British media react to Christianophobia debate

December 5, 2007

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Westminster Abbey, 19 Nov. 2007What a difference a day makes. A post here yesterday noted that British media had all but ignored today’s debate about Christianophobia in parliament and asked whether that term was an appropriate one to use. Well, today several newspapers have taken up the issue, with different angles.

Andrew Brown in the Guardian says “Civilisation is safe” and sees influences from across the Atlantic for the debate: “The American nationalist right – and now an obscure Tory MP – would have us believe that Christian traditions are under threat. I don’t think so.” He also says that a BBC story about the debate was the second most emailed story on the BBC’s website. His post sparked a long list of comments.

A question on the Daily Telegraph site “How should we tackle ‘Christianophobia’ ?” also sparked a lively discussion. The Daily Express ran the blaring headline: “SOON ALL BRITAIN’S CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS MAY BE KILLED OFF.” The Daily Mail spoke of “rising Christianophobia and busybodies who downgrade Christian traditions.”

The British Humanist Association asked how one could speak of Christianophobia when “a third of state funded schools are ‘faith’ schools, the vast majority of which are Anglican; we still have an established Church with 26 Church of England Bishops sitting as of right in the House of Lords;” and religious groups have privileged access to government funds.

None of them asked whether the term “Christianophobia” was an appropriate term…

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