Bishop of Bradford: TV producers treat religion like a “toxic contaminant”

Nick Baines urges broadcasters to stop ignoring religion

Nick Baines, the Bishop of Bradford, has criticised modern TV producers for abandoning religion “as if it were a toxic contaminator of decent culture.”

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Writing in this week’s Radio Times he said that beyond the BBC and “a bit of Channel 4” religion had been eradicated from the airwaves as the result of an “ideological knee-jerk” by TV bosses.

He called this practice into question, pointing out that “more people shape their lives around religious conviction and practice than attend sporting events”, and went on to highlight the disparity in budgets allocated to sport and religion by broadcasters.

“The point is not that religion should be privileged or protected,” he wrote.

“It is not to argue that religious propaganda should find space in the schedules of broadcasters.

“But it is to maintain that we can’t understand people, events and the way the world is if we don’t take religion seriously.”

While the bishop praised the BBC’s Easter programming as “increasingly imaginative” and singled out some examples of exemplary religious programming, like the BBC2 sitcom Rev and Rageh Omaar’s series The Life of Muhammad, he questioned the fact that the BBC does not employ a religion editor.

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Read the full article and vote for your favourite religious TV programme in this week’s Radio Times.