Dispatches: In God’s Name

Channel 4’s Dispatches programme looked last night at the influence of Christian fundamentalism in Britain in a documentary called ‘In God’s Name.’ ( If you missed it you can watch it online at Channel 4 on demand). It was an attempt by the programme maker to alert Britain to the rising political influence of this movement. It followed a number of key figures in this movement as they campaigned on a number of issues including homosexuality, embryology legislation, blasphemy and Islam. Whilst the programme was sensationalist many who appeared on the programme did themselves no favours. The fact that no-one could explain why they believed the earth was only 4,000 years old was embarrassing. Whilst there was undoubtedly an undercurrent of racism in some of the remarks made about Islam. These remarks are not and cannot be acceptable to Christians.

However the tone of the programme and some of the comments made in the press about it also strike a note of alarm. One of the things that seemed most offensive about this group was what they believed. To believe in a young earth was enough to have these people dubbed sinister. Also rather alarming was the suggestion that for Christians to have access to Parliament and to have a voice in the public square was unacceptable. Of course Christians in this country have a long history of seeking to promote the values of the kingdom of God. This is not some sinister new development as the programme seemed to imply. Were it not for the influence of Christians we might still have a slave trade and be sending small boys up chimneys. It also appeared that to fundamentally disagree with homosexuality, Islam and abortion was unacceptable. If you want to find something sinister here it is- people stoking up the fires of resentment against Christians who do not hold their values. It is alarming that whilst people and their methods may be objectionable that their views are not only held up to ridicule but that secularists wish to silence them completely. Where does this end? The supposed toleration of the makers of this programme is not as tolerant as it thinks it is. It is in fact secular fundamentalism.

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3 Responses to “Dispatches: In God’s Name”

  1. John Says:

    I’m not sure that Christianity can be regarded as being responsible for the abolition of slavery or under-age chimney sweeps. Christianity was popular way before the latter of those examples. Slavery is morally reprehensible to anyone with an ounce of empathy. Religion has nothing to do with it.

    Also, with the young Earth thing, it’s not that she refused to say why she believed the Earth is 4k years old, (we all know why people think that), it was her denial of carbon dating that made me chuckle.

  2. sibbesian Says:

    Hi John, thanks for the comment. I think you will find that it was Christians who led the campaign for the abolition of slavery in Britain, notably William Wilberforce and the Clapham sect. Also it was Lord Shaftesbury the well-known Christian philanthropist who led the fight for the protection of children in industry. Whilst these things are repugnant to us all now there was a time when they were widely accepted in society and it was those who were inspired by Christian commitments who awakened society to these issues.

  3. reluctantfundie Says:

    Thanks for a good objective article. I need to point out a few of John’s comments.

    “I’m not sure that Christianity can be regarded as being responsible for the abolition of slavery or under-age chimney sweeps. Christianity was popular way before the latter of those examples. Slavery is morally reprehensible to anyone with an ounce of empathy. Religion has nothing to do with it.”

    That would probably mean the history books have to be re-written since Wilberforce was the prime player in abolitionism.

    “Also, with the young Earth thing, it’s not that she refused to say why she believed the Earth is 4k years old, (we all know why people think that), it was her denial of carbon dating that made me chuckle.”

    And your belief that carbon dating proves that anything is millions of years old makes me chuckle. Sure, Williams didn’t know her facts but neither did the documentary maker and, evidently, you don’t seem to either.

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