoping to gain a glimpse of, and learn from the work done by, other great secular women on issues of women’s rights and inclusivity in a secular society.
We are also seeking to have a larger presence in local universities, with the distribution of leaflets in stalls during Orientation Week. PA encourages atheists and other freethinkers to participate in and join the atheist, skeptic, rationalist or secular groups on university campuses around the country.
On the first week of every month, we issue a bulletin in print form, as well as on our website. Our bulletin records the news and updates on current and upcoming events, as well as other points of interest. These are distributed amongst our members and passed on to new and prospective members.
Progressive Atheists Inc, will continue to identify issues and support ongoing projects in line with SECOA’s 10 Point Plan.