BBC Drops B.C. And A.D. In Favor Of “Religiously-Neutral” Terms
The BBC has come under fire for recently dropping the date suffixes B.C. and A.D. in favor of something more politically correct. The term B.C. (Before Christ) has been replaced by B.C.E. – which stands for Before Common Era. The term A.D. (Anno Domini – or Year of The Lord) has been replaced with C.E. – which stands for Common Era.
In an official statement the BBC explained that because it is “committed to impartiality, it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians.” The broadcaster said that B.C.E. and C.E. represented a “religiously neutral alternative to B.C./A.D.”
However, critics worldwide have been critical of the change, with some pointing out that the new terms don’t admonish the religious aspect of the terms anyway.
The Washington Post reported that the move “drew immediate accusations that the network was guilty of political correctness run amok as the BBC’s phone lines were jammed with irate listeners and readers.” Some critics pointed out that the new method still used Christ’s birth as a historical reference point.
One British evangelical leader, retired Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali told the British press that the change “amounts to the dumbing down of the Christian basis of our culture, language, and history. These changes are unnecessary, and they don’t actually achieve what the BBC wants them to achieve. Whether you use Common Era or Anno Domini, the date is still the same and the reference point is still the birth of Jesus Christ.”
Other critics point out that the entire calendar system we use today has it’s founding basis in Christianity.
Ann Widdecombe, a Catholic former British Conservative Party political leader, charged that “what the BBC is doing is offensive to Christians. They are discarding terms that have been around for centuries and are well understood by everyone. What are they going to do next? Get rid of the entire calendar on the basis that it has its roots in Christianity?”
One well-known BBC commentator, John Humphrys, who hosts the Today program on BBC’s Radio 4 network, said that he would disregard the updated terminology. “I will continue to use A.D. and B.C. because I don’t see a problem,” he said. “They are terms which most people use and are clearly understood.”