The BBC’s controversial documentary on Judas will not win souls for Christ
By Thomas Pascoe
This year the BBC will celebrate Good Friday by broadcasting a documentary called ”˜In the Footsteps of Judas’. It will be presented by a female Anglican vicar who stars in ”˜Gogglebox’ which is a show based on the questionable but apparently winning premise that it would be immensely entertaining to be able to watch a variety of pub bores as they themselves watch television.
It is worth quoting the Reverend Kate Bottley at some length on what the programme seeks to do. The Telegraph reports her as saying: “I don’t think any of the other disciples were whiter than white ”“ we just probably didn’t hear about it ”“ because they were all human and we are all a bit messed up. Up until that moment of betrayal, Judas seems no better or worse than any of the other disciples. But he has been defined by the worst thing he did. What Judas did is not OK but I think he holds up a very important mirror to our own human condition.
“Jesus forgave people as they were putting the nails in to his hands and there is no reason why he would not have forgiven Judas but he just didn’t hear that.”
There are a number of things which strike me as worrying about this summary. They are worthy of debate because of the deep theological ignorance of modern Britain, the fact that its national broadcaster has chosen to use one of its few headline religious programmes in Holy Week to propagate this message, and because the Anglican communion, which abounds with clerics making statements such as the one above, is still the main conduit in this country through which the layman with no particular religious instruction encounters Christ.