Whatever things you may fault Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby for, a lack of chutzpah sure isn’t one of them.
Yesterday, Welby called for British public broadcasters, especially the BBC, to “promote religious literacy.” In fact, he wants that goal to become part of the BBC’s official mission (called a charter) that the government periodically gives the broadcaster as a set of stringent guidelines and obligations.
Welby’s demand is pretty rich. Just a week or two ago, people in the U.K. woke up to the news that the percentage of the non-religious in England and Wales has nearly doubled in recent years. The number of atheists, agnostics, and “nones” is now larger than the local Christian population, and we’re only a few years from a tipping point where “our” faction will be bigger than the number of all religious people within the Welsh/English borders.
What a time to insist that the BBC must increase and intensify its coverage of religious matters!
Broadcasters should give religion the same depth of analysis they provide for sport, the Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed. The Rt Rev Justin Welby called for the “promotion of religious literacy” to be written as a specific duty into the new BBC charter. …
“Religion is about the stuff of life. It’s about people and communities, and what drives them,” [Welby said.] “Religion needs to be treated with the same seriousness as other genres like sport or politics, economics or drama. If anything, they should make an articulate case for more.”
However the White Paper on the BBC’s future Charter, proposed by by John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, only mentions religion in passing and does not impose any specific obligations on the BBC. … The White Paper calls on the BBC to “accurately and authentically represent and portray the lives of the people of the UK today, and raise awareness of the different cultures and alternative viewpoints that make up its society.”
Welby’s wishful thinking would be adorable if it wasn’t such a cocky display of claimed religious privilege.
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