I must apologise to readers for not saying anything about the "Blair talks to God" row that briefly flared over the weekend. Indeed, some people may have been under the impression that this was a story of some significance, given the attention the BBC was paying to it. However, as everyone now knows, what Blair actually said was completely unobjectionable. The fuss was caused not by his words, but by the BBC trying to generate publicity for its own television programme. The Beeb have recently brought Michael Parkinson, the king of chat, over from ITV at vast expense and badly need to justify the cost. Hence, their generation of artificial controversy where none should exist. In the end, we got a load of village atheists making fools of themselves and proving that they never check the evidence before spouting off (if you really care, you can read some comment by them here). I was particularly amused by the National Secular Society representative on BBC News 24.
Last night, we witnessed a bit more media fuelled hysteria on Channel 4 as Rod Liddle, actually quite a fine journalist, went looking for trouble at three schools run by Christian second hand car dealer (a contradiction in terms surely!) Reg Vardy. Despite his efforts, Rod failed to show that the schools were indoctrinating kids. Instead, we found that they taught evolution as they were supposed to be but that some teachers were brave enough to admit they didn't believe in it. I would disagree with these teachers but Liddle (who entertainingly lost his cool during an interview) seemed to imply that being a creationist should disqualify you from teaching. Now that would be bigotry. The show was actually quite a good advertisement for the school, showing neatly dressed kids sitting quietly in lessons getting excellent exam results. The school's tough approach to discipline did mean that some disruptive kids had been excluded. We met a couple and one couldn't help feeling that their exclusion was a further plus point for the school.
Britain is a notoriously irreligous country. But now secularists are beginning to worry that they are not going to have it so easy for much longer. I welcome an increase of religious sensibility and hope that we are seeing some sort of revival in Christianity as well as Islam in the UK. If that is the case, we can expect to see more ranting from the anti-religious. Eventually, though, they might learn that rants alone are not enough to win arguments.
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