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LETTER TO THE BBC
LETTER TO THE BBC
Here I must, with reluctance, raise two difficult topics that highlight the problems with the representation of Christianity. The first is the BBC and Islam. Were the neglect of the Christian faith part of a universal disregard for spirituality or religion then our complaints might be muted. But it is not so. There is a general consensus amongst Christians that, in contrast to an almost untouchable Islam, we are ‘fair game’. Indeed there is a perception that if someone wants to make a dig at religion in general then we are the people that they choose to attack. Clearly, while the policy of turning the other cheek to one’s aggressor (Matthew 5:39) may have biblical authority, it’s evidently not the wisest of strategies in dealing with the media. It’s impossible to imagine the BBC producing any sort of programme that examined the origins of Islam or the Quran with anything like the severity with which Christianity or the Bible is treated. Mind you, the attacks on Channel 4 for producing Tom Holland’s Islam: The Untold Story suggest that to do that would require considerable courage. But there is a widespread sense of unfairness. So, for example, Christians in politics are criticised for merely holding the opinion that gay sexual activity is unacceptable but Muslim politicians are not asked whether they reject the action of stoning such people. Something approaching a level playing field would be desirable.
The second is the whole complex area of LGTBQ issues. I’m anxious not to weigh in on the rights and wrongs in this area but simply to point out that within the BBC there seems to be a disproportionate focus on such matters compared to those of faith. Yes, LGTBQ matters are on the frontline of the liberal agenda. But that liberal agenda is far from being a universal one. Here one has sympathy with those critics of the BBC who say that it is really a manifestation of The Guardian in other forms. I note that in the BBC Religion & Ethics Review December 2017 there is the concession that ‘there is a perception among some religious stakeholders that the BBC has a more secular culture than the UK as a whole’. In that tersest of Christian comments, Amen!