Telegraph spun by religious thinktank?

By Jonathan Bartley
March 18, 2010

The Daily Telegraph seems to have been spun by the Bible Society's thinktank Theos today, who appear to have rehashed some old survey data as 'new' when is was actually published last month. Alternatively it may just be poor reporting by the Telegraph, but Theos have form on this.

The newspaper reports today in a news item by Matthew Moore: "Nearly a third of people believe that religious freedoms have been restricted in this country over the past decade, a new survey shows".

Actually the Comres survey results were published almost a month ago.

The question put was actually: "Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statement?" (sic) "'Religious freedoms have been restricted in Britain over the past 10 years'"

The survey in fact found that almost double the number (59 per cent) disagreed, rather than agreed with the statement that religious freedoms had been restricted. Amongst Christians the disagreement was even actually slightly higher (60 per cent).

Another interesting finding (and this was actually a very interesting bit of work by Theos) was that almost exactly the same percentage of people who felt their freedoms had been restricted (32 per cent), agreed with the statement: "The law should prevent people from expressing their religious views in the workplace" (31 per cent). Again more Christians (33 per cent) agreed that their faith should be restricted in the workplace. Theos have not highlighted these findings.

But this is not the first time that this survey has been spun.

In the original press release, Theos stated that the survey suggested: "Voters with a religious faith could determine the outcome of the general election". It was a line lapped up by many in the media, including the BBC's Sunday Programme and some religious correspondents on the nationals.

What the survey actually showed was pretty much the opposite - that religious people vote in pretty much the same way as everyone else. We covered it here:

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