Monday, 26 September 2011

Let the BBC put their own house in order!

The hot topic of the weekend was the rumoured decision of the BBC to do away with the designation 'BC' and 'AD' in order not to offend members of others faiths and none.

Let me be the first to say this does not go far enough! As anyone who has recently visited the entrance hall to the old Broadcasting House will know, the Latin inscription facing them near the lifts reads,
DEO OMNIPOTENTI TEMPLUM HOC ARTIUM ET MUSARUM ANNO DOMINI MCMXXXI RECTORE JOHANNI REITH PRIMI DEDICANT GUBERNATORES PRECANTES UT MESSEM BONAM BONA PROFERAT SEMENTIS UT IMMUNDA OMNIA ET INIMICA PACI EXPELLANTUR UT QUAECUNQUE PULCHRA SUNT ET SINCERA QUACUNQUE BONAE FAMAE AD HAEC AVREM INCLINANS POPULUS VIRTUTIS ET SAPIENTIAE SEMITAM INSISTAT. 
For those who might need a translation, the English version would be:
This Temple of the Arts and Muses is dedicated to ALMIGHTY GOD by the first Governors of Broadcasting in THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1931, Sir John Reith being Director- General. It is their prayer that good seed sown may bring forth a good harvest, that all things hostile to peace or purity may be banished from this house, and that the people, inclining their ear to whatsoever things are beautiful and honest and of good report, may tread the path of wisdom and uprightness.
Almighty Tosh more like! And far too much Bible - made worse by the fact that there is a statue in the same entrance-hall titled 'The Sower' which seems to be a distinct allusion to a biblical parable about the word of 'God'.

As anyone who has followed developments at the BBC in the past fifty years will know, it is not the job of this public corporation to guard the supposed morals of the nation, least of all those based on an outdated, minority religious perspective.

There is, as their own Bible says, a time to build up and a time to tear down. And the year 1 BBC is surely the time to begin the latter.


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14 comments:

  1. The proposed new 'National Curriculum' for Australian Schools also does away with BC/AD and replaces them with BCE and CE. My question is why 2011 CE would actually be counted as 2011? From what point in time are they counting? Would it be anything to do with the birth of Christ?

    John Tongue,
    Ulverstone, Tasmania

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  2. Worse, a friend of mine has just started training as a pastoral worker and starting her OT module was given a chronology using BCE and CE.

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  3. Actually I should temper that previous comment - it may well have simply been a useful diagram that was easy to hand for the lecturer rather than an deliberate ideological choice.

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  4. I wonder, incidentally, if anyone pushing for this is aware that it is just as culturally imperialistic - (a) because it replaces an existing cultural convention and (b) because other cultures use different counting methods.

    Go to this site and you will see that it is 2011 CE and 1432 AH http://www.islamicfinder.org/Hcal/index.php.

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  5. You really shouldn't have drawn attention to this inscription. The BBC will probably have it removed. As for CE (Christian Era) I have known C of E publications using it.

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  6. "A.D." is far too much Latin to expect children to learn these days.

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  7. @David Thornton, Actually CE is meant to stand for "Common Era", but it still begs the question of from what 'event' we date the Common Era??

    John Tongue,
    Ulverstone, Tas.

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  8. Chelmsford Diocese uses this convention. I was quite shocked to come across it in the handouts for the Christian Studies Course, and wondered just who had sanctioned this idiotic idea.

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  9. Richard, my gob is smacked. I suspect that our new bishop would have something positive to say on that, and I may get the chance to ask him this afternoon.

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  10. Anonymous - I know CE stands for Common Era, but why shouldn't we tell those who use it that really it means Christian Era?

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  11. Why not simply say today is the 27th day of the Ninth month of the Fifty-ninth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II?

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  12. This story has been shown to be nothing but right-wing media scare mongering. I think it is time to think carefully about these ‘moral panics’ that alas so many Christians get sucked into. It is sad that all too easily Christians and their leaders get whipped up into a frenzy of indignation and an almost all consuming desire to demonstrate victimisation and specialness.

    There is nothing in the Bible that suggests Christians have a right to special treatment; nor does history demonstrate that when Christian’s have social and political power that they use it wisely or that this result in more wholesome societies (look at present day USA!). At present the vogue seems to be to want privilege. I am reminded of Jesus words:

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices— mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law— justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former.

    You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” Matt 23: 23 &24

    The very fact so many Christian blogging and column inches have been given over to a story with little foundation suggests we are losing sight of what is really important and in short just becoming rather adept at moaning...

    http://www.fivechinesecrackers.com/2011/10/tabloid-bullshit-of-month-award.html

    Ken Simpson
    Manchester

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  13. Ken,
    I'm struggling hard to find the relevance of Matthew 23:23-4 to the BBC's desire to strike out 2000 years of Christian history as if it had never happened. if you're going to quote scripture, at least make it relevant. Perhaps you would also like to elaborate on your sideswipe in brackets at the entire US nation.

    As far as victim politics is concerned, every other minority in society has used it, usually with great benefit to themselves, but when Christians use the same tactics, somehow it's all different. Alas, these tactics have been forced on us by a society that believes in free speech, just as long as you say the right thing.
    By the same token, Pastor Nadarkhani should be executed, should he?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/29/iran-live-free-die-editorial

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  14. Diarmaid McCulloch uses CE in his history of the Reformation.

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