Radio Interview – Chris Schacht: ABC Sydney re Secularism

ABC Sydney Radio “Focus”Cassie McCullagh, presenter;  James Carleton, presenter of ABC’s new “God Forbid” program; Michael Jensen, Anglican priest; Chris Schacht, representing NSL.    Regrettably, we detected an element of bias in the program agenda; comments made by the presenter; permitted interjections from Michael Jensen; and minimal “free” time given to Chris Schacht to explain the NSL position.  It's an illustration of the difficulties in presenting the "secular perspective".

Part 1:  NSL was invited to give a ‘secular viewpoint’ but the discussion focused on the “relevance” of atheism, with a post-mortem on AFA’s “failed” atheist conference, and Michael Jensen elaborating on “nasty” atheism.  At 5:54, Schacht had 2 minutes to explain the Separation of Church and State before Jensen broke in with a diversionary argument.   Carleton sidesteps into the US constitution, and Cassie gives Jensen the floor to argue the Anglican viewpoint.  

Part 2:  Pick-up from Carleton referring the 30% “No Religion”.  Michael Jensen sidesteps the Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse and questions the 30% No Religion figure.  1:47, Schacht discusses the Census and suggests it should include the degree to which people practice religion. 2:26 the discussion degenerates. 3:16,  Jensen argues humanists impose their “beliefs” on society too.  Cassie stops Schacht’s response and, at 4:50, she brings in a caller (2 mins) on “why he is no longer a militant atheist”.  7:04, Schacht reflects on the AFA GAC; 8:56, he tries to expound on the “free thought” concept but Cassie breaks in with caller texts.  10:37 Jensen ends by questioning whether atheists can be “good without god” and Cassie blocks a response from Schacht.  She gives  Carleton a long plug for “God Forbid” on the issue of “Iran” and the session winds up.  The segment lacked a semblance of balance.

National Secular Lobby Limited

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