Is that not a problem though?

Barry Duke at The Freethinker reports that the BBC recently appointed James Purnell Radio and Education Director at the BBC, and then word got out that he’s…hold onto your hats…A Natheist.

He was talking to Nick Robinson on Radio 4’s Today about the BBC’s plan to set up a new unit for improving religious coverage, and Robinson asked him if he’s a godbotherer. (Not his exact words.) Purnell said he wasn’t.

I’m not. I’m an atheist but I think the issues around belief are incredibly important to how we live.

Robinson asked him:

Is that not a problem though? You are head of the BBC’s religious programming, you got the job because the BBC decided to abolish the post of head of religious programming as a separate post usually held by a Christian, recently held by a Muslim.

No, it’s not a problem. Why is it not a problem? Because it’s possible to do a job of that kind without being a follower or a devotee or a submitter or any other kind of obedient partisan of the subject in question. Why is it possible? Because people at that level should be able to understand subjects without having a personal emotional stake in them.

This is especially true of religion. Religion demands a knuckling under, a credulity, of its adherents that work against good intellectual practice. Religion is rather like Trump repeatedly badgering Comey to give him loyalty, which would have meant not doing his job properly.

The interview came as the BBC pledged to “raise our game” by increasing portrayal of all religions in mainstream shows. According to this report, it plans to increase prime-time coverage of non-Christian festivals including Rosh Hashanah and Passover as well as Eid and Diwali.

The corporation said the move was to address concerns that it does not reflect British society.

The plan includes proposals to inject more religious themes into mainstream TV and radio, with viewers seeing  protagonists of popular dramas grappling with dilemmas caused by their faiths.

Well that sounds horrible.

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