Why the Media need to stop Hounding Dan Walker

I wrote this article yesterday for Premier – see link below – and it has been picked up all over the place.  The hounding of the BBC presenter Dan Walker because he is a bible believing Christian, is a classic example of the kind of intolerance I was speaking about at the Scottish Parliament.  I have been asked to speak on the BBC about this later today…

http://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Why-the-media-need-to-stop-hounding-Christian-TV-presenter-Dan-Walker

Why the media need to stop hounding Christian TV presenter Dan Walker

Christian TV presenter Dan Walker has been criticised in the media this week for believing that God created the world. David Robertson responds

Dan Walker is a well kent face if you are into football and enjoy Football Focus on the BBC. He is about to become a whole lot better known, as he is due to be the new face of BBC Breakfast. Normally this would only merit a couple of paragraphs in parts of the mainstream media, but Dan is different.

Why did the Daily Mail, Times, Independent and Telegraph (amongst others) run lengthy articles about Mr Walker? Is Dan the first Transgender presenter? Is he the secret love child of one of the Royals?

No. It’s worse than that – he’s a Christian!

And not just a Christian, but a Baptist Christian. Even worse than that he actually believes in the fourth commandment and has chosen not to work on Sundays.

It gets worse…Apparently Dan Walker is a creationist! This shocking revelation is enough to have the liberal intelligentsia up in arms and so Mr Walker is being pilloried.

Dumbing down

The most astonishing article was Rupert Myers’ piece in the Telegraph. Myers began by stating ‘The BBC has done nothing to explain how someone who believes that God literally created the Earth in seven days can present the news accurately’.

The fact that this can be written in a serious newspaper indicates how dumbed down and irrational parts of Britain have become. Why would the BBC have anything to explain at all? Presenters are there to present the news. I don’t care two hoots what a presenter’s views are, or their sexuality, or their taste in crisps – as long as it does not affect their job.

‘Ah but’, says the non-discerning bigot, ‘don’t you realise that this will affect his ability to present the news?’

Why? Is he going to be presenting news items on the creation of the world? Will he be asked to comment on that?

This kind of reporting shows British journalism at its very worst. The theological illiteracy in the various reports shines through in a depressing fashion. None of the journalists even bothered to ask what kind of creationist Dan Walker may be. They don’t seem to be aware that every single Christian, Muslim and Jew who actually believes in God is a creationist.

Judgementalism

This may come as a shock to the British journalistic community but those who believe in God tend to believe that he created everything. The question – which apparently they have neither the intelligence or the courtesy to ask – is what kind of creationist is Mr Walker? There are Christians who are theistic evolutionist creationists, old earth creationists and young earth creationists. On the basis of one statement from a spokesperson, many journalists made the assumption that it was the latter that was being spoken of.

And why is this news at all? Who cares? He is a TV presenter! The only people who care are those who want to introduce American style culture wars into the UK, and who view creationism as a bogeyman which enables them to vent their anti-religious prejudice and feel self-righteous while doing so.

Imagine what would happen if we all applied such small minded judgementalism to our viewing? Should we stop watching Tom Cruise films because he is a scientologist? What about news presented by John Humphreys who is an atheist/agnostic? Should I stop watching Graham Norton because he disagrees with my views on sexuality?

Perhaps we need a ministry of information so that members of the media can be properly vetted to ensure that their thoughts, beliefs and words don’t upset Mr Myers and other journalists of a particularly sensitive nature.

No joke

Joking aside, there is a more sinister side to this. The mockery, faux pas outrage and inevitable social media abuse that follows this type of journalism, is no joke. It is the 21st century equivalent of the 19th century street mob. It is designed to intimidate and police the culture, to ensure that only one view on the current cultural shibboleths is ever permitted.

Robert Myers pointed out in his article that ‘The BBC’s mission to inform, educate, and entertain requires it to ensure that it handles news with impartiality, objectivity, and reason.’ Indeed. Perhaps Mr Myers and others who share his media mob mentality should make that their own mission.

There are those journalists who seek to inform, educate and entertain with impartiality, objectivity and reason. And then there are those who think that Dan Walker being a Christian who believes in creation is somehow a significant news item and worthy of their comment.

Let us pray that we would get a more serious, intelligent and balanced news presentation than this kind of prejudiced, trivial and ignorant drivel.

 

 


46 thoughts on “Why the Media need to stop Hounding Dan Walker

  1. I am not sure why you mention the different types of creationists there are, and specifically that the media assume that Dan Walker is a young earth creationist (as if that is a bad thing to assume). Perhaps I am reading more into this than you intended, but it comes across that you imply one of the other options would be preferable. The only ‘type’ of creationist that is consistent with the Bible is a young earth creationist. It’s the other two types that cause the problems. There was no death before sin, and if you try to put evolution and creation together, as theistic creationists do, that is what you imply. This in turn means that death is not the result of sin, and in turn destroys the reason Jesus came, therefore destroying the gospel. Let us be consistent in rejecting the lie that is evolution, and in affirming the complete truth of scripture.

    1. No – you are falling into their trap. The issue is not what kind of creationist he is…the issue is sloppy journalism and atheist intolerance. But please don’t say that those who don’t agree with you about yec are not affirming the complete truth of scripture. The Bible says nothing about the age of the earth..

      1. If the issue is not what kind of creationist he is then why do you bring it up, and why do you imply that the position of young earth creationists is less acceptable? I will state that those who say the earth is not young are not affirming the complete truth of scripture (but of course they may still be Christians… before you ask). The age of the earth can be worked out from the numerous genealogies contained within the Bible. To take any other position is to reject what the Bible says.
        I really appreciate the way in which you have stood up for the gospel in recent times, but if you are a theistic evolutionist, you imply that there was death before sin and that destroys the gospel. Even evolutionists and atheists see how inconsistent it is for those who believe the Bible to not believe in the Biblical account of creation. Read the following quote:
        “Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god. Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus was not the redeemer that died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.” G. Richard Bozarth, “The Meaning of Evolution”, American Atheist, 20 Sept. 1979, p. 30

        As Christians we must stand up for the truth of the Bible. This is not an issue that we can compromise on because the whole message of the gospel is at stake. Atheists get this, but sadly many Christians don’t.

      2. I brought it up to show the theological illiteracy of the journalists. And no – it is not the case that if you don’t take a YEC position you are rejecting what the bible says. The Bible says nothing about the age of the earth – your view is that the earth is young. Thats fine- I don’t condemn you as being unbiblical for holding that view. And yes I agree that Ken Ham and Richard Dawkins have a lot in common!

      3. > “it is not the case that if you don’t take a YEC position you are rejecting what the bible says. The Bible says nothing about the age of the earth – your view is that the earth is young”

        I have explained how the Bible shows that the earth is young, you have simply disagreed with me but offered no argument to backup your statement. The earth was created in 6 actual days, the Bible couldn’t be much clearer on this. It is restated in Exodus 20. Even now 6000 years later we still have a 7 day week.

        Jesus said in Mark 10:6, “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’” This shows that Jesus clearly taught that creation, that the earth, was young when Adam and Eve were created. Adam and Eve existed “from the beginning” not billions of years after earth came into existence (in which case they were created very close to the end of time as we know it).

        Evolution destroys the gospel as I have explained, so the Theistic Evolution position is not one that we can hold. I don’t understand why a Christian would hold to an old earth view if not to allow for evolution.

        I hope people can see the damage that the Theistic Evolution position is doing. The fact that Theistic evolutionists are accepted by the world should be a warning to us. Young earth creationists are the ones that are mocked, but then Noah was mocked too so we’re in good company.

      4. No – you havn;t said anything about how the bible says how old the earth is – other than just making assertions. The genealogies can only show at most how old the human race is – not the earth. Just because you don’t understand how a Christian can hold to an old earth position, does not mean that a Christian cannot. Why should we be limited to what you can understand. But you will forgive me if I withdraw from this – I find the whole argument about evolution to be never ending and largely a waste of time. People like Ken Ham and others have done a great deal of harm in the churches and I find that their disciples are more interested in issues like the age of the earth, than they are in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The kind of comment ‘the fact that theistic evolutionists are accepted by the world should be a warning to us’ is just silly. Try this statement ‘the fact that anti-racists are accepted by the world should be a warning to us’. You should make your decisions based upon what the word of God says – not just as a reaction to what the world says. Anyway as I said there is no point in further discussion….you condemn everyone who does not buy into flood geology and YEC as unfaithful to the Scriptures. I have more than enough to do defending the Scriptures without being attacked by those who are supposed to be on my own side.

      5. Hi David, I have tried to explain my position clearly, I can do no more. You are free to disagree and you are free to believe different. It would be good to hear your position but you do not seem keen to discuss it. Your replies to me have basically been to say you disagree but with no explanation of your reasons.
        You say, “you havn;t said anything about how the bible says how old the earth is”. Yes I did in my previous post. I think it would fairer to say that you don’t accept my reasoning.
        You say, “I find the whole argument about evolution to be never ending and largely a waste of time” – you article was about Dan Walker being criticised for believing in creation, so it seemed relevant to me. One of the reasons Christianity is attacked and mocked is because we reject evolution. We should be prepared to defend what we believe which is what I am trying to do.
        You seem to have an issue with Ken Ham, and state that he has done great harm in the churches, but I do not know what the issue is and you make no mention of it, but it is nothing to do with me. I am a follower of Christ, and appreciate the work of many Christian men – yourself and Ken Ham included.
        I accept that perhaps my comment about the world accepting theistic evolutionists being a warning is maybe only really relevant in a certain context.
        You say, “you condemn everyone who does not buy into flood geology and YEC as unfaithful to the Scriptures. I have more than enough to do defending the Scriptures without being attacked by those who are supposed to be on my own side.” I condemn no man. I am simply trying to defend the Scriptures and I cannot apologise for believing the gospel is undermined by theistic evolution.

      6. “I condemn no-one’ says the man who accuses gospel preachers of undermining the gospel because they don’t accept his view of the age of the earth!

  2. Totally agree with you. A persons beliefs should not impact on an assessment of their suitability to do their job (unless belief is part of their job). Only when (and indeed if as it will probably never happen) there is an obvious, on-air, presenting of personal views in a way that is not warranted, then the BBC should act. After all the BBC sacked a radio presenter for calling a Christian lawyer who was defending anti-homosexual statements a bigot. I would presume there would be a similar result if Dan Walker did the same to a non-believer.

  3. I don’t know why you are devoting so much attention to this story David Robertson.

    Surely, even you can see that it is merely anecdotal.

    Yours – CoS

    (Geoff)

  4. Robbo, you’re completely right. I suppose I have to agree with David that the issue HERE is stupid prejudice rather than the age of the earth – but it’s hardly the case that the Bible has nothing to say on that question.
    “Evolution” is nothing more nor less than the attempt to explain – without God – the existence of Life, the Universe and everything. The only reason it arose (in a modern “scientific” dress, having been well known to the ancients) was that there has to be some such explanation before atheism can get off the ground. It doesn’t even make sense, either metaphysically or scientifically.
    But, OK, the issue HERE is stupid prejudice.

  5. David

    At least Dan is consistent. The same command that obliges him to “do no work” on the Sabbath also reaffirms “in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day”.

    Theistic evolutionists such as Lennox may invoke convoluted explanations why these days represent billions of years but outside of apologist circles, nobody accepts the arguments as other than completely post hoc.

    Your insertion of Adam and Eve into the middle of human evolution is not only completely arbitrary, but also demolishes any argument of original sin and the fall. Was there no death or suffering beforehand?

    The reason that many are critical of airing such views in public is that they are simply anti-intellectual, irrespective of their specific scientific failings. On the same week that the discovery of Gravitational waves from binary black holes 1.5 billion light years away is announced, the irony of expressing the creationist viewpoint on breakfast TV is obvious.

  6. “….Lennox is NOT a theistic evolutionist…”

    How are you understanding that, I wonder?
    He writes like one, as far as I could ever see – I’m pretty sure he believes in a billions-of-years-old universe, unless he’s changed his mind.

      1. Not a theistic evolutionist but an old earth creationist -? The difference seems to be more semantic than anything else.
        Or, if the latter title implies believing that creation was just as related in Genesis, only unimaginably slo-o-o-o-o-wer – then I’d say the coveted gain of being more or less in step with secular Academia is not worth the price paid in logical and scientific coherence :-p

        I’ve just googled “Seven Days…”, and it’s a bit expensive (plus I’ve already read Denis Alexander’s, which covers similar ground) so I compromised by reading the reviews :-).

        It looks as if John Lennox’s most granite-fast, non-negotiable unexamined premiss (yours too?) is that science has proved the universe is billions of years old, and That Can Not Be Questioned.

        To swallow so much uncritically, on the say-so of those we know have often an active interest in establishing atheism, is surely not very wise? There’s a great deal of solid scientific evidence against it, which you shouldn’t discount even if you once had a bad experience with a group of Creationists 🙂 Or at least, before doing so, you should look at a credible website such as Creation Ministries International.

        Even the best-motivated scientists are only human, and they don’t always examine their premisses either.
        But if they START from the premiss that there is no Creator, don’t you see that they’re guaranteed, in fact forced, to come up with an old-universe/evolution hypothesis?

  7. “The earth was created in 6 actual days.”

    You say this as if it was a FACT. You learnt this from a book that was written, translated and sold by humans, who are fallible. You have no idea how the Earth was created and when.

  8. I can’t help noticing a similarity in the attitude of the journalists who can’t bear the idea of a news presenter who does not share their contempt for christian belief and that of certain young earth creationists who can’t bear a wee flea who does not seize every opportunity to endorse their understanding of Genesis 1. I am glad that I have met y.e.cs who have a more tolerant attitude to those who believe in a rather older earth.
    Those who have been praying for the BBC to be less influenced by ungodly pressure groups will see the news of Dan Walker’s appointment as something akin to Elijah’s cloud no bigger than a man’s hand and be encouraged to pray on.

    1. If you were consistent you would see that you and David are the ones attacking me. I am simply defending the truth of the Bible, as David tries to do in his own way (and as far as I know that is why he became known as the wee flea). So why is it ok for David to do that, but when I do that I am intolerant? David is certainly not tolerant (and rightly so) when other people who call themselves Christians promote ideas that go against the Bible. I will defend the Bible when I believe the gospel is undermined. Theistic evolution not only undermines the gospel, it destroys it. Rather than attacking me, or insulting me, or comparing me and others to journalists or atheists, why don’t you actually respond to the points I raise (which neither you nor David has done)? Theistic evolution destroys the gospel because it introduces death before sin therefore rendering the death of Jesus pointless. Surely that is important and worthy of discussion?

      1. Wow….so you are seriously arguing that anyone who does not accept YEC is undermining the Gospel! So Spurgeon, Chalmers, Warfield et all were all undermining the Gospel This is why I don’t bother arguing with the more fanatical YEC’s (and by that I mean those who equate YEC with the Cross!). I have no problem with those who believe that YEC is the best position. I have a real problem with those who equate it with the gospel….

      2. Again you offer no explanation or defence of your position, you ignore the points I raise, and you attack me and my character.

      3. I have no need to offer a defence of my position. I was writing about media bias – not starting yet another eternal thread on the age of the earth. I don’t care. I believe the Bible and the bible says nothing about the age of the earth. And I did not attack your character – (the irony here is that your attack was precisely that – accusing me of undermining the Gospel which I preach!). I really don’t have time for these kind of pointless discussions so if you will forgive me I won’t be engaging any further…

  9. Andrew, it’s not as immaterial an issue as you imply, with your (somewhat uncharitable) hits at yec’s.
    Consider what Paul says:
    sin entered into the world through Adam. Death entered the world as a result of sin.

    Is that true, or is it false?

  10. A man may be a true Christian and yet undermine the gospel in a particular aspect. I’d go so far as to say I feel sure every one of does it at some time or other, in some way or other.
    In the case of Warfield et al, (since that was your challenge 🙂 here’s how. According to the Bible,

    1) Death came into the world as a result of sin.
    2) Jesus died, and rose, as an atoning sacrifice.

    If you teach that 1) is not literally true, you offer an open invitation to consider 2) in the same light.

    Ever since Warfield’s day, the invitation has increasingly, almost universally been taken up.

    1. It all depends on what kind of death? Do you vegetation, animal, human, physical, spiritual? If you mean physical then there is a problem for the 24 hour day people because Adam was told that on the day he ate of it he would die, 24 hours later he was still alive! And for many years afterwards….

  11. The category is immaterial for present purposes. We all know what death means; and that according to Paul, there was none in the world until Adam sinned.

      1. For present purposes, it means “if you do this, death will enter my hitherto perfect, and death-less, creation”.
        The mode/timing of death is an entirely separate question.

      2. But that is avoiding the question of what death actually is. It is also avoiding the question of the simple literal understanding of the day you eat you will die. If day is 24 hours and death is physical death, the fact is that Adam did not physically die within 24 hours of eating. Which brings us back to the matter of interpretation….

      3. If you are not prepared to say what death is, then we are stuck. We always come to this impasse. People accuse others of not taking the bible literally or seriously, and yet when they are asked to explain what the literal meaning is, they back off. An absolutist literal interpretation (that there was no death of any sort before the fall – even grass was eternal, and that a day always means 24 hours, and that death means physical death) – is impossible in biblical terms and makes the bible contradict itself. I don’t belief that the Word of God should be treated in such a manner – and therefore we need to think and interpret Scripture in the light of Scripture. It is perfectly possible to believe in an old earth and the atoning death of Christ for our sins.

      4. I do not know what a world without death would mean for the grass. I do know what it would have meant for those made in God’s own image: in whatever sense you care to take the word “death”, it would not have happened to them. There is no possible other way of understanding Paul in Romans 5.

        Of course it’s possible to believe in an old earth and also in Christ’s atoning death. One sees it all the time 🙂

        The trouble is that an old earth cosmology entails countless ages of death and bloodshed among animals before Adam ever sinned, and so gives Paul the lie.

  12. Dear David,

    I do like your ‘day’ point. I shall remember that.

    And I’ve always wondered what spiders ate if there was no death before the fall? And what happened to the jaws of lions (which can only slice meat) when Eve took the fruit?

  13. Why “only” slice meat? pandas use their big jaws for bamboo; and there are spiders that catch and eat pollen.
    I can’t help noticing a tendency here to swerve off in the hope of absurdities, rather than address Romans 5 :-p

    But thank you David for posting my reply 🙂

  14. I think I have a new found sympathy for Mr Robertson. I have always had sympathy with him but reading this thread after the article he wrote just makes me sad on his behalf. David’s article is an incredibly important calling out of the absence of tolerance relating to Christians and their Biblically held views from modern liberal secular journalists who have a clear agenda to remove any such people from any role in society including now reading the news. Incidentally they appear to have missed the fact that not only does Dan to football focus but he has a very successful news and current affairs radio show on BBC 5live in the afternoon from 2-4pm which might have something to do with him getting this job. The comments made by these journalists must be called out for the intolerant nonsense they represent and I’m delighted we have David to make that stand. Naturally I don’t agree with David on everything, we are in very different denominations after all. But how anyone reads his article at the top and then wastes David’s time discussing creationism is a quite stunning example of missing the wood for trees. By all means have that discussion somewhere, if you must, but this article is about something much more serious and sinister in our current cultural context just now that affects us all wherever we stand on the broad issue of creationism. But rather than attacking David from “inside the camp” why not, either say nothing here about that issue (until he actually writes an article that is in fact about creationism) or instead build a brother up for taking his difficult stand on behalf of the rest of us. And on that note. Thanks David. Great article, please keep on going. God Bless. P.S. Only someone irrationally paranoid about their view of creationism could read David’s article above as somehow a sleight against them.

  15. I can say with my hand on my heart that I’m neither paranoid, nor feeling even slightly slighted 🙂
    How could I not reply, if David continued to??

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