Sunday, 16 September 2012

Thought for the Day will not be opened to atheists

"Thought for the Day will not be opened to atheists, says BBC religion chief" — says the Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9530350/Thought-for-the-Day-will-not-be-opened-to-atheists-says-BBC-religion-chief.html

Not a surprise, but some of us will keep plugging away. I object to the implication that theists are the only commentators qualified to think. The BBC should include non-religious viewpoints on Thought for the Day, or else rename it Religious Thought for the Day or something similar — something clearly indicating that these are thoughts from a religious perspective.

I was alerted to this latest non-development — and latest demonstration of BBC obstinacy — by Justin Brierley's post on the Unbelievable? Facebook page, to which I added a comment (whole thread to date follows):


Unbelievable? · 1,641 like this.
Thursday at 23:32 via Twitter ·
The BBC won't be letting atheists on Thought For The Day - but you can still come on my radio show instead http://t.co/7RudXHoA
telegraph.co.uk
The BBC will resist calls to include atheists on Thought for the Day, the corporation’s head of religion has said.
  • 7 people like this.
  • Alan Vaughan Good for them! Those with no religion have no place on a religious programme. If it were a stamp collecting programme I would expect only those who collect stamps to participate. Listeners would have no desire to listen to someone with no interest in stamps. Kudos
  • Justin Schieber We appreciate it Justin.
  • Paul Jenkins “People have complained, as they have the right to, and I have taken a view that at this moment in time as far as I’m concerned we stay as we do.

    “It is a specific slot within the
    Today programme which is a reflection from a religious perspective on stories of importance in the news.”

    Well, the slot *is* called "Religious Thought for the Day", so therefore no-one but the religious is qualified to be on it. If, however, the slot was called merely "Thought for the Day" then one could naturally expect non-religious viewpoints to be given a proportionate hearing.

    Or have I got that wrong?
  • Paul Jenkins Frankly I can't decide whether I'm disgusted or simply resigned.

    (In protest, I'm resolved to look elsewhere for my platitudes.)
  • Andrew McBrearty Booooo! for the BBC... Yay! for Justin. :)
  • Ian-Luke Penwald Where is the share link????
  • Peter Byrom We've been given plenty of rhetoric recently about how atheism is not a religion or even a worldview (e.g. "if atheism is a religion, then off is a TV channel, and abstinence is a sex position" etc) so if this really is an officially religious slot then, frankly, the atheists can't have it both ways.

    However, I must say I'm disappointed that the BBC doesn't have a programme like Justin's! Indeed there's plenty of anti-religion and pro-secularism bias in the BBC already so, again frankly, I hardly think the NSS have much to complain about and it looks much more like they're trying to encroach upon one of the few religious slots left.
  • Fergus Gallagher Atheism is not a religion, but it is a position with respect to religion.
  • Paul Jenkins If TftD is an officially religious slot, that ought to be clear from its name.
  • John Humberstone "We've been given plenty of rhetoric recently about how atheism is not a religion or even a worldview (e.g. "if atheism is a religion, then off is a TV channel, and abstinence is a sex position" etc) so if this really is an officially religious slot then, frankly, the atheists can't have it both ways."

    All that needs to happen is that they stick to the title of the slot - Thought for the Day. Couldn't be simpler really.
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