Belfast Telegraph

DUP man hits out at Songs Of Praise over gay wedding

A DUP councillor in Co Armagh has described coverage of a same-sex marriage by the BBC's Songs Of Praise as a
A DUP councillor in Co Armagh has described coverage of a same-sex marriage by the BBC's Songs Of Praise as a "seismic departure" for the programme
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

A DUP councillor in Co Armagh has described coverage of a same-sex marriage by the BBC's Songs Of Praise as a "seismic departure" for the programme.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council representative Gareth Wilson was speaking to the Ulster Gazette after the show featured members of the United Reformed Church in an episode.

In 2015 the Church voted to allow same-sex marriages in its churches. Presenter Rev Kate Bottley met a Christian same-sex couple who were able to marry in church as a result of the change.

Mr Wilson believes that the segment on Songs Of Praise on August 18 was "not representative of Church opinion".

"Songs Of Praise has traditionally been a feature-style programme reflective of Church life in the UK and is wholly reflective of the main Churches that operate within the UK," he said.

"However, to feature a same-sex marriage in one of the very, very few Churches that have moved to offer such services, is a seismic departure for Songs Of Praise and done without due consideration of the views of Churches, and indeed scripture, on this matter.

"The effect of this promotion and lack of an opposing position, served to inaccurately paint a picture of Churches who hold fast to the scriptures as a cornerstone as being in some way uncaring or non-compassionate.

"The longer term impact of that is to then see Churches that reject same-same marriage as being extreme or 'out there' and somehow unwelcoming.

"The BBC have taken a very deliberate promotional approach on this topic. This was very obvious and as the programme failed to reflect the prevailing and biblical Christian view on same-sex marriage, the programme was all the more regrettable.

"Many Christian groups and organisations have expressed their concerns already on this matter and rightly so."

A BBC spokesperson said that Songs Of Praise tells the stories of Christians across all denominations in the UK. "Three years ago the United Reformed Church decided to permit each of its congregations across the country to decide whether to allow same-sex marriages to take place," added the spokesperson.

"In an episode about Faith and Marriage, which aired on August 18, we featured the wedding of James and Ian, who got married in Rutherglen in Glasgow, to find out what it meant to them, as Christians, to be able to take their vows in church."

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