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Re: Marriage Celebrants - Qualifications

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  • carteblanche13
    ... Thanks! That is a brighter picture than the one I had. As promised, I m surprised, it s significantly higher than my guess. But it s still little more than
    Message 1 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
      --- In WitchesWorkshop@yahoogroups.com, "Martin" <martin.howells@...> wrote:
      >
      > >
      > > This shameless guesswork produces a total figure of roughly only 8,000 "confirmed" Pagans in Australia, which to me feels about right. I haven't looked at the ABS details but I'd be surprised if it was significantly higher than this.
      > >
      >
      > According to the 2006 Census:
      >
      > Druidism - 1,025
      > Nature Religions, nec - 2,665
      > Paganism - 15,516
      > Pantheism - 1,036
      > Wiccan/Witchcraft - 8,214
      > Nature Religions, nfd - 79
      >
      > That adds up to: 28,535
      >
      > If you add Animism - 872, would bring the total to: 29,407.
      >
      > Conversely, Scientology according to the 2006 Census: 2,513, and they have recognised denomination status...
      >
      > Hope those figures help!
      >
      > Cheers
      >
      > Martin

      Thanks! That is a brighter picture than the one I had. As promised, I'm surprised, it's significantly higher than my guess. But it's still little more than ten per cent of one per cent of the population.

      Two things pop up here:
      1. Gavin said 1% was a magic number. Assuming he was speaking figuratively :), meaning that one needs fully one percent of the population to register as a religious denomination, how did Scientology swing it with only 2,513? I see they have tax exempt status as well, and indeed all privileges of a religious institution.

      What are the criteria for registration as a religious denomination? Is it a "magic number"?


      2. Scientologists claim that there are over 150,000 of them here (I foolishly took their propaganda at face value), but if the census is accurate, only a handful are bothering to put it down...or they just made it up - something of a tradition, I believe.

      I'm relieved at the figures. Wouldn't it be nice to get all 29,000 of us together for a shindig or something.
    • barbtrad
      Hi CB. ... I d be confident in saying that the figure of just under 30.000 is not accurate. It reflects only those who have bothered to state their religion on
      Message 2 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
        Hi CB.

        --- In WitchesWorkshop@yahoogroups.com, "carteblanche13" <carteblanche13@...> wrote:
        >
        > --- In WitchesWorkshop@yahoogroups.com, "Martin" <martin.howells@> wrote:
        > >
        > > >
        > > > This shameless guesswork produces a total figure of roughly only 8,000 "confirmed" Pagans in Australia, which to me feels about right. I haven't looked at the ABS details but I'd be surprised if it was significantly higher than this.
        > > >
        > >
        > > According to the 2006 Census:
        > >
        > > Druidism - 1,025
        > > Nature Religions, nec - 2,665
        > > Paganism - 15,516
        > > Pantheism - 1,036
        > > Wiccan/Witchcraft - 8,214
        > > Nature Religions, nfd - 79
        > >
        > > That adds up to: 28,535
        > >
        > > If you add Animism - 872, would bring the total to: 29,407.
        > >
        > > Conversely, Scientology according to the 2006 Census: 2,513, and they have recognised denomination status...
        > >
        > > Hope those figures help!
        > >
        > > Cheers
        > >
        > > Martin
        >
        > Thanks! That is a brighter picture than the one I had. As promised, I'm surprised, it's significantly higher than my guess. But it's still little more than ten per cent of one per cent of the population.
        >
        > Two things pop up here:
        > 1. Gavin said 1% was a magic number. Assuming he was speaking figuratively :), meaning that one needs fully one percent of the population to register as a religious denomination, how did Scientology swing it with only 2,513? I see they have tax exempt status as well, and indeed all privileges of a religious institution.
        >
        > What are the criteria for registration as a religious denomination? Is it a "magic number"?
        >
        >
        > 2. Scientologists claim that there are over 150,000 of them here (I foolishly took their propaganda at face value), but if the census is accurate, only a handful are bothering to put it down...or they just made it up - something of a tradition, I believe.
        >
        > I'm relieved at the figures. Wouldn't it be nice to get all 29,000 of us together for a shindig or something.

        I'd be confident in saying that the figure of just under 30.000 is not accurate. It reflects only those who have bothered to state their religion on the census form. There are a lot of us who don't for various reasons.. ( mine being that I see it as bloody liberty for governments to ask personal questions)..then there is a geniune fear by some that the information might be used against them.. others still that will put "Mongolian Chicken Worshipper" or Jedi just to poke big brother in the eye.

        Even so be the number 30.000 or as I believe more accurately around 50.000, the fact is there would likely as many versions and beliefs as there were numbers..Its just the nature of the beast. And it is this rather than the numbers that make official recognition difficult. How can that be fixed? It can't!! Neither should anyone even try. It aint broken.. dispite what some may think.. so don't fix it!! It's exactly as it should be.

        Sorry CB but everyone getting together for a shindig? Hmmm! more likely world war 3 methinks.

        Bill.
        >
      • Martin
        ... No, 1% gets you listed on the Census as an option, plus the government probably tends to listen to these more I guess. ... Under the Marriage Act?? You
        Message 3 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
          > Two things pop up here:
          > 1. Gavin said 1% was a magic number. Assuming he was speaking figuratively :), meaning that one needs fully one percent of the population to register as a religious denomination, how did Scientology swing it with only 2,513? I see they have tax exempt status as well, and indeed all privileges of a religious institution.
          >

          No, 1% gets you listed on the Census as an option, plus the government probably tends to listen to these more I guess.


          > What are the criteria for registration as a religious denomination? Is it a "magic number"?
          >

          Under the Marriage Act?? You need 12 "congregations" within Australia, each with a need for a celebrant. There is no restriction on what constitutes a "congregation".

          >
          > 2. Scientologists claim that there are over 150,000 of them here (I foolishly took their propaganda at face value), but if the census is accurate, only a handful are bothering to put it down...or they just made it up - something of a tradition, I believe.
          >

          Yep, probably... But we have to ask, how many Pagans choose not to list their religion? Would the almost 30,000 double if all Pagans listed themselves on the next Census?
        • carteblanche13
          ... SSsssshhhhhh! No, no, no, surely not! What you really mean to say is that it would be a massive love-fest because we re all mega-enlightened and stuff
          Message 4 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
            --- In WitchesWorkshop@yahoogroups.com, "barbtrad" <barbtrad@...> wrote:

            > Sorry CB but everyone (30,000 pagans) getting together for a shindig? Hmmm! more likely world war 3 methinks.

            SSsssshhhhhh! No, no, no, surely not! What you really mean to say is that it would be a massive love-fest because we're all mega-enlightened and stuff because of our amazing magical powers and hidden masters and guardian angels and psychic abilities and special herbal sandwiches and things, and our religions or whatever are the real deal, we've got talismans for that, and if only everyone else would listen, etc. etc. etc.

            But even if it was WWIII, which would be even better!- then at least it would be out of the way and we could get on with the post-apocalyptic utopia plans with a lot less on our chests.
          • carteblanche13
            ... Hmm. Thanks. I always wondered what the criteria for inclusion was - good to hear it is not at all discriminatory, just statistical. ... So it IS a magic
            Message 5 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
              --- In WitchesWorkshop@yahoogroups.com, "Martin" <martin.howells@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > > Two things pop up here:
              > > 1. Gavin said 1% was a magic number. Assuming he was speaking figuratively :), meaning that one needs fully one percent of the population to register as a religious denomination, how did Scientology swing it with only 2,513? I see they have tax exempt status as well, and indeed all privileges of a religious institution.
              > >
              >
              > No, 1% gets you listed on the Census as an option, plus the government probably tends to listen to these more I guess.

              Hmm. Thanks. I always wondered what the criteria for inclusion was - good to hear it is not at all discriminatory, just statistical.



              > > What are the criteria for registration as a religious denomination? Is it a "magic number"?
              > >
              >
              > Under the Marriage Act?? You need 12 "congregations" within Australia, each with a need for a celebrant. There is no restriction on what constitutes a "congregation".

              So it IS a magic number - 12 - and if there's no restriction on what constitues a "congregation", it can't be at all hard to drum up, oh, let's say 13, covens, coventicles, zonules, lodges, pits, etc., nation-wide? They don't all have to agree, or even be on less-than-homicidal terms with eachother. Christ knows Catholic priests are at eachother's throats half the time over this or that point of doctrine. If they just say "we're all Pagan" or "we're all evil cultists" or whatever, they'll give us bits of paper and we'll be plugged into the same elect avenues of tax-free bliss, free marriage celebrancy, and liberty to indoctrinate the young on an industrial scale, that bishops, rabbis and imams have enjoyed for centuries? Is this how it works?



              > Yep, probably... But we have to ask, how many Pagans choose not to list their religion? Would the almost 30,000 double if all Pagans listed themselves on the next Census?

              ...according to Bill's estimate, yep. It would. But that is just 60,000, not 240,000, which is what we'd need to be on the census form. Even if we tripled this already hypothetical doubled figure, we'd still be short by 60,000. Which will not happen, unless there's a massive (ie. unprecedented) explosion in the Pagan immigration or birth rate.

              So we may as well forget about ever seeing "Pagan" or "witch" on the census form, for what it's worth.
            • barbtrad
              Hi CB. ... Hmmm! Love fest hey. I might be getting too old. A darn good love fest and a green apple might well put paid to me these days :-) Bill.
              Message 6 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
                Hi CB.

                --- In WitchesWorkshop@yahoogroups.com, "carteblanche13" <carteblanche13@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >
                > --- In WitchesWorkshop@yahoogroups.com, "barbtrad" <barbtrad@> wrote:
                >
                > > Sorry CB but everyone (30,000 pagans) getting together for a shindig? Hmmm! more likely world war 3 methinks.
                >
                > SSsssshhhhhh! No, no, no, surely not! What you really mean to say is that it would be a massive love-fest

                Hmmm! Love fest hey. I might be getting too old. A darn good love fest and a green apple might well put paid to me these days :-) Bill.
              • Martin
                Just to push the favourtism point a bit further, I ve just had a chance to examine the latest proclamation at the start of the year, and from what I can find
                Message 7 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
                  Just to push the "favourtism" point a bit further, I've just had a chance to examine the latest proclamation at the start of the year, and from what I can find the following Christian additions are interesting given the 12 congregation rule:

                  * C3 Church Global - 3 Australian congregations
                  * Cook Islands Christian Church - 11 Australian congregations
                  * Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East - 8 Australian congregations
                  * OzReach - 10 Australian congregations
                  * Rhema Family Churches in Australia - 8 Australian congregations

                  And that's just the ones I could confirm on their own websites. There are a couple of others that seem to be just 1 church!

                  Really makes you wish you had the $$ to mount a court challenge if they rejected an application from a Pagan group with 6, 8 or 10 "congregations", especially given the fact that there are already so many Christian celebrants available anyway...

                  Food for thought.
                • Frater Carfax
                  Hi Martin ... Administrative Appeals Tribunal, not High Court. Cheaper and easier - and many a time a government department have been told to pull their head
                  Message 8 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
                    Hi Martin

                    > Really makes you wish you had the $$ to mount a court challenge if
                    > they rejected an application from a Pagan group with 6, 8 or 10
                    > "congregations", especially given the fact that there are already so > many Christian celebrants available anyway...

                    Administrative Appeals Tribunal, not High Court.

                    Cheaper and easier - and many a time a government department have been told to pull their head in (seen it myself).

                    Guidelines are just that, guidelines - not law. They are open for negotiation or even AAT challenge based on precedent.

                    I would recommend writing again to the AG - 'confused' as to why you have received the 12 congregation advice when it would appear groups have been approved with less than the advised number - seeking clarification to whether the size of an established congregation has bearing on the case, rather than strict number of congregations.

                    LLL

                    Jonathan
                  • Leif Njordsson
                    G day Martin ... The number 12 is not mentioned in the act or regulations. It is an administrative figure based on the discretion of the bureaucrats in the
                    Message 9 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
                      G'day Martin

                      Martin wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Under the Marriage Act?? You need 12 "congregations" within Australia,
                      > each with a need for a celebrant. There is no restriction on what
                      > constitutes a "congregation".
                      >
                      >
                      The number 12 is not mentioned in the act or regulations. It is an
                      "administrative figure" based on the discretion of the bureaucrats in
                      the AG's department. because the Act gives the AG enormous discretion
                      they are able to administratively regulate, without the fuss of getting
                      it regulated through parliament. That, in reality means that the rules
                      change with every change of departmental director who has enough
                      flexibility to shape the rules according to their personal agendas. You
                      get the situation then where there is a recognised "denomination' in
                      Victoria with only 2 congregations. Why? Because 12 is only a guideline
                      and can be varied at the whim of the department. If the Department likes
                      you and you turn up with 6 or 7, they can quite legitimately approve
                      you. If the Department doesnt like you and you turn up with 14, they can
                      knock you back. Adminstrative discretion based on guidelines is a
                      wonderful thing. Oh and yest they do have internal guidelinies on the
                      form, structure, and numbers of "congregations". They just don't tell
                      you unless they are looking for yet another reason to knock you back.

                      Some of us tried to go down this track with the previous director who
                      was less of a martinet than the current director, probably would have
                      made it eventually if he had not retired. At least he personally told me
                      how the system worked - off the record of course!

                      Wes Thu Hael

                      Leif
                      ----------


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                    • carteblanche13
                      ... Well, that s encouraging, isn t it. Is it okay if I ask where you got this info? Is it available online or have you had to request it? ... That s a bit
                      Message 10 of 23 , Jun 1, 2010
                        --- In WitchesWorkshop@yahoogroups.com, "Martin" <martin.howells@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Just to push the "favourtism" point a bit further, I've just had a chance to examine the latest proclamation at the start of the year, and from what I can find the following Christian additions are interesting given the 12 congregation rule:
                        >
                        > * C3 Church Global - 3 Australian congregations
                        > * Cook Islands Christian Church - 11 Australian congregations
                        > * Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East - 8 Australian congregations
                        > * OzReach - 10 Australian congregations
                        > * Rhema Family Churches in Australia - 8 Australian congregations

                        Well, that's encouraging, isn't it. Is it okay if I ask where you got this info? Is it available online or have you had to request it?


                        > And that's just the ones I could confirm on their own websites. There are a couple of others that seem to be just 1 church!
                        >
                        > Really makes you wish you had the $$ to mount a court challenge if they rejected an application from a Pagan group

                        That's a bit "underdog", isn't it? I wonder, with all due respect, if anyone has ever bothered actually applying(rather than automatically preparing for an heroic struggle after imagined rejection)?
                      • Carl Kovak
                        Brothers and Sisters, Where do I go to find out the Australian requirements for a Marriage ceremony?  And what does the Australian Government require to
                        Message 11 of 23 , Jun 2, 2010
                          Brothers and Sisters,
                          Where do I go to find out the Australian requirements for a Marriage ceremony?  And what does the Australian Government require to register as a church?

                          The reason I as is I have formed a church under Universal Ministeries called The Church of Erin. It is Registered with them and I hold the title of Abbot. We are a Pagan church. I am an ordained minister and have  all the rights there unto pertaining. 

                          Here is the point; The christian church has many denominations but all get grouped together for the perposes of religeous rights and freedoms. If we all group under one chruch with different denominations or even better congregations then the State would have to recognize the whole group. We then ordain our own ministers and give them a title. lets say for arguement we just call them priest or priestess. Then those people could preform all the functions of a clergy which of course includes weddings.

                          What about our other cerimonies they are just as important to us as the other religeons. As one church with many denominations we have unity,Soventry and political power because Pagans vote too!  That last bit is what gets polititions attention and gets us what we want

                          Think about it and if you want my help and Ideas I am always here as yuor friend, Brother and servant.

                          Rendell O. Harris, Rev. Abbot  Church or Erin



                          ckovak@...
















                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Martin
                          This is a subject that the United Pagan Church of Australia has been dealing with for over 3 years now. UPC is basically trying to achieve what you are
                          Message 12 of 23 , Jun 2, 2010
                            This is a subject that the United Pagan Church of Australia has been dealing with for over 3 years now. UPC is basically trying to achieve what you are describing, trying to be as open and accepting of all beliefs as possible. See www.unitedpagans.org.au

                            First, to register as a "recognised denomination" so you can appoint marriage celebrants, you must:

                            a) have a central authority that is independent of any other body;
                            b) have at least 12 congregations in Australia
                            c) have been operating for at least 3 years

                            The tie to "Universal Ministries" will have no impact on the Australian marriage celebrant side of things. Overseas bodies are not recognised, and in fact you must show that the parent body is independent of any other group.

                            There is debate about whether or not we can gain "recognition" with less than 12 congregations, however you will need to have a few at least before you will have a chance. We have tried this already!

                            The other option is to complete the Certificate IV qualification (about $1200 worth) and then apply for registration as a Civil Celebrant.

                            You can find info on this at the Attorney General's site www.ag.gov.au

                            If you want more info on what we have tried so far and how you may proceed yourself, contact me off group seniorhp@... We are happy to help ANY group even if they are trying to achieve the same as us, as after all it can only benefit us all.

                            Regards

                            Martin.




                            --- In WitchesWorkshop@yahoogroups.com, Carl Kovak <ckovak@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Brothers and Sisters,
                            > Where do I go to find out the Australian requirements for a Marriage ceremony?  And what does the Australian Government require to register as a church?
                            >
                            > The reason I as is I have formed a church under Universal Ministeries called The Church of Erin. It is Registered with them and I hold the title of Abbot. We are a Pagan church. I am an ordained minister and have  all the rights there unto pertaining. 
                            >
                            > Here is the point; The christian church has many denominations but all get grouped together for the perposes of religeous rights and freedoms. If we all group under one chruch with different denominations or even better congregations then the State would have to recognize the whole group. We then ordain our own ministers and give them a title. lets say for arguement we just call them priest or priestess. Then those people could preform all the functions of a clergy which of course includes weddings.
                            >
                            > What about our other cerimonies they are just as important to us as the other religeons. As one church with many denominations we have unity,Soventry and political power because Pagans vote too!  That last bit is what gets polititions attention and gets us what we want
                            >
                            > Think about it and if you want my help and Ideas I am always here as yuor friend, Brother and servant.
                            >
                            > Rendell O. Harris, Rev. Abbot  Church or Erin
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ckovak@...
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