PC or BC? Political correctness strikes again

PC or BC? Political correctness strikes again
Jonathan Skinner Jonathan is a British author, journalist, and Baptist minister. He is also a minister at Widcombe Baptist Church in Bath, England. He has worked for the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship.
01 January, 2006 4 min read

PC has been trying to stamp out BC. The infamously subversive ‘Political Correctness’ squad recently struck again. This time they were trying to confuse school children and undermine the foundations of our history.

Like the Communists under Stalin, they were trying to rewrite history. With a pseudo-academic airbrush they were removing Christ from his generally accepted place in the record of the world. Indeed, according to them, we apparently no longer live in the year 2005.

Cheddar cheese?

In a crass attempt to please everyone Bob Smart, the curator at Cheddar Caves museum, has banned the use of BC (Before Christ) in any dating in his museum. Even though accepted internationally, the system that dates events backwards (BC) or forwards (AD) from the birth of Christ is not Politically Correct – according to officials of the Cheddar Caves museum in Somerset.

They have therefore replaced BC by the confusing ‘Before Present’ – which gives the age of an object or event as a number of years before ‘now’. Since the BP date will change every year they could waste a lot of time and money rewriting labels!

This bizarre move is at odds with the respectable academic institutions of our country. A spokesman for the British Museum in London said it only ever used BC and was unaware of any other museums using the term BP.

Even the historian Dr David Starkey, who is generally anti-Christian in his views, is a firm supporter of BC. He said that the internationally accepted alternative was not BP but Common Era, or CE.

He said, ‘Not only is this silly but they can’t even get it right’. Dr Starkey felt the move was ‘frivolous’, ‘foolish’ and ‘infantile’, saying that ‘BC is an essential feature of our history.’

Getting really annoyed

One of the reasons given for this move is that using the accepted ‘Before Christ’ dating method might offend people of non-Christian faiths. However, Massoud Shadjareh, Chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said people of all faiths were ‘getting really annoyed’ with the Political Correctness sweeping the country.

He went on to say, ‘Muslims and other faiths have no problem in celebrating Christmas or using the term BC, especially when there are more major concerns that society is not addressing such as Islamophobia’.

The point is that Political Correctness has got totally out of hand. Behind the mask of smoothing supposed sensitivities, there hides are far more sinister agenda – to drive from the public domain the free expression of religious affiliations, of whatever kind.

In the name of Political Correctness, attempts are being made to ban Muslim women from wearing their traditional clothes, Sikhs from wearing their turbans and Christians from displaying crosses.

Bland conformity

Last November Lambeth Council had to do a U-turn after being roundly condemned for renaming its festive decorations ‘winter lights’ (they restored the word ‘Christmas’). Most Advent calendars these days are devoid of any classic Nativity scene. They run the annual countdown to 25 December with little windows depicting Thomas the Tank Engine, The Tweenies and so on.

Many companies producing Christmas cards now deliberately avoid any mention of Christmas and shun images of wise men, cribs and shepherds on a hillside. Even main retailers and organisations like the British Red Cross do not allow nativity scenes in their shops.

What is behind all this nonsense? It is the often well-meaning but patronising belief that in a multicultural, multi-religious society no one must express a view that might upset someone else. We are all being moulded into bland conformity.

Patronising policy

The truth is, of course, that people are much more grown up than that. If a Muslim says that Jesus is merely a prophet and not the Son of God, I will disagree with him and seek to persuade him otherwise. But if I want freedom to proclaim Christ as the incarnate God, I must defend a Muslim’s right to express his views also.

So, if the current international dating system is based on the birth of Jesus, I don’t see how that ‘insults’ members of other faiths, particularly in Britain which has a substantially Christian heritage.

If I stumbled into a museum in Iran and found an Islamic dating system used for certain artefacts, I would not feel insulted – nor if I found an ancient Chinese system in China. It just seems rather absurd that a little museum in rural Somerset should decide to throw our Christian tradition to the wind to avoid insulting people ‘out there’ who generally don’t feel the slightest bit insulted anyway.

The people ‘out there’ are far more mature and sensible than the museum at Cheddar Caves gives them credit for. Indeed, if I were them, I would feel that this patronising policy verges on insult.


We are seeing here a subtle example of the perspective that is driving the Religious Hatred laws through Parliament. In essence, although we are told we can believe what we want, we are being increasingly prevented from expressing our beliefs in public – either by word or symbol.

We are heading for a kind of censorship of any public display of religious profession or belief. The only ‘right’ view is that every view is right – which means, of course, that none is right. No one is allowed to say anything against anyone else in case they are upset. We are constrained to tiptoe on hypothetical eggshells.

This is the nanny state gone barmy – the brave new regime of ‘totalitolerance’ and ‘pluralistic fundamentalism’. Political Correctness it may be, but freedom it is not!

Jonathan is a British author, journalist, and Baptist minister. He is also a minister at Widcombe Baptist Church in Bath, England. He has worked for the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship.
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