Australia’s ABC Media Cites Dodgy Survey To Slander Christians (Again)

Posted on Tue 03/27/2018 by


By Andrew Bolt ~

The ABC’s Julia Baird has done it again, once again making false claims to suggest Christians are likely to be wife beaters.

Baird last year led a high-profile series of anti-church reports with a dramatic claim that “evangelical men who sporadically attend church are more likely than men of any other religious group (and more likely than secular men) to assault their wives”.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Logo

She made the same claim on 7.30.

But, as I pointed out, Baird’s claim was utterly false:

The most likely wife-bashers are Aboriginal men, with Aboriginal women at least 31 times more likely to be hospitalised.

And I noted Baird’s single source — Arizona theology professor Steven Tracy — in fact cited surveys showing Christian men were less likely to hit women.

So how did the ABC respond? By issuing a tweet attacking “those who want to dispute the women’s stories by quibbling over footnotes”.

Even Media Watch grudgingly admitted Baird was wrong in her jihad against Christianity:

Nor was it the message you would have gleaned from watching 7.30, which made no mention at all of the bigger picture, that regular churchgoing makes abuse less likely.

So, when Andrew Bolt says: “That is exactly the opposite impression you’d have got from the ABC’s 7.30 last night” …. he has a point…

Tracy also concluded: “Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are found to be the least likely group to engage in domestic violence …”

You’d think she might have learned.

But Baird now cites a bogus study once more attacking Christians, and overstates its findings in her first paragraph:

One in four churchgoers has experienced domestic abuse in their current relationship, according to a new study in Britain.

The research, conducted in Cumbria by academics at Coventry University and the University of Leicester in conjunction with Christian charity Restored, has led to urgent calls for churches in Britain and Australia to expose and counter abuse in their midst, with the authors finding more priests need to publicly condemn abuse “from the pulpit”.

Once again, Baird’s claim is immediately implausible. One in four churchgoers is a victim of domestic abuse from their current partner? Seriously?

Well, no.

The survey – of just 438 churchgoers in Cumbria – is not actually representative, as even Baird admits deep in her article:

(The researchers cautioned that participants were self-selected and not necessarily representative of all churchgoers in Cumbria or elsewhere.)

Read the study and you’ll find just how unreliable that one-in-four claim is, given who was polled – and how:

We designed a survey and made it available on paper and online. We selected a random sample of 23 0churches and invited their leaders to advertise it to their congregations. 129 churches agreed to do so. We also advertised the survey via local Christian networks and media. We received 438 usable responses…

Rather than being a random, representative sample (which would not be possible unless churchgoers in Cumbria were forced to complete the survey rather than simply invited to choose to), it is, despite our care to recruit participants through a random and representative selection of churches, to some degree a self-selected sample, which by its nature is more likely to attract respondents who have an interest in the research topic, perhaps because of their personal experiences….

12% of the sample had received CTiC and LetGo’s domestic violence awareness training, so this sample over-represents people with greater awareness of domestic abuse than is typical of the general population.

The researchers falsely suggest their survey is “to some degree a self-selected sample”. It is in fact entirely self-selected. The responses come, as the researchers admit, from people more likely to have “personal experiences” of being abused. Indeed, one in nine had been trained in “domestic violence awareness”.

So to some extent this is not so much a survey of churchgoers but a survey of churchgoers who have suffered domestic abuse or been concerned about it. It is entirely unrepresentative of churchgoers generally, making this summary by Baird a massive exaggeration:

One in four churchgoers has experienced domestic abuse in their current relationship, according to a new study in Britain.

One further point. Baird does not mention one other finding which works against her seeming agenda to portray Christians as particularly violent or hypocritical.

The survey in fact admits that nearly half the Christians who claimed to have been abused by their partner were living with a non Christian:

Of those who have experienced domestic abuse or were unsure, where the information was provided: … 56.7% involve Christian perpetrators and 43.3% involve non-Christian perpetrators.

Given that churchgoers are more likely to live with fellow Christians, I’d suggest this is a clue to the truth that Baird overlooked last year: that non-Christians are more likely to be violent than Christians.

But does that suit her agenda?

Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.

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