Bishop attacks faith broadcasting
A leading Church of England bishop has launched a scathing attack on broadcasters whom he says suffer from a "ideological knee-jerk" response to religious programming.
The Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford, said that beyond the BBC and the "odd bit of Channel 4", religion had been dropped by broadcasters as if it were a "toxic contaminator of decent culture".
Writing in the Radio Times, the bishop said ITV saw "no need" to consider religion - despite the fact, he said, that more people shape their lives around religious conviction and practice than attend sporting events.
"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."
The bishop praised BBC Easter programming as "increasingly imaginative", singling out The Preston Passion to be broadcast on Good Friday.
He said there were some "shining examples" of good religious broadcasting, including BBC Two's sitcom Rev and the Rageh Omaar series The Life Of Muhammad.
But the bishop, who is known as the "blogging bishop" in the Church of England because of his enthusiastic approach to new media, questioned the absence of a religion editor at the Corporation.