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Annoy Prosser and vote Muslim!

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 pm, March 4th, 2013 - 88 comments
Categories: humour, nz first - Tags: ,

After reading Queen of Thorns complaint about the limited gender options in the census, I was considering the census.

For me and almost everyone else I know (apart from my brother and a few others) we are devotedly irreligious. But every census they ask us that same old rather meaningless question…

Obviously voting Jedi didn’t work.

However perhaps we can give the finger to that dickhead bigot Richard Prosser – I suggest that we vote Muslim.

They can’t ignore that. It is a major religion. And you’ll have virtuously filled in a box with something other than “I don’t know and I really don’t care” – which isn’t there anyway.

And for the rest of the census, as antiquated as its questions often seem, answer it with truth and where the truth won’t serve with humour…

88 comments on “Annoy Prosser and vote Muslim!”

  1. karol 1

    where the truth won’t serve with humour

    There’s not enough space to insert humour – mostly tick boxes or short answers.

    • lprent 1.1

      Yeah. But as I was pointing out if they ask a stupid question, then give them a answer that indicates NZ is changing – if it is largely irrelevant like religion, give them a strange answer. Speaking of which, I’d better find the code to login with.

      • karol 1.1.1

        I actually don’t agree that a question about religion is irrelevant. I’m not religious, but it’s still very important to many people. I find it interesting that it’s an important part of many people’s lives.

        • lprent 1.1.1.1

          I always have. However I have a choice of “no religion” or having the word agnostic ignored.

          I hate being ignored. They won’t ignore “muslim” 😈

        • Tiresias 1.1.1.2

          OK, but what’s the relevance of the question – or the answer – to the New Zealand Government which is supposely secular and where religion is supposedly a matter of private conscience? What Government policies are affected by the numbers of the various religions or lack thereof in the Country?

          I’m a Pastafarian, as far as the Govt. are concerned.

  2. TheContrarian 2

    I hope you are being satirical.

    This is a dumb idea.

    • lprent 2.1

      On the contrary, I can’t think of a better use for answering that question. Tell me why you think it is a bad idea

      • TheContrarian 2.1.1

        Because it Is facile, stupid and childish to game the census in order to shame a no name MP who has little to no chance of being back in parliament next round. As well as the fact the question isn’t meaningless and the statistics garnered from this are used for serious purposes and are quoted frequently by everyone from Wikipedia to the CIA world fact book.

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          The statistics garnered from it are meaningless to me. In fact, I’d have to ask how are they meaningful to any part of the government? This is meant to be a secular state right?

          Now tell me why they are meaningful to the government and why?

          Basically it is a dumbarse question left over from the start of last century when it was the basis of various kinds of bigotry. What I am suggesting is to make it a travestry as a way of getting rid of the question faster than traditional wisdom would normally allow.

          BTW: What in the hell relevance is the CIA handbook?

          • Colonial Weka 2.1.1.1.1

            “This is meant to be a secular state right?”

            Only in terms of government. Otherwise religion is a large and useful part of NZ society as a whole. Who’s been running foodbanks all these years?

            • Arfamo 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Good point. There are many good Christians with strong social consciences. And many not so good Christians with no social conscience. Judge them by their deeds I guess.

            • lprent 2.1.1.1.1.2

              That is a good point. On the other hand try and find salvation army or city mission on the form…

              • Arfamo

                “Pretty much like non-religious groups then”. Yep 🙂

                Good point about no space for salvation army. Is city mission a christian sect or denomination? I think the whole religion section is aimed at identifying who claims affiliation with the biggest, or main christian churches. Dunno how useful it is for anything except maybe tracking the decline.

          • TheContrarian 2.1.1.1.2

            “The statistics garnered from it are meaningless to me. In fact, I’d have to ask how are they meaningful to any part of the government? This is meant to be a secular state right?”

            Your facileness is matched only by your hubris, Prentice. indeed, forget whether or not you find it meaningful but do you think Prosser, a nobody, a one termer, is really going to be ‘shown’ by some people he hasn’t heard of, never will hear of and doesn’t actually care about because they voted Muslim on the census?

            “Basically it is a dumbarse question left over from the start of last century when it was the basis of various kinds of bigotry.”

            No it isn’t – this is your hubris again. Considering the fact we are having charter schools introduced and the architect of said schools, John Banks, is a creationist I think now is the most important time to make sure the government knows we are a secular nation that rejects religion in our schools, government and public affairs.

            • ropata 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Putting “atheist” / “no religion” on a census form won’t affect the secular nature of our democracy either, but it’s important to fill out the form accurately so the stats are useful.

              For example, census data is used to measure wealth distribution, something readers of this site are acutely aware of. No idea why they’d want to try and stuff it up!

  3. lprent 3

    Question 41.
    Take the bus or train tomorrow – support public transport.

  4. George D 4

    Meh. I think Prosser is marginal, and would rather get on with the business of getting every religion out of our lives.

    If I was home on census day I’d be putting Atheist for a third time.

    • lprent 4.1

      I suspect that if there was a large Muslim census, then we’d have religion out of our life a lot faster.

      Besides there is no atheist checkbox, and they as good as admitted with the Jedi stuff that they don’t count it anything written. If you don’t want “did not answer” as your vote, then I’d suggest you’d used the no religion box.

  5. lprent 5

    Question 46… ummm

  6. Visubversaviper 6

    There is a “no religion” option. That is the one for me.

  7. Arfamo 7

    The muslims might get a bit narked they don’t have the chance to specify which sect they belong to, like the Christians do. I’m just going to mark no religion.

  8. vto 8

    Lets annoy QoT and vote white, aged, blue rinse, north shore, male and female doesn’t matter, and definitely hetero.

    • lprent 8.1

      Damn thing is online now. Why don’t they ask some relevant questions that take more than 4 pages. Make 4 pages mandatory, and the rest optional but more relevant to the modern world.

      Do you ever use government services online?

      Do you have a listed landline? (mind you, that could seriously piss off the polling companies when the other data gets analysed against that).

      Do you mainly use a cellphone for voice or texting?

      Do you ever use use public transport?

      Do you have a car?

      What else?

    • QoT 8.2

      Jeez, vto, did I accidentally piss in your cornflakes or something?

      • vto 8.2.1

        Well yes I think you did. But don’t take it personally – I seriously struggle with much of the lefts take on matters of race and gender and equality. That is why it is a frequent subject of mine. I bash these things back and forwards because the views expressed on here are so often at quite the odds with so many other views. I keep trying to test the walls….

        (apologies for the attack over on that other thread. woops. its the anti gene again. must go about things better..).

        • QoT 8.2.1.1

          And yet you just kept doing it, vto. Maybe you could take some of this faux recalcitrance and figure out when to pay attention to what a moderator is telling you.

  9. lprent, i think you’re missing a rather important point here. just like the question about race/nationality, the question about religion helps to identify discrimination.

    so if the question is answered correctly, you could tie in income levels to religion, and see if any religious groups are disadvantaged. you could look at education levels etc. i haven’t filled out my form yet, so don’t know what all the questions are. but the same arguments that apply to those who whine about having to define their race/ethnicity, also apply to religion. because there is an aspect of privilege if you belong to the right religion(s) and an aspect of disadvantage if you don’t. there may also be an aspect of disadvantage if you don’t identify with any religion at all (i suspect that would be less in this country than it would be in many other countries around the world, including the US, but nonetheless important).

    there’s the additional aspect that certain religions are linked to race, and that some people will be visibly identifiable in terms of their religion while the vast majority aren’t. it’s much easier to discriminate against the latter, and particularly when they’re a person of colour as well.

    so i don’t think this particular post is helpful in the way you’ve framed it and i’m asking that people don’t lie in terms of identifying themselves as muslims if they aren’t. i appreciate the point that there aren’t suitable options for people who have no religious identification whatsoever, and it’s a totally valid point to make if you think the options are badly put. but you’re response is going to be more damaging than not – at least to the muslim community.

    • lprent 9.1

      Well I am still puzzled about what to answer. I don’t have “no religion” and they ignore whatever you write – like Jedi or agnostic or coptic or anything that isn’t a check box.

      • stargazer 9.1.1

        oh yes, i absolutely appreciate the problem. it’s a very valid concern & i’m sorry that i can’t offer you a better gimmick to highlight it to the census peeps…

        • lprent 9.1.1.1

          I did spend quite a lot of time in my young adult life reading everything from the Koran to the book of the dead. Reading the old testament got me kicked out of Methodist Sunday school. Turns out they didn’t like my interpretation of Elijah.

          I determined that I was faithless and far too interested in logical inconsistencies and stirring to follow a actual religion..

      • Jim Nald 9.1.2

        I embrace the goodness in all religions including ‘no religion’ – should I tick all the boxes?

    • felixviper 9.2

      +1 stargazer

  10. infused 10

    Why not just answer the questions…

    • infused 10.1

      Like that retard that was on the news the other night, saying he won’t fill it in, got fined last time.

    • lprent 10.2

      The particular question I was highlighting has little significance to most people except at a general weak tribal level these days. I certainly don’t care. It doesn’t have a relevant answer. I could pick any of the available answers

      • Sufi Safari 10.2.1

        The particular question I was highlighting has little significance to most people except at a general weak tribal level these days.
        You just couldn’t be more wrong. Pacific communities are among the fastest growing demographics in the country and usually have religion as a cornerstone of their lives and their engagement with society and politics. Those same communities have been over-represented in lower socio-economic areas and households and they have been under-represented in higher education and high-income work. Understanding the evolution of those communities and their relationship to the rest of the population is really important for governments, and also for political parties. Those communities are a looming dilemma for socially liberal parties on the left. Accurate data doesn’t dull that, but it does provide useful insight into how things are tracking.

        I could pick any of the available answers
        Having already claimed to be faithless, unless you arbitrarily subscribe to the dogma of any of the listed religions, you’d have to be a bit of a dick to pick one of them when they’ve provided three options which would seem to fit your position better (“No Religion”, “Other” and “Object to answering”). Objecting to answer the question on the grounds that you have a problem with the structure of the question seems a perfectly reasonable outlet for your curmudgeonliness. But honestly, they’re pretty up-front about how broad a category “No Religion” is, and the semantic difference between atheists and agnostics while valid and important to individuals is pretty transparent from a policy making perspective, so it’s not entirely unreasonable to try and simplify the question to focus on the essential data that policy-makers need.

        And could you stop putting about that Stats NZ don’t count the other box. We know how many people called themselves Jedi (c.53,000), we know what percentage of the population that is (1.5%) and we know that our government statisticians have the ability to filter memes from their data. It seems to me that being pissed that they did that isn’t a good reason to advocate undermining the integrity of data collected this time around. It’s worth noting that whiel it’s not broken out, the Other column is included in all the quick tables from 2006, as is the total of people “not elsewhere included” (Jedi et al).

  11. felixviper 11

    Yeah this is just bloody silly. Observing the changing demographics in our society is something I would have thought was useful and interesting in many ways.

    • lprent 11.1

      But religion? I find that hard to see as major demographic….

      • Arfamo 11.1.1

        If they left the question out I reckon it’d pretty soon show up as major demographic.

        • lprent 11.1.1.1

          Yeah there is that. Measuring what people put in the text box like Jedi or agnostic or atheist or don’t care would help… In the case of the latter three, a checkbox could reduce their measurement error…

          • Arfamo 11.1.1.1.1

            Yeah I agree that it’s sloppily designed. They could have put more effort into identifying more particular denominations and subsets. But I’m an agnostic too and I don’t mind ticking no religion in the absence of a box for agno. I don’t think they’re interested in knowing how many are atheists and how many are agnostics. I think they just want to know how many belong to the major organised religious groups.

            The religion stats sheet from the 2006 census is pretty useless but I guess you can get detailed tables. I personally find it of interest to know what the non-religious/religious component of our society is, and how the religious component is changing. If you couldn’t get that data centrally from the census, where else could you get it from?

            I reckon it’s not a good idea to check yourself off as adhering to a religion you don’t though. Why screw the results?

            • McFlock 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Longitudinal data is better to be sloppily designed but consistent, rather than any dramatic change in question format.

              Particularly when some mouths with fringe religious views like to claim significant support because they all get together in one place and protest.

              Prosser probably thinks he is a typical New Zealander. The Census helps demonstrate he isn’t.

      • felixviper 11.1.2

        “But religion? I find that hard to see as major demographic….”

        Too simplistic. Think about possible correlations between a particular religion and (for example) location, job type, income level or amount of children and you can see how it can become useful.

      • karol 11.1.3

        Lynn: But religion? I find that hard to see as major demographic….

        A little over half is not a major demographic? And the significant religious affiliation of Pacific peoples?

        Stats from the 2006 census:

        Christian religions
        In the 2006 Census, just over 2 million people, or 55.6 percent of those answering the religious affiliation question, affiliated with a Christian religion (including Māori Christian). This compares with the 2001 Census, when 60.6 percent of people affiliated with a Christian religion.

        Despite an overall decrease in people affiliating with Christian religions, some Christian denominations increased and some decreased.

        The five largest Christian denominations in 2001 remained the largest in 2006. There were increases in the number of people affiliating with Catholic and Methodist denominations, but decreases in the number of people affiliating with the Anglican denomination, the Presbyterian, Congregation and Reformed denomination, and with Christian not further defined (Christian, with no denomination stated)…

        There were, however, larger increases in affiliations with other Christian denominations between 2001 and 2006. The number of people affiliating with Orthodox Christian religions increased by 37.8 percent, affiliation with Evangelical, Born Again and Fundamentalist religions increased by 25.6 percent, and affiliation with Pentecostal religions increased by 17.8 percent.

        Just over 8 in 10 Pacific peoples (80.2 percent or 199,983 people) who answered the religious affiliation question identified with Christian religions.

        Of the people of Māori ethnicity who answered the religious affiliation question, 11.1 percent identified with a Māori Christian religion, such as Ratana and Ringatū.

        And census-derived stats are incorporated in the wikipedia page on religion in NZ, and includes the census Jedi “phenomenon”. It has a section on Religion in Politics:

        Religion has played and continues to play a ‘significant and sometimes controversial role’ in the politics of New Zealand.[32] Although most New Zealanders today consider politicians’ religious beliefs to be a private matter,[33] a large number of New Zealand Prime Ministers have been professing Christians, including Jenny Shipley, Jim Bolger, Geoffrey Palmer, David Lange, Robert Muldoon, Walter Nash, Keith Holyoake, and Michael Joseph Savage. However both the current Prime Minister John Key and his predecessor Helen Clark are agnostic.[34][35] The current Deputy Prime Minister Bill English is Roman Catholic and has acknowledged that religious groups should contribute to political discourse.[36] Sir Paul Reeves, Anglican Archbishop and Primate of New Zealand from 1980–85, was appointed Governor General from 1985–1990.

        Christian political parties have never gained significant support, and have often been characterised by controversy and public disgrace.

        As a social scientists I am interested in the relationship between people, groups, communities, religion and politics. The census provides some useful information, including on those antagonistic to institutionalised religions, as shown by Jedi and other responses on the census.

        I think is could be useful for discussion of proposed Charter schools to have statistics relating to culture, income, education and religious affiliation, and the changes in these over time.

        • karol 11.1.3.1

          Edit: I am only one social scientist, not the many.

        • lprent 11.1.3.2

          Apart from the Richard Prosser stir, I’m mostly questioning why this question is in the census at all. The underlying purpose of the census is to provide the basis for the allocation of resources for everything from laying out of electoral boundaries to the determination of regional economic anomalies.

          The space in 4 pages of the census is at a premium.

          There is no particular structural relationship between churches and the state. We don’t allocate monies based on religion except for the subsidies paid to private schools. Why are we bothering to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort to measure self-professed religious affiliations when it serves no meaningful role in the allocation of resources and effort by the state?

          What other more relevant questions that could have used that space got bumped to provide space for this rather useless question?

          For instance I remember a not that many censuses ago where there was a section about access to phones. There was a economic reason for that. Perhaps these days a question about access to the internet would be useful for determining where there significant economic holes.

          It is all very well satisfying peoples curiosity. But this is a hell of an expense to ask a poorly worded badly limited question.

          • Arfamo 11.1.3.2.1

            Has anyone ever asked them why they include a question on religion?

            • lprent 11.1.3.2.1.1

              I haven’t looked. However I suspect that you’d find that the stats department is required to from some arcane legislation originally promulgated when the census was first set up in NZ.

          • McFlock 11.1.3.2.2

            I thought they had both phone and internet questions in this census?

            • karol 11.1.3.2.2.1

              Yes, it’s on the Dwelling form qu 17, not the individual form. The cell phone option is a problematic one though. Mine goes where I go, but the question asks if its in the dwelling all or most of the time. I haven’t decided whether to mark that option yet.

              The wording of both the religion & communications questions could be improved, but I think a religious question still yields valuable information about NZ society – it may not directly inform government funding, but it does indirectly impact on state provisions.

            • RedBaronCv 11.1.3.2.2.2

              Turn off, disconnect all phones and internet while you are concentrating on ticking the boxes. Then answer “no” truthfully.
              BTW telephone numbers are legally personal property why are we required to hand personal property over to the government to use without charge.

  12. Arfamo 12

    The catholics showed a 4.7 % increase at the 2006 census. I think all the other denominations had declined. Be interesting to see the catholic numbers next time round. I was raised as one but these days I’m agnostic and I prefer not to mention my former religion at all any more. It just invites attack.

  13. alex 13

    This is a terrible idea, as if there is a large jump in census numbers of Muslims it will play into exactly the sort of bigotry Prosser espouses. A huge part of anti Muslim xenophobia is the idea that they will somehow demographically swamp Judeo Christian civilisation, if they have census numbers to back them up all of a sudden more idiots might buy into it.

  14. Te Reo Putake 14

    What if if no one at all ticked ‘muslim’? It might lift the Prosser paranoia level to Froth Con 1!

  15. felixviper 15

    Oh, the other thing is that this won’t annoy Prosser in the slightest, attention whore that he is.

  16. McFlock 16

    Ha.
    Ended up doing the “Jedi” thing, simply because it gets lumped in with “non-christian” anyway, and that’s the main thing.
    Might get up to 47 or even 50% this time!

    • Melb 16.1

      ” simply because it gets lumped in with “non-christian” anyway,”

      No, it doesn’t. Jedi, Pastafarian, X-man, etc answers get counted as “question understood, answer invalid” and are completely excluded from the data.

    • RedBaronCv 16.2

      Does your household have that religious artifact known as a “light saber”.

  17. the pigman 17

    What a bizarre post. Religion may have no place in your or my life, but by hijacking someone else’s you’re showing them profound disrespect.

    If anything, a sudden influx in Muslim identified population would only play into Prosser’s bigoted hand.

    I really think you have jumped the shark with this one…

  18. Beryl Streep 18

    Question 18: What is your religion?

    Can’t all us non-religious people just tick the first option ‘no religion’ instead of making up a religion or picking a religion to push. I believe New Zealand would be a more caring society if more people ticked ‘no religion’ if they aren’t really religious.

    http://www.humanist.org.nz/

    • lprent 18.1

      Actually I an irreligious, not non-religious (which is far more specific).

      Irreligion (adjective form: nonreligious or irreligious) is the absence of religion, an indifference towards religion, a rejection of religion, or hostility towards religion.[1] When characterized as the rejection of religious belief, it includes atheism and secular humanism. When characterized as hostility towards religion, it includes antitheism, anticlericalism and antireligion. When characterized as indifference to religion, it includes apatheism. When characterized as the absence of religious belief, it may also include agnosticism, ignosticism, nontheism, religious skepticism and freethought. Irreligion may even include forms of theism depending on the religious context it is defined against, as in 18th century Europe where the epitome of irreligion was deism.[2]

      As you can see to simply dump everyone as non-religious is kind of broad brush. The question really is what is that question in the census for if it is so narrow and unrelated to anything that the state needs to know.

  19. Rupert 19

    Because I think telling the truth is important, I’ll be answering the question honestly.
    Because I think the truth is important, I have no religion.

    • kiwi_prometheus 19.1

      I ticked “No Religion”.

      What about asking about “philosophy”?

      Then I could tick “Humanist”.

      Why isn’t Humanism given a look in? After all the whole concept of a census is derived from a Humanist perspective isn’t it?

  20. Rogue Trooper 21

    speaking of denominations,
    -at the evangelical i support, we feed everybody
    -at the “methodist derived”; “feed the deserving”
    (it’s enough to drive a joker to drink), still, perseverance.

    Card up the sleeve;
    http://0.tqn.com/d/taoism/1/0/0/-/-/-/yinYang.gif

    • ropata 21.1

      Yep there’s a massive diversity of views in the Christian tradition. Liberal/socially aware churches tend to get less publicity than the Catholics and weirdos like Brian Tamaki. Meanwhile the Sallies and good people like yourself soldier on.

  21. RedBaronCv 22

    Perhaps we should have the “church of no asset sales” and that way the census could double as a referendum.

  22. bad12 23

    Lolz, besides all of us becoming Muslim we all should remember to ‘accidently’ tick the box for inclusion in the lowest income groups,

    The deciles for school funding are gained from the census and your local school would benefit by your inclusion in the lower income bracket…

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