Do what you will with the suggestion but I don't support it... I'm just putting it here so I can discuss it.
Got an email today with the heading THIS IS NOT A JOKE
containing the following message:
AUSTRALIA WILL BE HOLDING A CENSUS IN AUGUST DO NOT LEAVE THE RELIGION SECTION BLANK. BE SURE TO AT LEAST TICK CHRISTIAN [OR YOUR UPBRINGING FAITH]. 1,000,000 MUSLIMS WILL TICK THEIR BOX.
10,000,000 AUSTRALIANS WILL LEAVE IT BLANK AND THEN WONDER WHY A MOSQUE IS BUILT IN THEIR NEIGHBOURHOOD!!!!!
PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS.
To be fair, the typesetting was better and the pass it on bit was in red and there was lots of bold type but I'm chuffed I've even worked out how to start a blog let alone make it look pretty, so you will have to trust me it LOOKED threatening.
Where do I start. Well, what if my upbringing faith is Islam? What have I done or said to this person to indicate I give a damn what people believe so long as they aim to do no harm?
Would it sound trite if I said some of the nicest people I've ever met have been muslims [and probably still are]? Trite, perhaps, but true.
There are lots of things about this email that ticked me off. I mean, like, okay, where does the word neighbourhood come from? I mean, like, okay, maybe the original was written by an orstralyen who grew up with sesame street but, like, okay, maybe whoever started circulating this wasn't even original enough to draft their own message from scratch. It almost looks like they've taken a hate message from someone else and attempted to adapt it for locals. I mean, like, what's with all those exclamation marks?
What really cheeses me off is when I get co-opted into someone else's crap values.
Just because I am white am I supposed to laugh at boong jokes?
Just because I'm not 80 does it mean the checkout chick should roll her eyes at me seeking sympathy if the little old lady in front of me takes a few moments of fumbling to find the right change in her purse?
Don't get me wrong; there's nothing I love more than to laugh at a politically incorrect joke, but only if it reflects my values. I can be satirical, but only if I'm sure the other parties to the joke will understand it is satire.
I can laugh at Billy Cokebottle because so far I haven't heard him say anything that reflects badly on Aboriginals. I don't know why he blacks up and pretends to be Aboriginal when his jokes are good enough to stand on their own, but if they simply send the message that Aboriginals have a sense of humour, or are human; if they are just observations of normal human foibles, then who cares?
Can't stand Kevin Bloody Wilson but, hey, I'm not going to deny some Aboriginals like him. I just wish it was satire coming from an Aboriginal rather than crudity from some white idiot.
Where was I? Oh yeah...
There are only two kinds of people in this world - arseholes and non-arseholes.
There are Christian arseholes and Muslim arseholes. There are Christian non-arseholes and Muslim non-arseholes. Give me a non-arsehole any day.
Let me rephrase that - there are nice christians and then there are people who just call themselves christians. There are nice muslims and then there are people who just call themselves muslims.
It's what people do or say that might or might not make the world a better place that matters.
I had a husband once who tried to tell me how to vote. He had been away fishing during an election and when he was sent a fine for not voting he ticked the excuse box that said "deceased". Well, duh. I told him ... oh so many things... but in this case I suggested if he wanted to influence the election results, he could pay the fine and get his name back on the electoral roll.
A suffragette threw herself under a horse to give me the vote, I sez to him, and the days of husbands telling women what to think were long gone. Well, the days of women actually doing what their husbands told them to...
As for census night, I have had a lot of fun in the past with the religion question. I can remember sometimes ticking 'other' and then making up a religion, tho' I'm not sure last time whether they wanted to know what 'other' was. Anyway, my census paper is MY chance to skew the outcome - if other people want the results skewed they can go skew themselves.