The archbishop gives the BBC a damn good scolding

This seems rather bossy.

Dr Rowan Williams warned Mark Thompson at a meeting at Lambeth Palace that the broadcaster must not ignore its Christian audience. His intervention comes amid mounting concern among senior members of the Church of England that the BBC is downgrading its religious output and giving preferential treatment to minority faiths.

Warned? Must not? Intervention? Well, those are all the Telegraph’s words, to be sure, not the archbishop’s. But all the same, it seems somewhat peculiar (to me anyway) for an archbishop to be attempting to tell the BBC what to do. Where in the bible does it say what proportion of time the BBC has to give to Christianity?

As a public service broadcaster, the BBC has a duty to provide religious programmes. But Dr Williams challenged the director general during their meeting earlier this month over the decline in religious broadcasting on the BBC World Service.

Huh? As a public service broadcaster, the BBC has a duty to provide religious programmes? Does it? Why? That seems like a complete non-sequitur to me. How does public service impose a duty to provide religious anything? They’re two different things. It’s not clear if the Telegraph means a moral duty or a statutory one; if it’s the former the claim is absurd.

A BBC spokeswoman argued that changes that have been made to the department were intended to strengthen the BBC’s offering. “The BBC’s commitment to Religion and Ethics is unequivocal and entirely safe,” she said, adding that the BBC had stressed this to bishops who had expressed concerns.

Yeah don’t worry, the BBC is quite determined to go on treating religion and ethics as if they were indissolubly joined when in fact they are in strong conflict. No problem, the BBC will go right on confusing people by pretending you can’t have ethics without religion. No doubt that is their duty as a public service broadcaster.

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