Never one to let a good chance to attack Christians and tell porkies about Christianity slip away, “our” taxpayer-funded ABC has been at it again. Of course they make a living (at our expense) in doing this. I have lost count of the number of pieces I have written documenting ugly cases of Christophobic nastiness from the ABC.
It happens on a regular basis, and it is so very tiring. If it were some private outfit filled with misotheists doing their thing, that would perhaps be tolerable. But when they live on our hard-earned tax dollars, and use our money to stick it to us, then all of us should be a bit upset about this. Privatise the ABC now.
But I have made that case plenty of times before. Let me here just briefly look at the ABC’s latest outrage and case of anti-Christian bigotry. Over the past few days the ABC has been running with a beat-up story about how evangelical Christians are the ones most likely to abuse their wives. Yes, you read that right!
If you are a conservative evangelical, a Bible-believing Christian, chances are good that you are daily bashing your wife and treating her like dirt. At least that is the clear impression you would get when you read these attack pieces. Sydney journalist and ABC presenter Julia Baird is the main one pushing this stuff, but it is to be expected, both from her and the ABC.
She is a feminist who writes often on gender and politics, and has penned such pieces as “In Australia, Misogyny Lives On” and “The Courage of Transgender Soldiers”. So no surprises here. The piece begins with this intro:
“Research shows that the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically. Church leaders in Australia say they abhor abuse of any kind. But advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it.”
It is such a bad piece that I am reluctant to even draw your attention to it. It is happy to quote biblical passages about male-female relationships to supposedly show that Scripture is sexist and patriarchal. For example, it is quite happy to quote Ephesians 5:22-23: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour.”
But of course it did not run with verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” However, a companion piece on domestic violence in Islam is altogether different, and much more of a fluff piece. But we fully expect the ABC to go soft on Islam while tearing into Christianity.
Um, stop the fake news and try some honesty here. There is no passage anywhere in the New Testament commanding men to beat their wives or be abusive. But the exact opposite is the case in Islam, with the Koran, the hadith and the sira all making that case. See here for more on this: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/02/23/creeping-sharia-islamic-misogyny/
So let me cut to the quick on this. Have some Christians been involved in domestic violence – both men and women? Have some believers twisted Scripture for their own selfish ends? Do some Christians poorly represent our Lord in this regard? Yes of course to all three questions.
But let’s get back to reality here. There will always be instances of some men – and some women – abusing and misusing Scripture. It happens. But to run with yet another flawed attack piece from the Christ-hating ABC is another matter, and hardly how Christians should deal with these issues!
Yet I have had so many believers running with this hit piece as if it were part of inspired Scripture. It amazes me how little discernment there is out there. They will actually side against their own brothers and sisters in Christ while they side with the militant secular humanism of the ABC.
Some Christians will just blissfully run with it, and not even bother to critically assess what was said and how these conclusions were arrived at. Such pieces involve not just Christian-bashing, but clearly flawed “research” as well. Indeed, even non-Christians have commented on the very shoddy research here, and demolished the sham case being pushed.
One such non-Christian who is appalled by this sort of journalism is Andrew Bolt. He writes:
But anyone remotely familiar with Christianity and Australia should have instantly realised there’s no way “the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians”. First, our worst rates of domestic violence notoriously occur in Aboriginal families, where women are at least 31 times more likely to be hospitalised by violent partners.
Second, it is not the Bible but the Koran that licenses domestic violence. Christ stopped the stoning of a woman accused of adultery, but Mohammed said men could hit disobedient wives: “Admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them.”
And, third, Baird, herself, concedes deep in her online article that her American source says “regular church attenders are less likely to commit acts of intimate partner violence”. That suggests Christianity actually protects women, exactly the opposite of what the ABC implied.
He then takes a closer look at the “research” involved and finds it seriously wanting:
But check further and it becomes clear Baird missed clear evidence that contradicts her anti-Church theory. Her single source for her big claim is Steven Tracy, a theology professor at a Phoenix seminary, who did indeed in one essay claim “conservative Protestant men who are irregular church attendees are the most likely to batter their wives”.
But when you check Tracy’s own sources you’ll find the evidence is against him. Tracy cites a paper by Professor Christopher G. Ellison which actually finds that other groups experience greater incidences of domestic violence, demonstrating that there are, in fact, competing views on this issue. The paper claims: “African-Americans, in particular, have higher levels of domestic violence”.
What’s more, Ellison says that men who often go to a Christian church “are 72 per cent less likely to abuse their female partners than men from comparable backgrounds who do not attend services”. The conclusion is clear: “Our findings … suggest that religious involvement, specifically church attendance, protects against domestic violence.” Christianity literally saves.
Tracy also quotes in his footnotes a New Zealand study by Emeritus Professor David Fergusson which confirms that Christianity is a civilising influence, counter to what the ABC implied.
As Tracy writes: “… 11.2 per cent of husbands who never attended church assaulted their wives. But only 2.2 per cent of husbands who attended church at least monthly assaulted their wives, while 6.2 per cent of husbands who attended church sporadically assaulted their wives.”
This is not what Baird reported and what the ABC yesterday claimed. Why didn’t the ABC report the truth: that Christianity actually saves women from abuse? Why did it instead falsely claim — and instantly believe — the falsehood that evangelical Christians are the worst abusers? The ABC is not merely at war with Christianity. This proves something worse: it is attacking the faith that most makes people civil.
And let me bring another non-Christian into this debate, whose research takes us to the exact opposite conclusions of Baird. Feminist scholar Elizabeth Brusco penned a book called The Reformation of Machismo, looking at how evangelical Christians are the ones who actually reduce domestic violence. As one write-up puts it:
“In the US, Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are found to be the least likely group to engage in domestic violence. Marxist feminist Elizabeth Brusco set out to study the impact of evangelical conversion on family life in Columbia. Here’s what she discovered by careful research:”
The asceticism required of evangelicals brings about change in the behavior of male converts, particularly in relation to the machismo complex in Latin America. Drinking, smoking, and extramarital sexual relations are forbidden. By redirecting into the household the resources spent on these things, such changes have the effect of raising the standard of living of women and children who are in varying degrees dependent on the income of these men.
My data on Colombian evangelical households support the conclusion reached by virtually every other analyst of Latin American Pentecostalism, that is, that conversion of both a woman and her husband improves the material circumstances of the household. Quite simply, no longer is 20 to 40 percent of the household budget consumed by the husband in the form of alcohol. Ascetic codes block many of the other extra-household forms of consumption that characterize masculine behavior in Colombia: in addition to drinking, smoking, gambling, and visiting prostitutes are no longer permitted.
Furthermore, an emphasis on male as well as female fidelity within marriage prohibits a man from keeping a woman other than his wife, and so a man’s limited resources are no longer split among two or more households dependent on his wage.
In re-forming male values to be more consistent with female ones (i.e., oriented toward the family rather than toward individualistic consumption) the movement provides a “strategic” challenge to the prevailing form of sexual subordination in Colombia. [pp. 5-6]
The tangible changes and improvement in the standard of living of women and children in dependent households is only a symptom or an indicator of something much more remarkable that is happening.
With conversion, machismo is replaced by evangelical belief as the main determinant of husband-wife relations. The machismo role and the male role defined by evangelicalism are almost diametrical opposites. Aggression, violence, pride, self-indulgence, and an individualistic orientation in the public sphere are replaced by peace seeking, humility, self-restraint, and a collective orientation and identity with the church and the home. [p. 139]
So here we have two non-evangelicals coming to the defence of biblical Christianity, while all sorts of rather clueless Christians are sharing this ABC hit piece as if it were gospel. Shame on them. They are simply siding with the enemies of Christianity, and they are pushing dodgy “research”.
We expect Christ-haters to run with this sort of foolishness, but when Christians get on board and promote this sort of stuff you know we are in a real bad way. No wonder we keep losing. With friends like these, who needs enemies?