Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Not a Christian country

The 2013 Census data tables are out - which leads to my five (now seven, due to an earthquake) yearly post on religious demographics. The headline data:


[Data from table 28 here. For consistency with past practice, "object to state" has been excluded when calculating percentages]

That's right: Christians are no longer a majority in this country. In absolute number terms its even more stark - they've dropped by almost 200,000 in the last seven years, with traditional denominations such as Anglicans and Presbyterians seeing drops of 18% as their aging members die off. And we've seen that change in our society. 27 years ago, when Parliament decriminalised homosexuality, New Zealand was more than 74% Christian (1991 census figure), and MPs faced a sustained campaign of hate. By 2005, when they passed Civil Unions, it was down to fringe nutters like Destiny Church, and their "Nuremberg March" met with widespread condemnation. And this year, when they passed marriage equality, opposition was muted and it passed by a wide margin. And on that level alone, the decline of Christianity has made us a better country.