Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The IRA finds religion on Channel 4

Before the troubles in the Middle East became the hot topic of the Western Hemisphere, there were the bloody disputes in Northern Ireland. Now I'm not going to try and recap hundreds of years of hostility in a single column, so if you don't know, I'd recommend reading Thomas Hachey's The Irish Experience: A Concise History (FYI: it's not a short read, but it's well balanced and detailed).

In the meantime, for those who are aware of conflict in Northern Ireland, you'll be as surprised as I am to hear that Channel 4 has asked Gerry Adams (the Sinn Fein leader and suspected IRA member) will lead a documentary exploring who the real Jesus is. Why is that interesting? Let's just say there are some who would argue Adams urged more people to violence than to faith.

There are already many people opposed to this idea because of Adam's background and notoriety among both factions, but Channel 4 has an interesting perspective on his inclusion: "This film will offer an insight into how a man so strongly associated first with conflict and then with peace in Northern Ireland, has reconciled his religion with the decisions he has taken in his life."

Adams' documentary is just one episode in a seven part series called The Bible: A History. Including other contributors like Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe and former BBC correspondent Rageh Omaar, Channel 4 hopes using a wide range of voices perspectives will paint an unusual and engaging view of the Bible.

Personally, with the right direction, this could be a fascinating subject and I'm excited to see how it turns out.

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