Stephen Fry’s controversial comments came in an RTE interview. Photograph: Dave Benett/Getty Images for GRE
Monday 21 March 2016 18.02 GMT
Last modified on Monday 21 March 2016 18.04 GMT
An interview in which Stephen Fry denounced God as “utterly evil, capricious and monstrous” is among the programmes shortlisted for an award to celebrate excellence in religious broadcasting.
Tony Jordan’s The Ark and the BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet’s documentary Children of the Gaza War are also in the running for the 2016 Sandford St Martin awards, the organisers said on Monday.
The Fry interview appeared on Ireland’s RTE television in February 2015. The broadcaster was asked what he would say to God if he met him. He said he would tell the deity: “How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right.“It’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?”
Fry added that he would ask God: “Bone cancer in children? What’s that about?
“Because the God who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, utter maniac. Totally selfish. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him; what kind of God would do that?”A short clip of the interview posted on YouTube has been viewed more than 6m times.
The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds and chair of the Sandford St
Martin Trust, said the awards were particularly important in the
context of BBC Charter renewal and the possible privatisation of Channel
“The world needs to be interpreted, not just reported. And to do this
effectively, the lens of those being reported needs to be looked
through and understood. This means that religion needs to be taken more
seriously by the BBC in its future shape and remit.
“Religion is a primary motivator of individuals and communities,
inspiring and informing their political, economic, ethical and social
behaviour,” he said.
Lyse Doucet said: “Religion, and belief in general, is one of the
most important threads in some of the big issues of our time. People’s
faith is, in some places, divisive and destructive but in others it is a
source of strength and solidarity.
“The awards recognise the growing importance of understanding all faiths and people of no faith.”
The winners are due to be announced at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace, in London, on 8 June