Select Committee on BBC Charter Review Written Evidence

Memorandum by B Clayton

  1.  Religion is seeping into more areas of broadcasting.   Since the death of Communism people are seeking other hate or love causes—little of it backed by any logical analysis. Religions should be looked at in a historical context. Accounts of how the various myths and religious belief systems developed down the ages—usually they were established by men concerned about their power to dominate society who explained with fairy stories the inexplicable events of the day. To keep the groundlings with their place and fill them with fear of the future and hope of some dreamworld heaven, with an ancient male god being benign. Down the ages male-dominated religious establishments—be they churches, synagogues or mosques etc—have held on to their power and committed some most abysmal acts in the name of their deity: witch burning,, the inquisition, public hangings, the holocaust. Each event based on a ludicrous "eternal truth" which is a dangerous delusion.

  2.  Religious broadcasting should not be left to religious people. There should be atheists, humanists and agnostics working in executive positions, helping to balance the conflict between science and myth. Richard Dawkins has a place in the making of such programmes—though I think the established religions would refuse to work with him.

  3.  We are entering a period when people are talking about bringing back laws against blasphemy, against promulgating religious hatred, etc. We have a play knocked off the stage in Birmingham. Some kinds of Christians were "deeply offended" by Jerry Springer. Bone-brained Bigotry walks abroad. Any religious broadcasting should always remember that the large proportion of British people are agnostics or even atheists who hardly ever go to church. Their views should also be reflected in programmes which explore the growth and decline of belief systems.

  4.  As far I am concerned, Thought for Today is an instant turn-off. Cosy chats ending with a mealy-mouthed religious cliché! They never have anyone who is not a religious practitioner of some kind. Such items have no place in a current affairs news programme.

  5.  am a regular listener to Radio 4's Sunday. Nothing serves to strengthen my life-long atheist convictions than listening to people clinging to their particular brand of "revealed eternal truth" against people who have been conditioned to believe in a totally opposite set of myths.

  Nauseating but stimulating.

  6.  Bring on the rationalist atheists. We need them now more than ever!!

  7.  Religious Schools should be discontinued. Young people should not be indoctrinated with too many myths!

1 September 2005

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