Monday, August 13, 2012

The BBC and Christianity

Why, wrote Cranmer after Usain Bolt's triumphs at the Olympics, does the BBC ignore Usain Bolt's God?

Usain Bolt - the fastest man on the planet - is a devout believer (of the Protestant Christian kind) in the One True God, says Cranmer. And he makes absolutely no secret at all of the fact: he crosses himself to exalt the Trinity, and mouths a prayer to the heavens before every race. And after each victory, he publicly gives thanks to God, in word and physical supplication. Following yesterday's triumph in the 200m, he said of his Lord and Saviour: "Nothing would have been possible without Him."

Is this not worth just a passing mention by the BBC?

It is strange that they chose to narrate in minute detail every minute of the countdown: as the clock was ticking, they filmed him on CCTV and followed his every move. They described Bolt's events and focused on the man and his achievements like they have no other athlete. We were given insights into his family life, with comments by his brother, parents and coach. The focus on the personal has been intense.

But not one mention of Bolt's faith.

While he was manifestly thanking God on his knees for yesterday's victory, the BBC presenter spun this spontaneous act of worship as Bolt having 'a moment to himself.' This manifestly blurs the significance for the viewer. This is what Bolt tweeted:

I want to thank GOD for everything he as done for me cause without him none of this wouldn't be possible.

But not a mention by the BBC. Instead, they pass it over with embarrassment, pretending it is what it is not. What they refer to as 'a moment to himself' is a glorious outpouring of thanks and praise to God.

The BBC have known for more than four years what Usain Bolt always does, before and after each race, without fail: how he chooses the moment the camera is on him to make the act of humble worship, as a very public witness that it is the Creator who made him fast. They have been briefed to bits by Bolt's PR team and by members of his family: Usain Bolt is a Bible-believing, God-honouring, Jesus-worshipping Christian. But not a whisper from the BBC; not a word of explanation of the real significance of these 'moments to himself.'

It is strange, but not very surprising. Not with the BBC.