Category: TV and Video

Christopher Hitchens and the atheist Nazis myth

With reference to my last post about the Pope and his repetition of the atheism=Nazism lie, here’s Christopher Hitchens. He begins by saying, “Atheism is not a moral or political position of any kind,” which of course it isn’t. Yes, there are some nasty atheists, but Hitler wasn’t one of them. He was just nasty.

Inclusive Remembrance Day event in Norfolk

Norfolk Fire Service’s chief fire officer Nigel Williams has arranged a secular Remembrance Day event this year, to avoid the exclusion of some staff members. This quote amused me:

The Ven Jan McFarlane, from the Diocese of Norwich, said: “We often hear that we’re a ‘secular society’ – but attendance at Remembrance Services today and on Sunday, and the numbers who turn to the church at times of significant national events would suggest otherwise.

Could it be, Ven. McFarlane, that people attend Remembrance services and those held for “significant national events” because there’s no alternative? A significant proportion of those who attend such services aren’t believers but go through the motions because they want to share the commemoration of something important. Give people the choice of an inclusive event, and you may see even more people attending.

A song for atheists

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers sing the first song in the Atheist Hymnal.

Fictional TV character drops Qur’an, Muslims incensed

Muslims deficient in a sense of humour or proportion are upset about a scene from BBC TV’s Eastenders in which a gay Muslim character handles his copy of the Qur’an rather roughly, upset about his love life. He probably didn’t even say “Oops!”, though I wouldn’t know because I never watch it.

Oh please! Taking offence has become a full-time occupation for some people.

RE is “inadequate” in one in five schools

The BBC has reported an Ofsted report on the teaching of RE in secondary schools, which describes it as “inadequate” in one in five secondary schools. They say, “Its study suggested many teachers were unsure of what they were trying to achieve in the subject.”

I’m not surprised. A few years ago, a report was presented to Suffolk’s SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) by a middle school teacher who’d been given a grant from an independent body for a sabbatical to research RE provision in the county. Her report showed that, in many schools, RE was a low priority subject that came bottom of the list for resources and staffing. Teachers who were in charge of RE in their schools struggled to maintain standards because of frequent time-table changes, so that a different group of non-specialist teachers might be delegated to teach the subject in different terms. Consequently, a lot of RE was taught by teachers who knew very little about it.

Are Christians being persecuted? I don’t think so.

Late on Easter Day, BBC One aired a programme that asked, “Are Christians being persecuted?” (you have 6 days left to view it on i-Player). Presenter Nicky Campbell (of the Big Questions, Sunday’s God-slot programme), implied that they are. There was no attempt to present a balanced report. Instead, we got the usual aggrieved BA crucifix wearer and nurse who was sacked for offering to pray for a patient – anecdotal “evidence” of people being mean to Christians. They introduced Polly Toynbee as “President of the National Secular Society”, not the BHA, which was typical of the sloppy approach.

Jonathan Bartley of Ekklesia has blogged a fair assessment of the programme. I’ve complained to the BBC. Maybe you might do the same?