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The Politics of Broadcast Religion

to , (ended)
Lewisham Unitarian Meeting House, 41 Bromley Road, Catford
South East London Humanist Group in South East London Humanist Group
A talk by Dr Kenneth Wolfe, author of the much quoted history, “The Churches and the BBC 1922-1956”, on religion and public broadcasting in the UK.

Dr Wolfe’s research into relations between the churches and broadcasters, from the founding of the BBC onwards, led to the publication of this first volume in 1984. He says: “By then it was clear that government policy on religion, both in broadcasting and schooling, needed to be examined. My moment of glory was an invitation onto Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman to clarify for the evening audience!”

He began work on Volume 2 but came up against closed papers, so in the meantime he took up a post at the independent girls’ school, Godolphin and Latymer, where he could work outside of the government curriculum. “I changed religious studies to philosophy and religion. This would help these bright young people to see the danger of having religionists calling the curriculum tunes – as they had been doing since the 1944 Education Act.

“Some hoped curriculum responsibility would change back to the teachers once the war ended; the religionists however, were well-established and continued to adapt their influence to our changing culture – as outsiders in our educational management.

“I have nothing against Christian believers or churches but their influence in the RS curriculum is to be regretted; it has created and continues to create huge confusions among the young.”

Dr Wolfe has now retired from Godolphin and Latymer and is researching the second volume of his history of religion and public broadcasting.
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