On Good Friday there appeared on the BBC’s News website an item about celebrating religious festivals during the current lockdown. Sophia Smith-Galer, a cheery young lady, informed viewers that four of the great faiths have events to celebrate around this time. Jews have Passover, Christians Easter, Sikhs Vaisakhi, while towards the end of April Ramadan will begin for Muslims.
Sophia went on to interview representatives of each of these faiths. Exactly how representative of his or her faith each person was, I am unsure; none of them made any mention of the spiritual dimension of their supposed beliefs. The Jew, the Sikh and the Muslim (all young and cheery, like Sophia herself) talked about using internet facilities to link up with family and co-religionists and “share” a celebratory meal with them (okay, Ramadan includes fasting, but only during daylight hours; observant Muslims eat after sunset). The Christian suggested going out for a walk – provided we can do so within lockdown regulations – and looking for signs of spring and new growth; also singing; - he added “My husband said he’d never realised I sang so badly!” Husband? - oops – I took another look – yes, the speaker was definitely a man. A man married to another man is supposed to be representative of Christians worldwide? I think the majority of Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Christians would not accept this.
Once again the BBC attempts to “draw the teeth” of the great faiths by downplaying their demands to vanishing point, and presenting only the jolly, communal aspect of religious celebration.
Sophia Smith-Galer is described as a BBC World Service Faith and Ethics journalist.
By Prayer Crusader St Teresa of Avila