Ignorance Is Not Bliss

In a recent speech Michael Nazir-Ali, one-time bishop of Rochester, whilst complimenting David Cameron on his speech in which Cameron showed how the political development of the nation is inextricably bound up with Christian ideas, remarked on the difficulties confronting any effort to remake British society:

“One issue is religious literacy in the Civil Service, Parliament and local authorities. What Mr Cameron said about Christian ideas being embedded in our constitutional arrangements is no longer understood in the corridors of power. A disconnected view of history and the fog of multiculturalism have all but erased such memory from official consciousness.”

This came home yesterday as I listened to the Today programme on the likely results in the Iowa caucuses attempting to choose the Republican candidate for the forthcoming US election. In the opinion of the BBC the candidates were hoping “to prevent Obama winning re-election. Instantly the Republican candidates were cast as being only negative, with no more purpose than preventing the continuing incumbency of the media favourite.

Even more interesting was Mark Mardell’s report from Iowa in which he described Rick Santorum as an “evangelical Christian.” Rick Santorum is of course a devout Roman Catholic.

Rick Santorum - Still A Roman Catholic

This could be seen in two ways. It could, like the previous example, be in line with the cultural bias of the BBC and be an attempt to label Santorum with a denigrating label. In the BBC mindset evangelicals are really foaming at the mouth fundamentalists who wish to stone homosexuals and force everyone else to wear chastity belts. If they are Americans they also speak in tongues, marry their sisters and handle snakes. Scary or what?

Mark Mardell, is a leading political journalist and North American editor with BBC News. His assignment is to head the coverage of the year long elections in the USA where religious stance and  affiliation is very important, and yet he was completely unable to tell the difference between a Roman Catholic and an evangelical. This is more frightening than progressive bigotry, it is simple ignorance.

Mark Mardell - Still Ignorant

This attitude is not confined to the UK. Bill Keller is Executive Editor of the New York Times, America’s paper of record. Yet back in the autumn this commentator who has risen to the top of the journalistic tree could write, “Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are all affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity, which has raised concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction.”

Whilst many may have their differences with Roman Catholicism it is doubtful that even their most virulent opponent would describe them as a “fervid subset of evangelical Christianity.” Note also the suggestion that because someone is supposedly an evangelical they are unable to tell the difference between fact and fiction.

I would disagree with the bishop inasmuch as we are facing something more than historical forgetfulness or the leavening effect of multicultural relativism. Christianity is not being forgotten by the cultural opinion formers amongst our progressive elites. To be forgotten you have first to be acknowledged; as far as progressives are concerned the subtleties of Christianity need not be understood nor its achievements acknowledged because to do so might be to give them credence in the minds of the hoi poloi.

For progressives Christianity is not to be forgotten, it is to be attacked.


4 thoughts on “Ignorance Is Not Bliss

  1. Assuming your information is correct then it up to us all to bombard the BBC with complaints. Listening to their reports there is not a hint of this man’s Church of Rome connection and one would get the distinct impression they want us to think he is an ‘evangelical’.

  2. Ignorance and hostility go hand in hand here. Why bother to understand the subtleties of something which you are sure is nonsense? Churches also have a responsibility. Here in the ‘Church of Rome’ we’ve had a problem with inadequate catechesis leading to lack of confidence and competence in articulating publicly a Christian position. My experience of Protestant churches suggests similar problems. If your Christianity is fluffy enough, there just aren’t any subtleties to ignore.

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