Ian Mayes has a piece in today's Guardian newspaper that was provoked by the following letter from a reader:
"Yet another religious article today. Please could you tell me why there is now so much religion in the Guardian? What prompted this move to go from being a secular paper to the most religious of all the papers?"
Since I began blogging on the topic I've become increasingly aware of the religious profiles of the UK newspapers. So is this a fair criticism? Mayes doesn't think so and neither do I.
In the past the Guardian may have avoided religious topics and it's true that it now has quite a lot of religious coverage. I'd noticed that although I look at all the broadsheet newspapers (often online, sometime the print version), I more often find interesting religion-related articles in the Guardian. However, I'd say that the newspaper certainly has secular leanings. It does publish pro-religious pieces (such as Nicholas Buxton's drivel), but it also publishes pro-secularism pieces such as today's Narnia represents everything that is most hateful about religion by Polly Toynbee.
Mayes notes that the paper has a Quaker/Unitarian history through its founders. A recent survey showed that a healthy 56% of current Guardian staff said they had no religion.
Like the journalists that Mayes polled, I don't think now is the time to be sweeping religious issues under the carpet. I for one would like to see more, rather than less, balanced coverage of religious issues.