Memorandum by A Rogers
The first questions to ask are:
Should any mass-broadcasting time be devoted to
If so, for what purpose and with what justification
are such broadcasts made?
The adherent of any religion, unless totally house-bound
or living in an area without the provision of an appropriate place
of worship, may attend his or her place of worship for the purpose
of religious indoctrination or practice. A case might be made
for those two categories of people to be provided with broadcasts
to meet their specific needs. Before these are provided some attempt
should be made to measure or estimate the number of people in
this situation in each religion and the incompatible divisions
of such religions (presumably Catholics would not want to receive
Baptist broadcasts and vice-versa).
My guess, based upon no information at all, is that
the numbers would be very small overall and would necessarily
comprise even smaller numbers in the separate divisions. Some
form of delivery other than mass-broadcasting would therefore
be more appropriate. Radio broadcasting by religious organisations
on their own channels (as an example the Roman Catholic Köln
Cathedral domradio) seems the most appropriate. Technical
help and encouragement might be provided by the BBC, although
this should be at no cost to the general license payer. The religious
body should fully fund and staff such broadcasting from its own
I can see no justification for using broadcast time
on the five terrestrial TV channels and the mass audience radio
channels for "pure" religious broadcasting given that
the audience is multi-cultural and largely non-religious. However,
debate about moral, philosophical and scientific issues which
are in conflict with religion or intellectual debate between theists
and atheists are, in my view, entirely appropriate and in keeping
with the BBC's responsibility to inform, educate and entertain.
I remember with some affection the BBC Brains Trust broadcasts.
If only the BBC would aspire to those standards once again.
The mass broadcasting of religious indoctrination
without intellectual challenge is as unacceptable as political
indoctrination without intellectual challenge, particularly since
senior religious figures frequently attempt to interfere in the
process of law making by democratic government.