Thursday, 14 February 2013

The problem with 'the media's' coverage of religion

For those of us who still believe there are many more important things in our all-too-short lives than politics (ecclesiastical or secular) and its accompanying sloganising and posturing, here is an excellent piece from Dr Tim Stanley at The Telegraph about the media's reporting of religious issues. 
He has it exactly right when he complains about the journalistic propensity to see everything through the prism of politics, although it would be wonderful (if nothing short of miraculous) were, not only journalists, but also some of our more 'liberal' Anglican leaders to take on board what he says in his five point critique of 'media sins.' 
This is his conclusion:
"...Grasping all of this requires putting aside prejudice and trying to understand the mindset of the true believer. Alas, a lot of journalism tends towards aggressive critical analysis rather than empathy (it’s the nature of the beast), which leads to the kind of misunderstandings that have occurred since the Pope’s announcement. Similar mistakes are made in the treatment of Muslims, Jews and Evangelical Christians. It will be interesting to see how the media deals with the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Justin Welby is a theological evangelical operating within the mainstream Anglican tradition with politically liberal instincts. Yet I comfortably predict that all we shall ever know of him is that he doesn’t approve of gay marriage. In the politically framed view of many media commentators, religious faith is defined entirely by what position you take on gay sex. Or during it, if that’s your bag."
And for an egregious example of what Tim Stanley is complaining about, this comes from the pen of, appropriately enough, a presenter of the BBC's Sunday programme. Enough said, perhaps... 

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