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Bishops warning BBC cuts to religion aid extremism

by Hannah Tooley

They are speaking as the broadcaster prepares to make significant cuts to its religion and ethics budget.

Bishops are concerned this move will turn its back on tackling extremism as well as helping with integration.

The Sunday Telegraph has reported that faith issues are already side-lined at a time of great global conflict.

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The first female bishop in the House of Lords, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, said the decision was probably made: "to reduce the possibility of offending people with too much God stuff over the holiday."

Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich also commented: "Religion has already taken a hit.

"It has already been reduced certainty in terms of its scope as independent part of the BBC, at a time when we already need - as everyone acknowledges - more religious literacy."

His comments came after a BBC spokesperson said that the BBC is looking "at ways we can reduce costs" by more than £550 million.

Rt Revd Graham James continued to say that further cuts could damage attempts to tackle extremism as well as further increase ignorance surrounding religions: "What we need is intelligent religious broadcasting that runs counter to the narrative that religion is always extremist."

Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines from the Sandford St Martin Trust promotes religious broadcasting, and said the state of the world shows us informed religious broadcasting is needed now more than ever: "It would be somewhat irrational to diminish religious and ethical broadcasting."

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