ABC has a word with the BBC

The story behind the story is the sheer number of stories of how the Church of England is dealing with the fact that the UK is no longer a Christian nation.

The Telegraph:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has complained to the Director General of the BBC about the decline of religious programming at the Corporation. Dr Rowan Williams warned Mark Thompson at a meeting at Lambeth Palace that the broadcaster must not ignore its Christian audience.

The corporation recently sacked its head of religious programmes, Michael Wakelin, a Methodist preacher. The emergence of a Muslim as the front-runner to succeed Mr Wakelin, along with the recent appointment of a Sikh to produce Songs of Praise, has raised fears within the Church that the Christian voice is being sidelined.

In a gathering of the Archbishops’ Council, the Church’s executive body, last week, Dr Williams agreed with suggestions that the future of religious broadcasting is under threat. Christina Rees, a member of the Archbishops’ Council, said: “The vast majority of the population identifies itself as Christian and as the established Church in England we would be negligent not to take an active concern in the changes happening with the BBC’s religion and ethics department.”

The Times adds:

The matter was raised by Christina Rees, a member of the General Synod. “We need to be concerned,” she said last night. “We have had a productive and positive relationship with the BBC and there was no intention to be hostile. But it is an abrogation of our responsibility as the established church to ignore what is going on with the BBC in terms of religion and ethics right now. I know [Williams] wants to see the role of religion enhanced in the media and covered accurately and well. He had a meeting with Mark Thompson. They are friends and they meet from time to time.”

The Press Association story has the most on the BBC’s response.

The other story here, is which Dr. Williams do we listen to? Once again, as with other issues, he seems to be of two minds. In this case, do we listen to the one who would trade more Christian media coverage for less of other religions? Or the one who claims to have a leadership role in religious reconciliation, was severely criticized a year ago for saying Shariah courts could have a role in the UK, and who recently told Muslim News, “Muslims and Christians have a very strong sense of God’s will being done in community, when we really follow the needs of the community and work for one another on that in the will of God.”

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