Archbishop says talk more about his special subject

Another religious mouthpiece tells us that religion must be taken more seriously, by law, and that it must be forced on everyone whether they like it or not.

The BBC should be legally required to treat religion on a par with politics, sport or drama, the Archbishop of Canterbury is to say.

I thought it already did treat it that way, but if it doesn’t, so what? I can think of a lot of reasons the BBC might prefer to keep its distance from religion, and I don’t see why it should be legally required to take it as seriously as politics.

A recent Government White Paper includes calls for the BBC to be required to reflect the “diversity” of the British Isles.

But in a speech at the annual Sandford St Martin awards for religious broadcasting at Lambeth Palace, he will call for it to be required to treat faith issues with “the same seriousness as other genres like sport, politics, economics or drama”.

That’s a hell of a mixed bag. Is sport treated with the same seriousness as politics? Is drama treated with the same seriousness as economics? How is Welby measuring seriousness anyway?

“The promotion of religious literacy should be a specific duty for the BBC across its broadcasting services,” he will say.

“BBC charter renewal, and questions about the ownership of Channel 4, have focussed to some extent on the diversity of people who make up our islands and who constitute the audience of our great broadcasting institutions.

“But if diversity is to mean anything, it must mean more than differences in ethnicity or personal tastes… True diversity also means paying proper attention to religion.”

Or perhaps it means setting religion gently aside, knowing how ready people are to get agitated about “diversity” in religion. It’s not obvious that more attention to religion would be helpful for “diversity.”

The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, who chairs the Sandford St Martin Trust, which organises the awards, said: “Religion is a prime motivator of individuals and communities, inspiring and informing their political, economic, ethical and social behaviour.”

Including extremely horrible behavior. We could talk about that more…

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