15 December 2017

Grace and truth – short bits


Christmas has disappeared from a Thomas the Tank Engine DVD and been replaced by “winter holidays”. Christmas trees have also been usurped on ‘Little Engines Big Days Out’ by trees with decorations.

John Midgley, of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, cautioned: “This is another example of the attempt to write Christmas out of something which is so popular with families. Let’s hope the makers of the DVD think hard about this. It’s our experience that people from other religions do not want to eradicate Christmas from holidays or write it out of our everyday language. We feel it is vital not to do this especially when the audience is children”.

Thomas the Tank Engine was created by the Revd Wilbert Awdry who first told the stories to his son Christopher. Hit Entertainment now owns Thomas the Tank Engine. A spokeswoman said: “The DVD is not a seasonal release and thus its content spanned more than just Christmas. When we do have seasonal specific releases, our focus is very much on the particular event being celebrated”.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph Revd Awdry’s daughter said: “It is not what my father wrote … Christmas, signifying the birth of Christ was always very important to him. He would feel very strongly about this politically correct age, and that those who now write his stories should not take Christ out of Christmas. Political correctness against Christian belief offends”.


The BBC’s Songs of Praise may “explore” other faiths in the future, according to a Sikh executive at the Corporation.

Tommy Nagra, an executive producer of Religion and Ethics at the BBC, said: “I think there’s no reason why we couldn’t explore other faiths”, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Nagra acknowledged that Songs of Praise is “a Christian show” and added that items featuring other faiths “would always be done through the Christian prism”. He made the controversial suggestion in an interview to mark Songs of Praise’s 50th anniversary.

Mr Nagra was appointed to his postion at the BBC in 2008. In 2009 Muslim Aaqil Ahmed was appointed as head of religious broadcasting at the Corportation. Mr Ahmed has been criticised for having a pro-Islam bias.


Christian pharmacists who object to selling the morning-after pill are facing pressure from their professional regulator to recommend other outlets to customers.

Many pharmacists – not just Christians – have conscientious objections to the morning-after pill because the drug can abort a conception.

Those with conscience objections say there is little difference between being forced to recommend another outlet and being forced to sell it themselves.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), has issued “non mandatory” guidance on the matter. According to the Daily Telegraph, the guidance tells pharmacists that they are obliged to refer a customer to a specified chemist who is willing to distribute the pills and should also ring ahead to check that the product is in stock.

It also says that conscientious objection on religious grounds must take second place to contractual demands of employers, like the NHS.

Anna Sweeting-Hempsall, a pharmacist in Sunderland said the new guidance, “forces pharmacists to act against their consciences” and would cause legal conflicts between staff and employers.


Parents will gain new powers to protect children from inappropriate images in the media, in plans recently unveiled.

Four of Britain’s biggest internet ser vice providers, BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin Media, have agreed to make new customers choose between a connection with or without access to adult content as part of the set-up process, in a major move to help parents protect children from internet pornography.

The Government has introduced a series of measures in response to recommendations from an independent review ordered by the Prime Minister last year and published in June on the sexualisation of children.

Further measures include a ban on sexually suggestive billboard adverts, and stricter rules concerning billboards within 100 yards of schools, which will be regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Parents will also be able to lodge complaints about unsuitable content for children via a government-backed website, ParentPort, which will cover the entire media industry.

Callum Webster