Sunday 21 August 2016

Anti-Christian bias at the BBC?

There's been criticism of the BBC from Christian groups in recent days over what these groups see as the BBC's determination to sideline the Christian faith of Olympic athletes like Usain Bolt. 

The Jamaican is a devout Catholic and always gives praise to God both before and after his races. The complainants say that his faith never gets a mention in BBC interviews and articles.

Plus, they cite things like this: When Usain Bolt fell on his knees to thank God after he had won the 200m in Rio, the BBC presenter talked about it being "a moment to himself"....
....when it was clearly the opposite. It was an act of public worship which would have been condemned as crass and distasteful if it had been an ordinary mortal. But because it is a hero then it has to be explained away as something else.
This morning's Sunday on Radio 4 took on board this criticism of the BBC and went on to discuss faith and sport, including some discussion of Usain Bolt's Christian faith. 

This discussion, however, was prefaced by a clip from a 2012 BBC interview where another famous athlete's faith was discussed. That athlete was Mo Farah and the faith being discussed was Islam. 

If Sunday meant that as Exhibit A for the Defence against the charges of anti-Christian bias from certain Christian groups their case may have misfired somewhat at that point!


These latest complaints are nothing new though. Archbishop Cramner was making the same case against the BBC in 2012

His counter-example (an online BBC article which made a lot of the athlete's Muslim faith), unsurprisingly, also involved Mo Farah. 


Mo, of course, has just taken us to 27 golds in Rio. I suppose we all ought to stop what we're doing for a minute and do the Mobot instead. I'd join you but I'm drinking a cup of coffee at the moment and wouldn't want to spill it.


  1. It's a fair criticism, for sure. I wouldn't say the BBC needs to make a big deal out of Bolt's (or anyone else's) Christian faith, but to mischaracterize his moment of prayer is plain bias. There will always be a contrast between the BBC's treatment of Mohammedan British athletes and the rest (remember when it was practically considered treason and inhuman not to declare Farah as your favorite athlete?) because of the political climate, (and from a news-y perspective Christianity is commonplace, less noteworthy) but that does not excuse mistreatment of Christian faith.

    On top of that, consider the difference in attitude towards white people expressing faith versus their treatment of the religiosity of those of African descent.

  2. The BBC anti-Christian bias is never more apparent than in the case of Good Morning Sunday, a BBC Sunday morning Radio 2 'show' sometimes under the stewardship of Clare Balding - that is when she hasn't more important BBC, Channel 4 or BT Sport 'work' such as sporting coverage, sports discussion programmes or other duties on behalf of the BBC.

    Since she took over the position, the whole tone of GMS, as it is snappily named, has spiralled downwards so far as serious or credible religious programming is concerned. Listeners are prompted to send in responses to subjects such as 'where do you feel most at peace', or' who is a good carer or neighbour'.

    On Easter Sunday 2016 (of all days in the Christian calendar) Balding said that she thought we were all being too harsh on Judas (Iscariot) and we should include all twelve Disciples on this years's Symnel Cake, not just the traditional eleven. At the time, in response to a complaint about this, the BBC took no responsibility whatsoever, saying that Balding was simply making a light-hearted suggestion. Imagine if she had made this type of light-hearted remark about the central tenets of any other faith on the day of their most important celebration.

    1. Mark Thompson admitted they did this a long time ago, and it will not change unless there is a major purge of personnel at the BBC.

  3. There is no anti-religion, just a recognition that being religious does not give you special privilege and their is no right for a public service to promote fabricated doctrine over real events.


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