St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney (Image: Adobe/Private Media)
St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney (Image: Adobe/Private Media)

Imagine no religion The big clicky headline from this year's census data -- commensurate with millennials catching up to boomers in population percentage (both groups now represent 21.5%) -- for the first time the number of Australians who identify as Christian has dropped below 50%. What could have caused this?

Could it be the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse? The public travails of the Hillsong Church, made so famous in this country by the recently departed prime minister? Or perhaps what the loudly religious have been dedicating their time to over the past few years? Say, the years spent campaigning against marriage equality before it was comfortably voted in by the Australian people? Or when that failed the immediate shift to rhetoric against trans and gender-diverse people, again in opposition to the stated views of the majority of Australians?

We asked the Australian Christian Lobby if its choice of campaigns might have had anything to do with this shift. National director of politics Wendy Francis told us the ACL was "not surprised" by the drop in Australians identifying as Christian: "Our culture encourages us to avoid ‘religiosity’, as opposed to the US who correlate their national identity with Christianity ... However, many would point to the nightly news as an example of our nation becoming more godless."