Christian feels put upon, must inform the media

In this case, it’s Jeremy Vine, presenter from BBC Radio 2, complaining in the Times that his religion is being stepped on.

The Radio 2 host said that he feels unable to talk about his faith on his show because he fears how people would react.

He argues that society has become increasingly intolerant of the freedom to express religious views.

“You can’t express views that were common currency 30 or 40 years ago,” he said.

“Arguably, the parameters of what you might call ‘right thinking’ are probably closing.

More likely, people are becoming more tolerant to other views and the right people have to express them. And what do you think he means by “right thinking” here? That Christianity is the only proper option for being the right kind of person who does and says the right kind of thing? It wouldn’t be hard to poke a few holes in that insanity bubble and let a little reality in.

“Sadly, along with that has come the fact that it’s almost socially unacceptable to say you believe in God.”

His comments follow the claim from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, that Britain is an “unfriendly” place for religious people to live.

Mr Vine, 43, is a practising Anglican, but says he would be compromised by being more open about his faith on air.

“Just blurting it out would be destructive,” he said

I don’t care if he’s Anglican. I expect much of Britain probably wouldn’t care. Now everyone who reads this article knows anyway. It’s the fact that Christians (pick your flavour) have traded positions of power and influence for so long that people think it’s the natural way of the world. Now, we’ve got atheists challenging that perspective. They’re getting media attention. They’re getting the word out about their principles and philosophies. They’re saying they’ve got a right to voice their side in the same arenas as the ones Christians have monopolized for centuries. They’re saying there’s another way to live one’s life to full purpose and it’s a way that doesn’t include kneeling in front of an icon infused with superstitions and mythical symbolism.

“Just because something’s true doesn’t mean you can say it. That’s quite an important principle.

“Once I put my cards on the table about my faith in discussions, it becomes problematic.”

In an interview with Reform, a magazine published by the United Reformed Church, Mr Vine says that he is forced to separate his personal beliefs from his role as a presenter.

As well he should. The media is supposed to take the middle ground, not promote a bias for one side or another. I know that’s the idealistic way to look at it, but that’s always been the proper role of the media. Anything else is propaganda.

“One of the things that I think, which may sound bizarre, is that Christ is who he said he was.

“I don’t think I’d put that out on my show; I suppose there’s a bit of a firewall between thinking that and doing the job I do.”

Last year, Mark Thompson, the director-general of the BBC and a practising Roman Catholic, suggested that Islam should be treated more sensitively by the BBC than Christianity.

However, he also said that accusations that the corporation was anti-God were “not just too sweeping; they are not even directionally true”.

I don’t think anyone should kowtow to Islam, either. As a belief system it’s even worse than Christianity. At least people can dive into the Bible and criticize it without threats of getting their heads chopped off. Artists can hang frogs on crucifixes, and give Jesus a penis. I think it’s a good thing that people are willing to challenge the status quo here.

Ed Stourton, one of Mr Vine’s colleagues at the BBC, said that he felt that the biggest problem for people of faith is being sidelined.

“Clearly we live in a secular society and that has increased, but I don’t get a sense of being persecuted,” he said.

“There’s a problem for people who are active in their faith in feeling that the society around them ignores them.”

Maybe because it’s time to ignore it. I think it’s high time for Christians to cease their incessant “Jesus loves me and you’re going to hell” high horse declarations. I think it’s high time faith return to church and home and gets out of the public spaces. It’s high time they admit they can’t convert everyone and never had the right to do so in the first place, no matter how much they’ve believed that was true.

The Today presenter said that he wouldn’t allow his faith to affect his job as he has a duty to reflect the views of his audience.

He added: “I’m perfectly happy to say I’m a Roman Catholic and that doesn’t mean I’m a nutter.”

Tony Blair revealed in 2007 that he had been unable to be open about his faith when Prime Minister for fear that people would label him a “nutter”.

“It’s difficult if you talk about religious faith in our political system,” he said.

“If you are in the American political system or others then you can talk about religious faith and people say ‘Yes, that’s fair enough,’ and it is something they respond to quite naturally.

“You talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you’re a nutter.”

I knew there was another reason I liked Britain. NBC thinks it’s headline news that Barack Obama’s family finally went to church. He hasn’t been in a church since last August, apparently, and people were starting to get worried about his role as America’s Saviour. Whoopty-damn-do.

I’m never going to say people don’t have the freedom to believe in God. Go right ahead and believe that. But don’t get the idea that your belief means I can’t express mine. I’m living in a free society so I’m allowed to say what I think and disagree with what others think. I think that’s a fine system.

edit – 7:58 am
Heather at Why Don’t You Blog offers her take on this story.

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Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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