The Hon. ELAINE NILE [10.20 p.m.]: Under the heading "The Gospel according to the ABC", Bill Muehlenberg, National Secretary of the Australian Family Association, wrote:
It is a truism that that which God cherishes, the enemy opposes. It should be no surprise therefore that the great events of the Christian faith, as marked by our Christmas and Easter celebrations, should come under sustained attack. There are many different ways in which this takes place. One way is to marginalise or silence the Christian faith and its great truths in the public arena …
Not only can such bias be seen in various ABC broadcasts, but a visit to any ABC shop will reveal similar prejudices. Much of the content of these shops, it seems, can be regarded as the cream of the politically correct crop.
After visiting an ABC shop in Canberra a few years ago, Mr Muehlenberg said:
There was a liberal sampling of Professor Peter Singer's works. The Monash University ethicist's latest book, Rethinking Life and Death was available, along with many of his past titles. Professor Singer is a well-known champion of animal rights. Unfortunately, he isn't as keen on human rights. He has been a long standing advocate of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide.
Peter Cameron's autobiography, Heretic, was there as well. The Presbyterian Church had never labelled him a heretic, nor did it expel Cameron, but the dissident minister thought it a good idea to get some notoriety by writing this controversial volume.
Another volume being flogged by the ABC book shop was Barbara Thiering's Jesus the Man. Thiering has long made it clear that she rejects most of the basics of the Christian faith, with this most recent volume continuing the demolition job.
Another leading iconoclast, Bishop John Shelby Spong, also had his most recent title on display Resurrection: Myth or Reality? One doesn't need to guess what his view is. The debunking of Christianity continued, with Bernard Boas's book It's Time to Rewrite the Bible. The title says it all.
Finally, there was Ian Plimer's Telling Lies for God. In fact it could be more accurately titled Telling Lies for Science, or better yet, Telling Lies for Scientism—for it is not science but scientism, and a radical, anti-religious agenda which undergirds this book. Which is not surprising, given that Plimer is a self-professed atheist and a member of the Australian Skeptics.
Mr Muehlenberg continued:
Of course, in order to be an equal opportunity offender, the ABC did manage to get one Muslim book on display. You guessed it: Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. Better to offend all religions equally, one supposes.
But in fairness, I must admit that one good book did find its way on the shelves. While there were numerous copies of the other books mentioned, there were just two copies of Pope John Paul's Crossing the Threshold of Hope.
After recently walking into an ABC shop, Mr Muehlenberg said:
I was surprised to see just how much things had remained the same.
Many of the old authors were still there but with new titles. Peter Singer's latest offering, Writings on an Ethical Life was there. The kind of ethics Singer espouses are certainly not in line with that of most Australians.
Further he said:
Indeed, the few religious books were typically politically correct. Several of the Dalai Lama's works were there. And those authors of a Christian stripe were all decidedly from the liberal/radical camp. Bishop Spong was of course still there, this time with his new autobiography, Here I Stand. Renegade Catholic Paul Collins was there with his new volume From Inquisition to Freedom. The book features seven rebel Catholics and their fight against the Vatican. And former Uniting Church Minister and social activist Dorothy McRae McMahon was also there with her Daring Leadership for the Twenty-first Century. Of course daring leadership for her has tended to mean promoting homosexual rights, minimising biblical authority and the like.
Nothing has changed, in other words. All of which makes clear that our taxpayer funded ABC seems to be promoting an anti-Christian agenda. How else does one explain this patently biased selection of books? The books on display at the various ABC shops make me wonder if there might be some contractual obligation for all ABC staffers to take an anti-Christian pledge before joining up. Probably not, but the effect is just the same.
Later he said:
Were the ABC a private business, perhaps this would not matter so much, but given that it is a public body, it seems that some accountability must be in order. Given all the racial and religious vilification legislation being passed lately, perhaps the most maligned group in Australia, the Christian community, needs its own vilification legislation. But in these days of political correctness, I wouldn't hold my breath.