Giles Fraser

Giles Fraser turns up the heat under the familiar debates about BBC and religious faith

Giles Fraser turns up the heat under the familiar debates about BBC and religious faith

This weekend's think piece comes to you with an official endorsement from the 105th occupant of the throne of St. Augustine in Canterbury.

That isn't something that happens every day.

This is the latest chapter in the ongoing debates about (a) the role of religious programming at BBC, England's state-backed utility for news and information and, on a deeper level, (b) the attitude that many elite British journalists often show toward religious faith and the lives of ordinary Brits. Sounds kind of familiar, right?

The headline in The Telegraph proclaimed: " 'Excellent comment': Archbishop of Canterbury praises article accusing BBC of sneering attitude to religion." And here is the overture:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested that the BBC is “sneering” at people with faith after leading presenters criticised Thought for the Day.
Justin Welby said a column calling on the BBC to “stop sneering and keep the faith” was “excellent”.
It comes after John Humphrys, the Radio 4 presenter, claimed that the daily slot on the Today programme was “deeply, deeply boring”. He added that, in an increasingly secular society, it was “inappropriate” for the show to broadcast “nearly three minutes of uninterrupted religion”.
The Most Rev Justin Welby responded last night by endorsing the critical newspaper column  on his Twitter account.

In this case, we can point weekend think-piece readers to the actual essay by Father Giles Fraser in The Guardian that is at the heart of this debate, since it isn't hidden behind a paywall somewhere (which happens a lot when you're dealing with British media). The headline: "Here’s my Thought for the Day: stop sneering and keep the faith, BBC."

It's clear that this fight is not about Thought for the Day, which offers short reflections by well-known Brits and/or people who are in the news

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