Canon J John attacks BBC for bias against Christians

Evangelist J John has hit out at the BBC for its coverage of religion.

In a long blog post he accuses the BBC of discriminating against 'mainstream, Bible-based, "traditional" Christianity', saying it is 'either under-reported, misreported or merely selectively covered by the BBC, whether that be on the radio, television or digital media'.

The BBC has been accused of bias against traditional Christians.Alexander Svensson/Flickr

He denies being 'one of those viewers who sits, clipboard in hand, sternly noting offences against the faith', but says there are signs the tide is turning in terms of churchgoing and that 'given that a flood tide is more deadly than an ebbing one, it's no bad time for the BBC to be asked to face issues'.

The evangelist says the 'sceptical liberalism' displayed by the broadcaster was probably inevitable, but argues 'the fact remains that many of us who are Christian leaders find sins of omission and commission at the BBC'

He instances the fact that no mention of limbless evangelist Nick Vujicic's faith is made in a BBC profile, or of Usain Bolt's, accusing it of overlooking a 'fundamental element in their existence'. In historical programmes, he claims – without giving examples – that there is 'all too frequently the airbrushing out of Christianity'.

J John also hits out Radio 4's Thought for the Day, accusing it of featuring 'bland homilies from clerics who believe less than their parishioners' and asking, 'Where are the church leaders, thoughtful and engaging with culture, whose church membership runs into thousands?'

He also criticises what he says is the BBC's policy regarding Islam, saying: 'It's impossible to imagine the BBC producing any sort of programme that examined the origins of Islam or the Quran with anything like the severity with which Christianity or the Bible is treated.' He adds that 'Christians in politics are criticised for merely holding the opinion that gay sexual activity is unacceptable but Muslim politicians are not asked whether they reject the action of stoning such people. Something approaching a level playing field would be desirable.'

On LGBTQ issues, he says there is 'a disproportionate focus on such matters compared to those of faith'.

He calls for an end to 'stereotyping' and for 'an earnestness that would look at the issues of faith with intelligence and insight'.

It comes after the BBC published a review of its religion coverage promising to create a religion editor role and increase its religous programming. Last week the BBC also announced it would boost its Christian coverage to celebrate Easter as the 'most significant and holiest of times' in the Christian calendar.

Christian Today has approached the BBC for comment.