'Evil God' interview shortlisted for religious broadcasting prize

'Evil God' interview shortlisted for religious broadcasting prize March 23, 2016
An RTE television interview in which the actor, writer and TV presenter Stephen Fry, above, last year denounced God as ‘utterly evil, capricious and monstrous’ appears on a list of programmes nominated for an ‘excellence in religious broadcasting’ prize’.
Fry’s The Meaning of Life interview with Gay Byrne was shortlisted for a prize in the ‘Interview of the Year’ section of a scheme run by Sandford St Martin Trust.
According to its website, the trust exists to:

Promote thought-provoking, distinctive programming that deals with religion, ethics and spirituality. Through its annual awards, the Trust promotes excellent broadcasting about all faiths, from major networks, independents and online sources, at local and national level.

Has The Meaning of Life any chance of winning an award? No, because a shorter shortlist of six has been drawn up by The Radio Times, working in conjunction the Sandford St Martin Trust, and The Meaning of Life is missing. Instead readers are offered the chance to vote for programmes such as The Ark and Songs of Praise From the Jungle.
The winners are due to be announced at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace, in London, on 8 June.
In reporting that The Meaning of Life had been shortlisted by the Trust, the Guardian quoted the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds and chair of the Sandford St Martin Trust, above, as saying that the awards were particularly important in the context of BBC Charter renewal and the possible privatisation of Channel 4 and that:

Religion needs to be taken more seriously by the BBC in its future shape and remit.
Religion is a primary motivator of individuals and communities, inspiring and informing their political, economic, ethical and social behaviour.

The BBC’s Lyse Doucet added:

Religion, and belief in general, is one of the most important threads in some of the big issues of our time. People’s faith is, in some places, divisive and destructive but in others it is a source of strength and solidarity. The awards recognise the growing importance of understanding all faiths and people of no faith.

Last December, in a piece entitled “Why is the BBC so uninterested in religion“, Sandford St Martin trustee Torin Douglas lamented the fact that:

The BBC’s religious output on TV has shrunk considerably from a decade ago … BBC TV’s lack of interest in religious broadcasting – even at Christmas – doesn’t surprise me. In our recent submission to the BBC Trust on the review of the BBC Charter, we took the Corporation to task for its failure to take seriously – or even understand – its obligations in this area, at a time when it is widely acknowledged that religious literacy has never been more important.

Douglas concluded:

There is already seems a lack of expertise among some of those who commission TV programmes about religion and ethics at the BBC. In a recent video aimed at programme-makers which claims to explain the BBC’s Religion strategy for BBC One, religion isn’t even mentioned until 25 seconds from the end!
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  • L.Long

    So religious fascists state intelligent content does not count as being good for TV!! Boy am I surprised.

  • David Anderson

    “Religion is a primary motivator of individuals and communities, inspiring and informing their political, economic, ethical and social behaviour.”
    Too true Bains but not in the way that you think.
    Also, fuck the BBC.

  • Laura Roberts

    “People’s faith is, in some places, divisive and destructive but in others it is a source of strength and solidarity.”
    What utterly vapid twaddle! It’s two sides of the same coin: solidarity for the in-group as they separate themselves from the out-group. One could say the same about anything that splits people into in-groups and out-groups: sports teams, movies, politics, families, schools, nations.

  • caskeptic2013

    At least it’s not Germany, where EVERYONE has to pay a tax to support the church, whether you’re a member or not.

  • Peter

    @ caskeptic2013 : it’s incorrect to state that in Germany everyone has to pay Church tax. It is actually optional, though one has to opt out rather than opt in. But if one opts out, the Churches can then decline to celebrate e.g. weddings or funerals. I understand that opting out is on the increase to an extent worrying to the Churches.

  • andym

    The interesting thing to me is how they’ve stopped talking about religion being of interest to the majority. Now it’s the belief itself which warrants special privileges, in this case being forced on an indifferent general population. It’s a tack we’ll see more and more of-that religious belief is so special compared to other ways of viewing the world that it deserves its privileged status.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Peter, I am unsure of the figures but in the last five years the number of opt out has increased dramatically. It interesting that the opt out is purely a reflection on how people view the church and not a way to save a few Euros. The tax is still collected but used for more useful things, not sure of the exact distribution but mainly projects that are of benefit to everyone.

  • Smokey

    I’m surprised that they brown-nose religion to such an extent that they have a hard-on for other religions than their own.
    It used to be all about the Church of England. Now they’re all busy kissing the ass of Islam.

  • andym

    Smokey,I should have said that as well. C OF E,at least, now say “Religion.”, rather than” Our religion,,”A logical move for an organisation in decline. Muslims will reciprocate when it suits them….

  • Steve

    Having been inside the BBC, I can tell you they really do tremble these days at the merest hint of offending a religion.Top Gear didn’t help, but I honestly have heard the phrase “no faith, nothing to offend”when it comes to more seuclar programming.

  • 1859

    I have a fear that as fundamentalist islam begins to strike more and more at the heart of European civilisation, the European drift towards secularism and secular thinking will be halted and people will turn back to their tribal christian roots and start to become more assertive and fanatical. This has clearly started in places like Russia – though not as a reaction to islam – more as a reaction to Stalinist totalitarianism . But in western Europe there is this danger that people, out of shear fear of islam, will return in droves to their precious jesus, and all the secular gains will be reversed or shelved for another 200 years. Fuck what a mess there will be if and when ISIS-style islam stalks the streets of London, Paris, Brussels and Berlin – and no one can really stop them. They just have to lie quiet and wait for their moment to strike. Apologies for being OT.

  • Bob

    If people spoke that way about gays they would be nicked for “homophobia” and yet Fry is commended! This shows how warped is the way many people think.
    I feel so sorry for Fry, he is grievously to be pitied.

  • Brian Jordan

    I don’t think the attempted resurgence of the CofE is due to fear of Islam. It was just about deed in the water when, suddenly, Muslims appeared and were praying all over the place. The CofE woke up and decided that it not only wanted but deserved a piece of the action.
    Unforunately for the CofE, most of the population saw Muslim religiosity as being about 600 years out of date and drifted away rather than cleaving to the church. Which led the CofE to do the only thing left to it: infiltrate and take over our schools to get at our children.

  • andym

    SOT in that it’s about human rights rather than broadcasting, but a good example of how the COE is trying to maintain its privileges by appearing as a representative of religion in general.

  • Jamie Faulkner

    Hullo, I shall begin in defence of the mind. Our Ancestors created words many centuries ago for the present to communicate with. Without God in the vocabulary the Atheist has no argument or ability to contest an opinion. So if you do not believe in God or the other worldly stories about Gods ans Goddesses and myths. Then simply do not mention them. The reason why the BBC have declined in so many years is because we have juvenile delinquents running the show with their mind numbing perception Regardless of what the people say on this Planet God keeps our minds and Hearts alive and free from the deceptions of those that want to change us through their perception and ideology. Psychology was created by the German, the Illuminati was created by the German Vader, The Illuminati created the Atheism. I am ruled by the imagination of what light of life can bring not mans perception of what he precieves as being the Axiom of an untouched reality. For a thousand Years I adhere to the inscriptions and Famiky Motto upon my Ancestors Coat of Arms. Those with the Coat of Arms have protected the Families of this Land for Centuries. We have taught the Armies of the World how to defend life but not create Wars. We have protected the Monarchy, The Churches and the Politicans during the course of our existence. And people playing childish mindgames to delude the mind away from finding their own power spirit. You may think I am a relic of an old world but time is an invention and the world is still the same. Minda move the times but the soul stays the same.

  • 1859

    @ Jamie F: I’m not sure I understand a single fucking word you’ve written, and if I did I don’t think it would interest me in the least.
    @Bob: You smell – go clean your ass-hole properly.

  • barriejohn

    I am ruled by the imagination of what light of life can bring not mans perception of what he precieves as being the Axiom of an untouched reality.
    That’s as far as I got.
    Bob doesn’t dare start fiddling with his arse, as he’s afraid that he might disappear up it!