Bishops should face the music over BBC Radio 1

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Ekklesia has responded to the suggestion made today by the Anglican Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Senior Church of England spokesperson on Communications and Bishop John Arnold, Chair of the Strategic Communications Board, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, that religion is being excluded from BBC Radio 1:

Ekklesia co-director Jonathan Bartley said: "The bishops are right to identify that young people have a thirst for spiritual input. But they are wrong in their assumptions about its form."

Ekklesia researcher Jordan Tchilingirian, who is also a club DJ said: "Young people, including many Christians, don't make the same sacred-secular divisions that many bishops do. Young people can find God in a night-club or at a gig as easily as they can in St Paul's Cathedral" he said.

"This is another example of a narrow Christian preoccupation with defending 'God-slots' - as if the Almighty is confined to hymn singing, church buildings and religious texts. Radio 1 is primarily a music station. For those with ears to hear, there is already substantial religious and spiritual content within many of the tracks that are played" said Ekklesia's co-director.

"Last year, the Manchester Passion, produced and broadcast by the BBC (in one of the Bishop's own diocese!), illustrated the spiritual power and religious content in the lyrics of many Manchester bands. Religious and spiritual influences can be found in more contemporary musical genres too. Just because the religious content doesn't conform to the stereotypes of bishops doesn't mean that it isn't there" he said.

Jordan Tchilingirian continued: "Young people are constantly talking about and discussing religious ideas and themes - even though they haven't listened to 'Thought for the Day' or attended a church service. Many of the songs in the playlists on Radio 1 will both reflect these conversations and be a stimulus to them."