Friday, July 05, 2013

Christians by the beeb

Not having a TV in our home, I don't see much the BBC puts out to the nation's screens (my main media dose comes when I catch a snatch of Radio 4 most days while travelling to work).

But recently, and unusually, I watched a DVD of some old episodes of Spooks, the beeb’s TV drama about MI5.

Who knows if it bears the slightest resemblance to reality? The spies in the series seem to have semi-divine powers of surveillance and observation (mainly via whiz-bang ICT; topical, these days, given Farage, Snowden et al). The spooks in the series pit their wits against traitors, crazies, fanatics and fundies of every stripe. They save great old Great Britain week after week from the forces of terror.

Perhaps it was in the interest of fairness – some sort of PC gesture? – that an episode I watched dealt with a fundamentalist terrorist group not of a dissident-political or Islamic flavour – but Christian. A “Christian”/“evangelical” group decided to systematically attack and terrorize Muslims in the UK.

The portrayal was utterly unconvincing.

I know I’m biased. I’m Christian. Yet in all my years as a Christian – an evangelical one at that – I have never met, or read anything by, or seen or heard any hint of a single one who wants to betray the precepts of their Founder to the extent of bombing their enemies. Even the utterly odious Westboro Baptist Church only threaten hell; they don’t blow people up.

Not your average ChristianBefore you say it, yes, I know: the Crusades. The Inquisition. George Bush. Et cetera. I’m not saying the Christian Church has always eschewed violence in its chequered and compromised history. But what bothered me about the portrayal in Spooks was the assumption, which you find quite often in various media, that evangelical = fundamentalist = loony = dangerous.

Too many leaps. The result was a portrayal of Christianity that my inside knowledge knew that I didn't know. If you know what I mean.

It made me wonder (having no inside knowledge) whether their portrayal of Islamic fundamentalists was equally skewed (any Muslim friends care to comment?)

I despise Christian bigotry and am revolted by the silly sweeping statements that can come from Christians. Those from my own branch of Christianity, the evangelical fraternity, can outrage me most: when those most like me say things to which I want to shout, “Not in my name!” But I do yearn for some real Christians to be on the tele or the radio; Christians I can actually recognise. Humble, hardworking, compassionate, troubled-by-bigotry, trying-to-work-it-out, able-to-laugh-at-themselves, sacrificial, serving – in short, like the many, many I know – Christians.

Prejudice can go in many directions. Let’s oppose it in all its forms.

P.S. You can vote on how Christians are portrayed by the BBC on a poll here.


Tschaka Roussel said...

Follow Mohammed Ansar @MoAnsar, a national Muslim community spokesperson, he's pretty down to earth, and very upset at how Muslims are portrayed in general. (Also loves winding up the EDL.)



What about Dot Cotton of Eastenders she seems pretty normal then there's Emily Bishop in Coronation street and the two lesbian Christians (ITV granted) and the mad Simon who was in Brookside (C4)and not forgetting the best BBC Christian of all the chocolate loving Vicar Of Dibley take your pick. Oh and the Muslim characters The Masoods they were great. :)

Chi said...

This is great!