Yup, it’s finally happened. New Zealand is now officially almost a majority nonreligious country, statistically. This has been a result of the stats going both ways – the nonreliguious proportion growing and the Christian proportion shrinking. As TVNZ reports:
The number of New Zealanders with ‘no religion’ has officially surpassed the number of people who identify as Christian in New Zealand, with a secular advocacy group calling for fewer concessions to be given to Christians.
Newly released data from the 2018 shows that 48.59 per cent of New Zealanders have ‘no religion’ – up from 41.92 at the 2013 Census.
The number of people identifying with a Christian faith has fallen from 47.65 per cent in 2013 to 37.31 per cent this year.
The numbers continue a trend line which has been observed over several recent Census counts.
Other religious groups, from Hindus to Muslims, also show and increase, though the actual stats for adherents are pretty low. Humanist New Zealand have capitalised on this:
In a press release today, Humanist New Zealand – a secular advocacy group – said the numbers suggest it’s time to re-think the concessions and privileges afforded to Christians.
Humanist New Zealand president Jolene Phipps said that “Christianity has a privileged position in public policy today that is out of step with modern New Zealand”.
“From parliamentary prayers, to classrooms ‘closing’ during the school day so that Christian groups can run religious instruction, the concessions awarded to religious organisations clash with human rights and our concept of a free and fair society,” Ms Phipps said.
“In our hospitals, 10 Christian churches get 100 per cent of the funding for chaplaincy, pastoral and spiritual support from the Ministry of Health.
“Religious groups are awarded charity status and tax exemptions just for promoting religion.
“Non-religious people need more recognition, support, services, and representation. We want to work together to ensure our voices are heard.”
Good old NZ.