Photo of pro and anti-Proposition 8 protesters rally in front of San Francisco City Hall as California Supreme Court determines definition of marriageSecular Party of Australia Formation

In 2005, a talk was given to a group of Humanists in Sydney, (ironically, on September 11), about the need for a new political party to counteract the undue intrusion of religious views into political opinions and policies. A motion of support was given to the idea.

Following that talk, a meeting was held in Sydney on 4 December 2005, with interested people coming from Canberra and Melbourne to attend. Here it was formally decided to begin steps toward the formation of a new party, to be known as the Secular Party of Australia (SPA). Subsequently a group of freethinkers, secularists and humanists gathered in Melbourne on 10 January 2006 to hear of plans for the new party.

Following the setting up of the Secular Party of Australia web site, the Party was formally launched in February 2006. The organisers seek members in all states and territories who are keen to further the cause of secularism. In mid-2007, it became apparent that another political party, the Freedom From Religion Party, was forming with aims similar to the Secular Party of Australia. After some discussion, the two parties agreed to merge.

Secular Party of Australia Principles

SPA stands for:

  • Upholding and strengthening international law
  • Application of the rule of law in combating terrorism
  • Promoting secular values, laws and constitutions worldwide
  • Asserting the rights of children to be free of religious indoctrination
  • Rational solutions to global problems based on international cooperation
  • Strengthening of the Kyoto agreement to provide an international carbon tax

SPA stands against:

  • Unilateral pre-emptive military action
  • The policy of any country that seeks to promote a sectarian religious agenda
  • Policies based on the presumption of religious superiority
  • Theocracies of any kind, be they Judaic, Christian or Islamic

The unlawful invasion of Iraq in 2003 was not only the greatest travesty of justice in modern history, it was also the greatest strategic blunder. Religion not only inspires the modern scourge of terrorism, it has also inspired many of the most egregious acts in the so called ‘war on terror’, including the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

The breakdown in the rule of law internationally, the widespread and significant erosions of civil liberties, the prevalence of dangerous myths and superstitions, combined with the proliferation of destructive means, portend of a most alarming global scenario. It is urgently necessary that secular values and rational modes of thought be advocated, defended, and secular policies adopted world wide. The Secular Party undertakes to use all possible means to further the secular agenda internationally.

The core problem in the Middle East will never be resolved until all sides agree to put aside their religious claims to territory, claims that are derived from mythology rather than legitimate rights. The Secular Party advocates for Israel and Palestine what is in fact the only possible long-term solution – a unified secular state, where all have equal rights and no-one has any entitlements to impose or infringe upon the rights of others based on their religious belief or allegiance.

The disruption caused by the continuing strife associated with this religious dispute is a gross distraction and an impediment to taking action on the most significant global problem that we face – global warming. This problem is urgent and requires rational action to be taken at a global level. It is quite apparent that the amount of coal burnt annually in power plants must be severely reduced, and that this will require the massive global deployment of all forms of non-fossil fuel electricity generation, including nuclear. This will be extremely expensive. The Secular Party advocates that this be funded by the introduction of an international tax on the use of carbon fuel.

Our world is fast succumbing to the activities of men and women who would stake the future of our species on beliefs that should not survive an elementary school education. That so many of us are still dying on account of ancient myths is as bewildering as it is horrible, and our own attachment to these myths, whether moderate or extreme, has kept us silent in the face of developments that could ultimately destroy us. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it was at any time in the past.

Sam Harris

For more information, visit the Secular Party of Australia web site.

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Copyright © 2008 Stephen Stuart

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