Friday, 20 May 2011


There was yet another radio programme a few mornings ago which, in an piece about National Dying Awareness Week (yes, there is such a thing,) gave the rich and opinionated a chance to air their somewhat predictable views on the subject of the desirability of assisted suicide. One waits in vain for a favourable discussion in this kind of context of the Christian origins of the hospice movement and the advances which have been made in the palliative care of the dying, although the Bishop of Manchester in a broadcast Sunday service a few weeks ago did, rather courageously I thought, try to redress the balance.
Add to this Professor Stephen Hawking's recent widely reported oracular pronouncement on the subject of life after death - "a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." (not exactly his area of expertise one might think) and we have a steady drip of information and comment designed, we might be forgiven for thinking, to undermine even further our society's traditional view of the nature of human life and its sanctity.

Curiously, we live in an age where television and radio confer a "reality" and plausibility to the views of those who appear on them, denied to those who don't.
It is a serious issue for those societies governed as representative democracies (and one which is hardly ever discussed) as to how far the unelected and wildly unrepresentative broadcasting media's uber-liberal and anti-religious stance on virtually everything has contributed, particularly among the young, to the sea change in social values and attitudes we have seen over the last few generations.
It's not, of course, a matter of the dissemination  of outright propaganda but the all-pervasive assumption that these are the only views a decent, compassionate human being could possibly hold, and we see it almost everywhere from news bulletins and analysis to comedy shows and cultural magazine programmes. In fact, it's so much a part of the fabric of our broadcasting it's incredibly easy to forget it's there at all.
By such devious means a civilisation is encouraged to die, assisted by the shallow fashionistas of the mass media.

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