A prominent BBC journalist has said the Corporation is failing to communicate the “crucial role Christianity has played” in the formation of British culture.
Radio 4’s Roger Bolton accused the broadcaster of having “a bias against taking religion seriously”.
The comments come after news that the BBC could begin broadcasting Muslim prayers, after it announced plans to increase its multi-faith coverage.
In an article published in this week’s edition of Radio Times, Bolton, who presents Feedback on Radio 4, said he is “worried by the BBC’s whole approach to religion.”
“How can young people and immigrants to this country understand the UK without learning of the crucial role Christianity has played in the formation of its political structures and culture?”
He added: “This is not about promoting faith; it’s about promoting knowledge and understanding — surely a central role of a public service broadcaster? But the BBC is coming up short.”
Commenting on recent claims that the publicly-funded broadcaster’s output is ‘too Christian’, Bolton said people should be more concerned over the BBC’s “bias against taking religion seriously.”
‘Liberal secular elite’
The BBC is coming up short.
This is not the first time the veteran journalist has criticised the Corporation for its failings in religious coverage.
Speaking in 2012, he said: “You do have a whole liberal elite in this country, a liberal secular elite, who dominate television.”
Bolton went on to describe BBC television executives as “secular and sceptical” and said they see religious coverage as “a rather tiresome obligation to be minimised rather than a rich and promising area to explore.”
Earlier this month, The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director for Public Affairs, Simon Calvert, described the suggestion that there is too much Christianity on the BBC as “an absolute joke”.
“Some people within the BBC are honest enough to admit they have a problem, Andrew Marr and others have spoken honestly about the bias against Christianity and the bias in favour of a secularising world-view.”
He added that “the religious traditions of the UK are in the main Christian. The non-Christian faiths comprise seven per cent of the population, whereas 60 per cent of license fee payers self-identify as Christians. Broadly-speaking, this should be represented”.
After this story was published the BBC Press Office contacted The Christian Institute.
Its spokesman said: “We take religion incredibly seriously, that’s why for the first time it will be represented at executive level at the BBC, and why we are asking religious leaders to help us shape and do more across all of our diverse content – including for Christianity.”