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Give us a mature depiction of believers, not caricature

You don’t have to be deranged to be a Christian, but it helps, writes Ron Ferguson. That’s the impression you might get from the depiction of religious believers on television. The stereotype is of a starry-eyed, censorious fanatic who looks down from the moral high ground on sinners who are, praise the Lord, headed for eternal damnation.

Dr Ailsa Hollinshead, of Napier University, who is an expert on how religion is portrayed in fictional settings, has highlighted the cliches. She knows what she’s talking about – she studied the portrayal of Christians on TV for her doctorate. Results from focus groups, made up of Christians, Sikhs, Moslems and non-religious people, reported that positive depictions of Christianity in drama are hard to find.

We still have posturing Scottish writers who portray themselves as heroic battlers against the Calvinist establishment – even although Scottish Calvinists are now a protected species. How do these subsidised poseurs get away with this intellectual sloth?

Today, you would get carried off by the thought police if you caricatured blacks, midgets, gays or Afghan asylum-seekers – unless they were Christians. A lesbian Scottish international footballer with a wooden leg would be pilloried only if she were self-confessedly “born-again”.

• Full story at the Aberdeen Press & Journal.

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