THE Austrialian government and the BBC have been identified as “enemies of Christianity” following their decisions to replace the terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) with “politically correct” BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era).
The Australian move, according to this report, relates to changes to the national curriculum, and was described by Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of Sydney, as:
An intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history.
And Christopher Pyne, education spokesman in the opposition Liberal National Party grizzled:
Kowtowing to political correctness by the embarrassing removal of AD and BC in our national curriculum is of a piece with the fundamental flaw of trying to deny who we are as a people. Australia is what it is today because of the foundations of our nation in the Judeo-Christian heritage that we inherited from Western civilisation.
The Rev Fred Nile, the foolish fundie who became an MP in the New South Wales parliament, described the changes as the “final insult” to Australian Christians. Either the man’s words were badly reported, or he has a special talent for screwing up English:
The direction of the national curriculum is towards almost a Christian cleansing to remove from our history any references to the role Christianity had in the formation of Australia.
But the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority said the new terms were the increasingly common standard for representing dates.
While BC and AD are designations used to number years in the Christian era, the terms BCE and CE are widely applied as their secular counterparts.
The report says that a similar change was made to the British curriculum nine years ago, provoking claims by Christians that the authorities were “imposing political correctness in schools to ensure children are cut off from the past”.
Meanwhile, The Wail on Sunday, commenting on the BBC’s adoption of CE and BCE, asked:
BBC 3’s AD BC is available to download at the link provided at the end of this report
How long will it be before the figures of Jesus and of Moses, which now adorn the Law Courts in London to remind us of the origin of our civilisation, are removed because they are deemed ‘offensive’ …
The Wail reports here that the BBC’s Religious and Ethics department 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.
Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, reacted angrily:
I think this amounts to the dumbing down of the Christian basis of our culture, language and history. These changes are unnecessary and they don’t achieve what the BBC wants them to achieve. 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.
And former Tory Minister, the ghastly Catholic Ann Widdecombe, spluttered:
I think what the BBC is doing is offensive to Christians. They are discarding terms that have been around for centuries and are well understood by everyone. What are they going to do next? Get rid of the entire calendar on the basis that it has its roots in Christianity?
But Rabbi Jonathan Romain, from Maidenhead Synagogue, said he could see the logic behind the change.
‘In the year of Our Lord’ is a religious view that is not shared by many across the world, or even the UK. The change to BCE and CE is simply more inclusive.
The BBC said last night:
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.
Trivia fact: In 2004 – as part of its Christmas programming, the BBC screened a mock rock opera “with a comic twist” called AD BC. It is described as:
An all-singing, all-dancing, star-spangled musical leap around the biblical story of the Nativity, set in 1972 – and has continued to attract a growing number of avid cult comedy fans every since.
Hat tip: Pete H and BarrieJohn