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Old 11-22-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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Hi - I'm soon to be moving to Monterey CA with my family, and my son will be due to start school. We're Aussies, and Australia's a very, very secular society. The only two people I know who go to church regularly are a very religious aunt and our military chaplain.

Here about 60% of people consider themselves religious, but much fewer (20% or less) actually attend church or practice their religions beyond possibly christening/baptising their kids or sending them to a religious school (this is around 30% of kids, as here private schools are seen as a bit more elite and better quality in general, despite there being strong evidence they are in fact no better). We have religious classes offered in public schools, but many parents opt out, and we have a high court challenge underway aimed at axeing religion in schools.

Most people here have the view that religion is part of your home life, so people tend to be friends with a very wide variety of people and are unlikely to even know of their religion unless they visit their home. We've got a few fundamental types, and religion still pervades politics to a large extent, but it's certainly phasing out in terms of influence: people generally don't like it when religion and politics mix. Julia Gillard is an atheist, too.

I'm just wondering the extent to which people are religious in the area we'll be moving to. Will religion be taught in schools? Can you opt out? Will people notice or care if we don't go to church/believe in God? Are people generally accepting of atheism?

Thanks!
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:34 PM
 
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In general, in the US, religion is not taught in the public schools. No need to opt out. Some teachers may be more religious than others, but I don't know that this is the case in Monterrey, but they are mandated to keep religion out of the classrooms.

You will find that the Pledge of Allegiance is usually said and that includes the words *under God*. However, you can omit these and you probably don't even *have* to say the pledge though you do need to be respectful while others say it.

I am not sure how religious the people of the area are. Here in Texas, there is a lot of church attendance and people do talk about religion and ask where you go to church. That does not mean they will be unfriendly if you don't go, but here it is very church-going is very prevalent.
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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It will be FAR easier for you to be an atheist in Monterey, CA than it will be for you to get a gun license.
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:18 PM
 
Location: East Coast U.S.
1,513 posts, read 1,434,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcroc View Post
Hi - I'm soon to be moving to Monterey CA with my family, and my son will be due to start school. We're Aussies, and Australia's a very, very secular society. The only two people I know who go to church regularly are a very religious aunt and our military chaplain.

Here about 60% of people consider themselves religious, but much fewer (20% or less) actually attend church or practice their religions beyond possibly christening/baptising their kids or sending them to a religious school (this is around 30% of kids, as here private schools are seen as a bit more elite and better quality in general, despite there being strong evidence they are in fact no better). We have religious classes offered in public schools, but many parents opt out, and we have a high court challenge underway aimed at axeing religion in schools.

Most people here have the view that religion is part of your home life, so people tend to be friends with a very wide variety of people and are unlikely to even know of their religion unless they visit their home. We've got a few fundamental types, and religion still pervades politics to a large extent, but it's certainly phasing out in terms of influence: people generally don't like it when religion and politics mix. Julia Gillard is an atheist, too.

I'm just wondering the extent to which people are religious in the area we'll be moving to. Will religion be taught in schools? Can you opt out? Will people notice or care if we don't go to church/believe in God? Are people generally accepting of atheism?

Thanks!
No worries, mate.
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Old 11-24-2011, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,117,789 times
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Wow, the Aussie Prime Minister is an Atheist? Amazing. I can't imagine America electing an Atheist president.

Of course, the unfortunate Aussies don't get to elect their Prime Minister in a nathonal vote. They vote for their local MP, and then the MPs get together and choose a Prime Minister. Sad system.

Religion plays a big part in the lives of many Americans and some people find that irritating. I'm an Atheist, and the religious tone in America does not bother me at all.
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Old 11-24-2011, 10:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Wow, the Aussie Prime Minister is an Atheist? Amazing. I can't imagine America electing an Atheist president.

Of course, the unfortunate Aussies don't get to elect their Prime Minister in a nathonal vote. They vote for their local MP, and then the MPs get together and choose a Prime Minister. Sad system.

Religion plays a big part in the lives of many Americans and some people find that irritating. I'm an Atheist, and the religious tone in America does not bother me at all.
Not only is she an atheist, she is not married to her defacto partner - who lives in the Prime Ministerial Lodge with her.
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:16 AM
 
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A don't know what the general tone of CA is. I'm a kiwi who moved to the US but I went to Vermont, one of the least religious States. I may as well be in NZ or Australia for all the complete lack of religiosity in this place. I work with other atheists and it has never been an issue to not have a god belief. It's pretty cool actually, certainly not what I expected at all.

Really the worst thing about the US is the lack of Vegemite.
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,117,789 times
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Originally Posted by Djuna View Post
Really the worst thing about the US is the lack of Vegemite.
I have heard the worst thing about NZ is that they don't serve grits with breakfast.
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Under the Redwoods
3,748 posts, read 6,159,032 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djuna View Post
A don't know what the general tone of CA is. I'm a kiwi who moved to the US but I went to Vermont, one of the least religious States. I may as well be in NZ or Australia for all the complete lack of religiosity in this place. I work with other atheists and it has never been an issue to not have a god belief. It's pretty cool actually, certainly not what I expected at all.

Really the worst thing about the US is the lack of Vegemite.
Having been raised in CA, I feel safe in saying that the OP will have the same experience.
Monterey is a touristy spot that is surrounded by agriculture. It's the farm workers that are likely the ones mostly going to church. And they keep to themselves.

California is nothing like the bible belt.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:50 PM
 
51 posts, read 64,640 times
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Of course, the unfortunate Aussies don't get to elect their Prime Minister in a nathonal vote. They vote for their local MP, and then the MPs get together and choose a Prime Minister. Sad system.
Well, we kind of do and don't. Just about the entire election campaign focusses on who will be PM. So while we don't specifically vote for a PM, we do vote for the party, and in a two party system each party has certain values and makes various promises they probably won't achieve. When there's an election, people have an expectation when voting for a party that a certain person will become PM (they are chosen well in advance - at least 18 months or so) to the point where lots of people whinge about how young people seem to think we're America and voted in that person rather than that party (voting is compulsory). People can also choose not to vote for their local MPs and just vote for one party or the other (i.e. give all their voting preferences to the current PM/new candidate or the opposition candidate). We also have no limit on how many terms can be served. John Howard was a very good politician so ran for several terms over about 11 or 12 years, sometimes calling a new election to decide a very major issue like GST.

Julia Gillard actually became PM in a shock coup. Kevin Rudd was the PM and the party decided to oust him in favour of her in a spectacular takeover - one of the stupidest things in politics that I've ever seen. Kevin was down in ratings but he'd certainly win now if there was an election and Julia's extremely unpopular (mostly because of the introduction of a tax on carbon emissions, which is an awesome idea, but it's going to cost the bogan majority an extra ten bucks a week - oh the horror. It's not like fuel and electricity will continue to, you know, go up or anything if we just ignore the environment and climate change).

No one really noticed or cared she was an atheist - people were more interested in her being the first female PM but that wasn't much of a big deal either. De facto relationships are very common here, and after 6 months it's considered equal to a legal marriage. One thing I read in our overseas info is if we were de facto the US wouldn't recognise it as a marriage? We're married though.

The gun thing Aussies don't really get. I don't know anyone with a gun (yet have fired one many times - I was briefly in the army but was medically discharged). Gun ownership here is very rare. In the top end some people do go feral pig or buffalo (an Indonesian buffalo) shooting and some go duck shooting in places, but there isn't much you can shoot anyway. Any shooting here is a massive deal and murder is pretty rare overall. We have some gang shootings sometimes, then make them the subject of Underbelly.

Most Australians have watched Michael Moore docos too, so are of course 'experts' on the evils of gun ownership, the US health system, capitalism etc. I like Michael Moore but I'm sure he's also very biased. Start any discussion on US gun ownership on an Aussie forum and everyone will definitely have something to say though.

Evolution debates are much rarer here to the point where it is something that's hard to comprehend. It's just fact, end of story. There is no question of anyone not learning it in school. Even without a fossil record there is a veritable mountain of evidence for evolution - as a scientific principle we have as much evidence for evolution as we do for gravity or atomic theory or the existence of the sun. We have very few biblical literalists here and those who are Christian are predominantly catholic or Anglican. (Hillsong is probably the biggest fundamental church.) Still, when you want to believe something badly enough, no amount of reasonable evidence will ever convince you it's incorrect. On it being 'bigotry' not to teach Creationism in schools, ignoring the obvious logic that evolution is science and not religion, mate could you honestly say you would accept your kids being taught to worship another God in school? Isn't that also bigotry? DO you expect your kids to be taught other branches of science, avoiding only those that do not suit your beliefs?

I'd secretly lurve to go to the Creation museum because I love the evolution debate (especially the horrifying absurdity that it even is a debate) and I'd find it a real curiosity. I have a very, very strong understanding of science - especially biological science and genetics - but I'd like to see the history denial in action in a way. It would be mind boggling. I could never in a million years expose my kids to it, though. No one here teaches 'evolution' as a separate theory - it permeates every aspect of science. This is what Creationists tend to forget: the evidence isn't just some collection of fossils. Every facet of the natural world reflects evolution as the blindingly obvious, immovable truth.

I also got that post from our religious friend in PM form, and it's my first attempted converting! My heathen arse isn't about to budge though. Sorry mate!

Last edited by jcroc; 11-26-2011 at 03:04 PM..
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