Sunday 20 December 2015

Ed Stourton offends the Twitterati

This morning's Sunday on Radio 4, possibly the most liberal programme on Radio 4, found itself in the eye on a Twitter storm today, being roundly denounced by its fellow religious liberals.

It was all very odd (as most things have been today).

The programme, characteristically, had picked up on a call by a liberal Anglican, the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, for the C of E to apologise for its treatment of homosexuals. Sunday chose to make this a main story.

The Dean, the Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy, duly appeared - as, 'showing BBC impartiality', did Canon Dr Chris Sugden from the traditionalist/orthodox Anglican Mainstream.

The Twitter storm erupted because the socially conservative Dr Sugden described homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice" and went on to say that those African churches who supporting legislation against homosexual behaviour were doing so in the interests of children - i.e. to prevent grooming. 

Many took this (understandably) to have linked homosexuality with paedophilia. 

An onslaught hit Sunday as a result, with Thought for the Day's Vicky Beeching quickly becoming a rallying point for those furious at the BBC. 

Some of them were appalled that Dr Sugden had been invited on in the first place. 

(My favourite example of this kind of criticism is the following gem of inconsistent logic: 


Most, however, were appalled and, frankly, stunned that Edward Stourton failed to challenge Chris Sugden on the 'grooming' point. (I was surprised about that too, though, perhaps, for different reason).

Oddly, Ed had challenged Dr Sugden at that very moment, but on an unrelated point. It wasn't that Ed was being unduly nice to Chris Sudgen. 

But, yes, he hadn't picked up on Dr Sugden's homosexuality/paedophilia linkage and didn't challenge him on that.

Still, it is fascinating that Sunday, of all programmes, can now, at last, also claim to have had claims of bias 'from both sides'.

A mixed blessing for them I suspect here though.

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