Published: 11:00 GMT Daylight Time - Friday 30 September 2011
UK: BBC provides alternatives to “offensive” BC and AD
Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe
The BBC has been accused of “absurd political correctness” after endorsing the use of alternative calendar terms to BC and AD in case these offend non-Christians.
Instead of “Before Christ” and “Anno Domini” (the year of Our Lord), the terms “Before Common Era” and “Common Era” are being used in some programmes.
The religion and ethics section of its website states:
As the BBC is committed to impartiality, it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians. In line with modern practice, BCE/CE (Before Common Era/Common Era) are used as a religiously neutral alternative to BC/AD.
The move has been criticised by Christian leaders as well as representatives of other religious groups.
Rev. Peter Mullen said:
This is absurd political correctness and these terms do not mean anything to anyone. I think it’s an example of the BBC trying to undermine Christianity by pushing an aggressive secularism.
Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester, said:
This amounts to the dumbing down of the Christian basis of our culture, language and history... Whether you use Common Era or Anno Domini, the date is actually still the same and the reference point is still the birth of Christ.
Meanwhile, Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui of the Muslim Institute, said:
I don’t know anyone who has been offended by AD and BC, so why change them?
John Humphrys, who presents BBC Radio 4's Today programme and Mastermind on BBC 2, said: “I will continue to use AD and BC because I don't see a problem.”
A BBC spokesperson has responded to the revelations saying:
The BBC has not issued editorial guidance on the date systems.
Both AD and BC, and CE and BCE are widely accepted date systems and the decision on which term to use lies with individual production and editorial teams.
It is the second time in as many weeks that the BBC has come under criticism for sidelining Christianity. Last week it was reported that Songs of Praise, the BBC’s flagship religious programme, may feature non-Christian faiths for the first time in its 50-year history. The idea was suggested by the executive producer, Tommy Nagra, in an interview to mark the 50th anniversary of the series.
While he acknowledged that Songs of Praise is “a Christian show”, Mr Nagra said, “I think there’s no reason why we couldn’t explore other faiths.”
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Read Daily Mail article BBC turns its back on year of Our Lord
Read The Daily Telegraph article BC or BCE? The BBC's edict on how we date events is AD (absolute drivel)
Read Daily Mail article Our language is being hijacked by the Left to muzzle rational debate