Religion in Public Life: Levelling the Ground
In this report, sociologist Grace Davie explores the renewed visibility of religion in public life, drawing on her 2016 Edward Cadbury Lectures.
Nick Spencer discusses politicians and religion, the Thought for the Day programme and why religious stories can’t be reserved for the ‘religious slot’, for Total Politics.
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Jesus walks into the Today programme studio. He’s expecting another grilling. John Humphrys is well briefed. He knows his lines. More to the point, he knows the law and he wants to make sure this self–appointed “teacher” does too.
Humphrys soon gets frustrated, however. As often as not, Jesus answers a question with another question. When he doesn’t, he is so abrupt as to be almost rude. And then, when he finally appears to have been backed into a corner, he tells this long rambling story about a man on the way to Jericho being mugged and someone crossing the road to help him – and then has the temerity to ask the interviewer what it means. This is going nowhere. Humphrys wearily thanks his prey and then gratefully – for once – introduces Thought for the Day.
The scene is improbable but not perhaps as improbable as the idea of wheeling Jesus in to do the Thought for the Day slot itself. Whether the slot is in fact as anodyne as the Today presenters claim (or whether it is dull because the BBC is terrified of letting its thinkers say anything edgy), Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan somehow seems better suited to politics than religion.
Read the full article at totalpolitics.com
Nick is Director of Research at Theos. Nick is an acclaimed author of books and reports, most recently The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014).
Posted 2 November 2017
Theos researches and investigates the intersection of religion, politics and society in the contemporary world.