Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Christian Bias in the Media

Some Christians occasionally claim they are being persecuted; Andrew Copson of the BHA pointed this out on the BBC this morning when discussing the ECtHR cases:
[Christian lobby groups] have used [these cases] to whip up a narrative, a very false narrative, of Christian persecution in this country...
The media in the UK continues to report issues with a pro-religion, pro-Christian bias. To illustrate, consider the reporting of these cases today. Despite Christians losing three out of four, the BBC headline is BA discriminated against Christian:

It's all about the exception to the rule. This despite the analysis inside of Robert Pigott, their religious affairs correspondent, who correctly identified the real significance of the judgements:

His words:

It's perhaps more significant that Shirley Chaplin's case was dismissed, along with those of Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele. Today's judgement sets the legal seal on years in which traditionalist Christians have tried, and failed, to defend their values against secular ones in British courts.
The message coming from Strasbourg is that although people are entitled to hold religious views, that right is severely limited in the workplace when it comes into conflict with the rights of other people. The judgement also hands considerable discretion to employers to set reasonable policies and then insist that employees follow them whatever their religious beliefs.

And this is not an isolated incident; Christian bias in our media is legion. Here is how this case has been reported across the UK media online:

ITN: Christian wins 'cross' battle
The Guardian: Cross ban 'infringed worker's rights'
The Daily Mail: 'Thank you Jesus'!
The Telegraph: Christians face 'lawful exclusion' from jobs
Interestingly, The Telegraph does highlight the Christian losses, but does not frame this in a context of plurality and tolerance for all, but feeds the Christian persecution complex.

It really is too much for Christians, in a country where the media continue to report religious matters like this, where there is an established church, with unelected representatives in Parliament, whose leaders are given many a soapbox from which to preach, to complain about persecution. They have their religious freedom, but balanced judgements have to be made for the good of all (not just Christians) when competing rights come into conflict with each other. That is all that has happened in the UK courts in these recent matters, as the ECtHR ruling confirms.


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