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Media – BBC mocks politician over cross

June 2017

Carol Monaghan, SNP member of parliament for Glasgow North West, was subjected to censure and mockery by the BBC after she was filmed wearing an ashen cross on her head.

Ms Monaghan had come straight from an Ash Wednesday service, where traditionally a small ash cross is marked on the forehead at the start of Lent, to a parliamentary committee.

When a colleague asked what was on her forehead, and told her the debate would be broadcast, she told The Spectator, ‘I think they just thought I didn’t want to be embarrassed, but I was not going to rub it off. Many religions have visible symbols and Christians should not feel any embarrassment in either practising their religion or in the public display of religious symbols’.

However, the BBC made it front-page news on its website and posted the question to its Facebook readers whether it was ‘appropriate’ for Ms Monaghan to go to work with a cross on her forehead.

If the BBC thought it had achieved its goal, however, it was wrong. The vast majority of comments under the story were in support or Ms Monaghan, with even professed agnostics questioning the BBC’s ‘news’ report.