NEWSFLASH: Atheist Radio National listeners fail to care when Religion Report axed
Tuesday October 21st 2008, 7:42 pm

Passionate Religion Report host Stephen Crittenden has been suspended from on-air duties after criticising the axing of his show from Radio National:

“The decision to axe one of this network’s most distinctive and important programs has been approved by the director of ABC Radio, Sue Howard, and it will condemn Radio National to even greater irrelevance,” Crittenden said last week.

“The ABC’s specialist units have been under attack for years, but the decapitation of the flagship program of the religion department effectively spells the death of religion at the ABC.”

Crittenden’s right that the specialist units are under threat. He’s wrong that RN is in any way irrelevant. Despite his critique, I don’t see the cause for jerking him off the air before the show is wound up.

Evan Maloney over on shoots- and scores:

The death of religion at the ABC. Is that really such a bad thing? I understand that if you’re the ABC’s religion reporter it might appear to be less than helpful (it’s hard to be a nanny when the kids have all grown up), but does anyone else really mind?

Why not create a new show Like Mythology Musings instead? Like Religion Report it’s got some catchy alliteration, and unlike the Religion Report, it will be treating the oldest stories known on earth with the respect and privilege they deserve: as wonderfully imaginative stories from early literature that reveal some recurring obsessions in our conscious and subconscious existence.

Too bloody right, Evan.

Underfunding of the ABC is causing a wave of program cuts at Radio National. I’m sorry to see any RN programming go, but the Religion Report is one that RN really could do without. There’s some commentary attached to Maloney’s blog item and on the Friends of the ABC mailing list where Religion Report fans make a specious claim that ‘some of their atheist friends (!) will be sorry to see the Religion Report go.’ Atheists, by definition, are simply not interested in religion. Religion is, as Maloney observes, assigned the relative import of myth and faerie tales by atheists. Mythology Musings is quite apt.

On the other hand, some very good RN programs are getting axed, such as Radio Eye, Street Stories and the Media Report. There’s simply no other program in Australian media which backgrounds big news stories as well as the Media Report- and I will be petitioning Mark Scott to reconsider that cut.


9 Comments so far
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mmm, i dunno. i’m an atheist but very interested in religion. you don’t have to believe in something to be interested in it.

Comment by barry 10.21.08 @ 8:30 pm

If you’re ‘very interested’ in religion, you’re probably not an atheist. An atheist has no use for religion and as such, the only germane information about it is description of the harms it causes to humankind.

Comment by weez 10.21.08 @ 9:59 pm

Weez, dogmatic much? As long as there are religious communities mixed in with us atheists, there are good reasons for finding out about them – learning about the significance of festival days and other customs, and reducing the impact of ignorant social stereotyping, to name just two.

For instance, I happened to catch the RR just now while washing up and there was a young Imam discussing his duties as a counsellor to both men and women who wanted a divorce. He said he was very emphatic about tying up all loose ends at the family court so as to have everything official and legal if their circumstances changed. His attitude completely contradicted the Herald-Sun popular view that Muslims want to defy civil law and follow their own sky-fairy ways, and that they all support policies which are anti-woman. (Some do, of course.)

For my part I’m especially gutted about Street Stories and Radio Eye, also Perspective – my faves.

Comment by Helen 10.21.08 @ 11:11 pm

Helen, I leave dogma to the religionists. They invented it.

A story which contradicts tabloid stereotypes could just as well be on the Media Report or Media Watch; inaccurate reportage is certainly a valid topic for ABC & RN.

However, outright promotion of myth & religion should be left to religionists who can fund the dissemination on their own.

Comment by weez 10.22.08 @ 8:00 am

Religion, Philosophy, Science, Arts, Current Affairs, Politics.
Ban them all. Save the ABC for things that matter to the human race like Homer Simpson and McDonalds and Jerry Springer and Americas Next Super Model

Comment by Doug White 10.22.08 @ 10:39 am

Weez, I’m athiest too, but I think understanding religion is kinda necesary when it guides the thoughts of the vast majority of humans on the planet.

The relgionists on the religion report tended not to be the superstitious intolerance mongerers we tend to associate with faith, so I really didnt have a problem with it.


Comment by Donno 11.01.08 @ 11:33 am

Devoting publicly funded airtime to religion merely gives it legitimacy it doesn’t deserve. If you want to understand a religion, you’d learn an awful lot more if you either join up or take a uni course on comparative theology.

Comment by weez 11.01.08 @ 1:56 pm

I am concerned that it not only “The Religion Report” hosted by Stephen Crittenden that is being axed, it is the whole of the Religion Department. This includes programs such as “The Philosopher’s Zone”, “The Spirit of Things”, “The Spirit Divine” and “Encounter”. all these programs add to the diversity of debate and exploration of culture.

Comment by Jane 11.14.08 @ 11:40 am

I am very disappointed that the ABC has axed the Religion Report, the Media Report, the Medical Report and the Law Report.

These are all quality educational programs and gave listeners important background to many important issues being faced by the Australian society and the world community. They should all be retained.

I am not a religious person, but was when I was younger. One of the main reasons I am interested in the Religion Report is that I am very passionate about human rights. Progressive religious people have helped make positive change for this very important human endeavour.

I do not think that there would have been a change in John Howard’s shameful asylum seeker policies without the activism of many decent
and fair minded people in Australian churches.

The presenters of all these programs are terrific – including Stephen Crittenden.

I am glad he spoke out about the cuts to these important programs. The Rudd Government should ensure that there is enough funding to ensure that they are kept on air. Now that we have no troops in Iraq, could not the savings be spent to continue these programs and other socially useful initiatives?

I have only one question: Is Sue Howard related to John. He was a destroyer and I think she must be also.

Comment by pandy alcock 11.20.08 @ 10:32 am

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