My regular perusal of Google News has hit numerous stories of outrage from Christians over a character in the venerable British TV soap show Coronation Street (for eaxmple see BBC News – Corrie comments spark complaints. Now, I’m no soap fan, but I always thought the characters in these things were fictional characters. In this case, I believe the character who has so offended the religious is called Ken Barlow. Barlow, played by William Roache, supposedly delivered lines which intimated he disapproved of Christianity being taught in schools, and in particular he disapproved of creationism:
In the soap, while the Barlow family were preparing to go to church, Ken – played by William Roache – questioned his son Peter on why he was allowing his grandson, Simon, to be “indoctrinated” by the church.
He then went on to criticise Simon’s school for teaching creationism.
After the family returned from church, Ken began to tell his grandson that Jesus rising from the dead “may not necessarily be true” and that scientists think the Big Bang created the universe.
He argued it was important to teach his grandson humanism and give him another viewpoint to balance the teachings from the church.
The character was later seen in the pub saying he believed “children should be told the truth” and that Christianity was comforting because “that’s how they get their hooks into you, when you’re vulnerable”.
Well, nothing unusual there, one might have thought – if that’s the character, those are the lines. But Ofcom and ITV received 23 and 100 complaints about it respectively! Apparently one viewer wrote “To choose this script on the most holy day in the Christian calendar is insulting and greatly offensive.”
It’s a bit disturbing to find out that religious viewers are unable to realise that this is fiction, not fact, and to understand that others, even fictional characters may hold different views.
Update (16/4/09) Hahahahaha! Turns out Stephen Green’s one of the complainants (see New Humanist blog)