Saturday 13 July 2013

Predictive text

Given Radio 4's religious current affairs programme Sunday's tendency to report certain kinds of stories and not report others, it might be a fruitful experiment to see what topics it covers tomorrow morning and make some predictions. A blogger who senses bias should be able to predict in advance what sorts of story won't get covered, even though they should be covered.  

OK. Here goes then.

There's the highly significant news that Pope Francis is backing the Ordinariate by allowing Catholics to join it. This will disappoint some of Edward Stourton's friends at the liberal Catholic Tablet, but has delighted many who were being led to believe that Francis was no fan of the Ordinariate, set up by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. That's a must for tomorrow's programme. 

A much more detailed discussion of the new Pope's first encyclical (heavily influenced by Benedict) wouldn't go amiss either, after last week's very glancing discussion of it with Robert Mickens of The Tablet. This is big news for Catholics. 

Melvyn Bragg has spoken out, saying that Christianity should be respected for its history and its contribution to mankind. It would be interesting to hear an interview with Lord Bragg about this.

Charles Moore has interviewed Archbishop Justin Welby about his personal experiences of faith. It would be interesting to hear an interview with Justin Welby on similar themes - instead of about the programme's usual themes of politics, gay marriage and women bishops. Failing that, an interview with Charles Moore about that interview would be ample compensation. 

The terrorist bombing of Bodh Gaya, one of Buddhism's holiest sites in India, presumed to be by Islamic jihadists, is probably the religious story of the week. It is very big news for Buddhists and is a must for Sunday. There would be no excuse for not covering this, given the programme's extensive coverage of minor Muslim matters. I suspect they might have to cover this, given its gravity.

In the light of Lib Dem Sir Bob Russell's outrageous comments about the Holocaust (see Sue's post below), the issue of anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel by British politicians is one that Sunday ought to be discussing tomorrow. 

This week's recognition/u-turn by the government of Hebrew as an official compulsory language in the national curriculum would be an enlightening subject too.  

Now, my guess is that these subjects won't be covered because they aren't the sort of stories Sunday is given to reporting.

What am I expecting instead? The usual diet of breaking news from the Arab world, Christian-related abuse stories, the abortion debate in Ireland (that's a given, I suspect), something about human rights, the usual airing of Muslim grievances, a call for something or other by a left-wing campaign group, an Anglican row over something, that sort of thing. 

I hope to be proved wrong tomorrow morning. Come on Sunday, pleasantly surprise me!!

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