UK Christians upset over media remarks that their biblical creationism beliefs are stupid, extremist
On August 8, 2012 At 1:01 am
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According to the UK's Christian Institute newscast (embedded below), the BBC admitted that Jeremy Paxman offended Christians when "talking about religious hogwash and saying that stupid people believed in a literal understanding of Genesis."
Paxman made the remarks while interviewing evolutionary biologist and professor Richard Dawkins during the BBC's Newsnight program. Dawkins admitted that the biblical creation story was good as far as myths are concerned, but pointed out that in the United States, 40 percent of the people think that the creation story in Genesis is literally true. "They probably think that Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt, for that matter," he added. To this, Paxman asked, "Do you really care that there are a lot of stupid people around?"
While admitting that Paxman's remarks were offensive to some viewers, the BBC Trust rejected the notion that Paxman's remarks broke the rules on impartiality, writing that Mr. Paxman's remarks "were offensive to some of the audience and that there was no clear editorial purpose for their use in this Newsnight item."
The Christian Institute also reports that evangelical Christians are upset that they were categorized as extremist, along with totalitarian Muslims.
Commenting in the UK's Guardian concerning the vetting of applications by religious groups for free schools, Government Education Advisor Alan Judd wrote,
To ban believers from setting up free schools would be to exclude a large number of able, well-meaning and experienced people who can do much to raise levels generally.
The trouble is, as always, when it’s taken to extremes, whether it’s evangelical Christians, totalitarian Muslims or segregationist Jews. Such applications need careful vetting, not because there shouldn’t be far-out religious and ideological beliefs, but because the taxpayer shouldn’t pay to propagate them – and because children should be able to participate in a wider society without having their horizons narrowed by fundamentalism.
That is why Mr Gove is right to insist that creationism – essentially, the assertion that the universe is not evolving but was created much as it is by a single deity and centred on us – must not be taught as part of science. It may be taught in religious education as one doctrine among others, but not as one scientific theory among others, a rival to evolution.
For most of those who failed, the message should be: try again.
Steve Clifford, Executive Director of the Evangelical Alliance said that "It is wrong and worrying that a senior government advisor brands evangelical Christians as extremist. There are approximately two million evangelical Christians in the UK, the fastest growing part of the church worldwide. They take their faith seriously, but that does not make them extremist."