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← BBC rejects call for non-religious speakers on Thought for the Day

BBC rejects call for non-religious speakers on Thought for the Day - Comments

Max of Earlobes's Avatar Comment 1 by Max of Earlobes

Don't we already hear enough of religious people telling us what they think?

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 18:31:00 UTC | #414145

Mitch Kahle's Avatar Comment 2 by Mitch Kahle

More accommodationalist poppycock!

The Satanists or Scientologists (both legally recognized faiths) should demand equal time under the "requirements of due impartiality".

We used to call this tactic the "principle of adverse inclusion" and it worked every time!

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 18:32:00 UTC | #414146

Pete.K's Avatar Comment 3 by Pete.K

Since when was thinking synonymous with religion?

Anyway, hasn't Ariane Sherine spoken on 'Thought for the Day'?

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 18:34:00 UTC | #414148

zengardener's Avatar Comment 4 by zengardener

Comment#432527 marked as excellent.

So, when will BBC air the "Atheist, thought for the day"?

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 18:40:00 UTC | #414153

GalacticAtom's Avatar Comment 5 by GalacticAtom

The Church of England spokesman said

"Thought for the Day is highly valued by people of all faiths and none as a distinctive slot that, if diluted, would have become nothing more than just another comment slot."

Diluted??? How does adding contributions from evidence-based rationalist thinkers dilute the slot? It seems to me that it would add some more substance to the occasion.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 18:48:00 UTC | #414157

sharpcj's Avatar Comment 6 by sharpcj

No doubt this is the result of lobbying, in the same way the BBC submits to Israeli lobbyist demands as per that documentary last night on Channel 4.

It seems to me TOTD serves no other purpose than to reinforce theological thinking rather than provoke independent thought. Quite an ironic title for the segment.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 18:49:00 UTC | #414158

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 7 by Jos Gibbons

So, they can declare themselves off the hook because editorial decisions have to be made? To not "dilute" with people of a different opinion? Why the non-religious would value something his/her own opinions aren't good enough for is beyond me - but then, this COE representative provided no more evidence for that statement than he/she (probably he) did a name. Coward. Where are the REALLY moderate clergy, who positively call for equality on this point? Neither this nameless person nor the BBC garners much respect from me right now.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 18:50:00 UTC | #414160

mlgatheist's Avatar Comment 8 by mlgatheist

I suggest that the citizens of England write to their MPs and to the Prime Minister demanding that the government, which supports the BBC, correct this situation.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 18:51:00 UTC | #414162

GalacticAtom's Avatar Comment 10 by GalacticAtom

mlgatheist wrote:

I suggest that the citizens of England write to their MPs and to the Prime Minister demanding that the government, which supports the BBC, correct this situation.

Much as I despise the BBC's decision, I don't think we really want politicians dictating editorial decisions to the media.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:01:00 UTC | #414171

ayliffe's Avatar Comment 9 by ayliffe

Thought for the day's the nearest thing the BBC has to an ad break, it's a few minutes of drivel that you can use to make a cup of tea without fear of missing anything interesting or important.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:01:00 UTC | #414169

Mr Blue Sky's Avatar Comment 11 by Mr Blue Sky

Oh well! just one more thing to be 'strident' about. Our establishment figures leave a lot to be desired and who is on the committee?

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:02:00 UTC | #414172

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 12 by God fearing Atheist

Was "Thought for the Afternoon" a one off, or is it regularly repeated?

If it is regularly repeated there is little to complain about except the mismatch of "Thought for the day" and "Thought for the afternoon" (if it was "Thought for the morning" they would be equivalent.)

Just a quick thought about a protest that might cause a stink - mothball your TV, don't pay the TV licence, and tell the BBC (and media) why. At £ 142.50 a year, 7017 lost licence fees will cost the BBC a million quid! It might also be expanded into a more general protest from atheists/agnostics/skeptics about too much priviledge being given to the religious.

Sorry to say, I can't take part. I haven't had a TV or a licence for about 10 years. My "silent protest" was about too much rubbish on TV!

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:05:00 UTC | #414175

njwong's Avatar Comment 13 by njwong

I have not heard of this programme before. I always thought that the religious programme on BBC was called "Songs of Praise" (which is available in my country via the BBC World Service). I am very surprised that "Thought for the Day", with such a secular sounding title, is actually restricted to religious folks only. Guess BBC will next equate morality as being the sole preserve of religious believers too.

Anyway, using neutral sounding titles to disguise their advancement of faith positions seem to be a favourite of the Christians. Think of names like "Focus On The Family", or "Discovery Institute".

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:18:00 UTC | #414176

Stonyground's Avatar Comment 14 by Stonyground

The best weapon against this is not indignation but ridicule. A guy called Peter Hearty runs a blog called Platitude of the Day which lampoons Thought for the Day with a daily parody. The blog has a comment section which allows listeners to let off steam or take the piss.

It is also worth noting that Radio 2 has a very similar slot at 9:15am.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:36:00 UTC | #414185

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 15 by Bonzai

They should change the name of the program to more honestly reflect its content. I suggest 'thought from the arse'.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:41:00 UTC | #414188

gcdavis's Avatar Comment 16 by gcdavis

The announcement today that the BBC Trust will continue to support the Radio 4 policy of discrimination against humanists and atheists is outrageous.

The BBC has an obligation to fairness and impartiality as laid down in its charter. The remit of Thought for the Day (TftD) is to reflect on the moral/ethical implications of current events. The assumption that religion has an exclusive insight in this area is astonishing. I have yet to hear an apology from any of the Catholic speakers regarding their church’s disgusting abuse of children in their care. I have yet to hear a Jewish speaker denounce the Israeli government for their war crimes in Gaza, I have yet to hear a Moslem speak out against their faith’s obscene treatment of apostates and homosexuals.

What I do hear banal platitudes about god’s love and how religion is the sole bulwark against a tide of immorality. The truth is that religion in many of its nasty, prejudiced guises is the problem, not the solution.

It is no surprise that politicians are afraid to confront religious privilege. Their grovelling pursuit of votes is to be expected, but that the BBC, an organisation revered the world over, should also demonstrate such a supine response is evidence of the moral cowardice and intellectual bankruptcy of its controllers and its management.

The BBC Trust may think it has drawn a line under this issue, it hasn’t. In restricting contributors to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day (TftD) to those who subscribe to a particular set of religious beliefs, the BBC clearly breaches the Equality and Human Rights Act.

The Act defines Humanism and Atheism as systems of belief and yet persons holding these beliefs are explicitly excluded from contributing to the programme. The BBC seeks to justify the status quo by saying that TftD is produced by the BBC Religious Affairs department. It is thereby promoting religious belief at the expense of any other system of belief like humanism.

The fight continues, watch this space.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:42:00 UTC | #414190

bucketchemist's Avatar Comment 17 by bucketchemist

I listen to Thought for the Day regularly and I would say that whilst most of them do cite some scripture or other many of them do not. They tend to be(fairly anodine) statements suggesting moral behaviour which most humanists would be pretty on board with. To this extent, I would question whether this was actually 'religious output' at all. It's more that the input is restricted to those individuals who identify themselves as religious.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:51:00 UTC | #414195

bucketchemist's Avatar Comment 18 by bucketchemist

Quick follow up on my last posting. If TFTD is supposed to be 'religious output' can I suggest a campaign against non-religious content? Or possibly a campaign that the content is not religious enough, and does not represent the truly religious believers as found in more fundamental sects traditional faith groups.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 19:57:00 UTC | #414198

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 19 by mordacious1

Maybe a compromise is in order. Just rename it "Dumbshit Religious Thought of the Day" and rationalists won't want to be involved. Everyone is happy.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 20:59:00 UTC | #414229

Stamfordian's Avatar Comment 20 by Stamfordian

The Radio 4 PM programme blog is hosting a discussion on this between Anthony Grayling (who yet again is excellent) and Alister "Mogadon" McGrath (who, as always, uses many words to convey very little that is meaningful).

The real point about TFTD is that it is generally very poor quality. The "thought" is invariably stretched to fit (often not very well) current news interest and is generally padded out with trite, patronising cant relating to whatever variety of myth is being peddled that day.

It often provides a laugh but rarely provides any inspiration.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 21:01:00 UTC | #414230

DeepFritz's Avatar Comment 21 by DeepFritz

Thought of the Day£

Here are a few good ideas for "Thought of the day". These ones might actually proke something called THOUGHT...

We are going to die and that makes us the lucky ones...

The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true. We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities. Cleverly designed experiments are the key.

We don't have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 21:27:00 UTC | #414241

SeculR's Avatar Comment 22 by SeculR

What really surprises me about this is that the slot is not just religious, but quite exclusive as to the religions it gives air time to. If they really are genuine about this, then the Religious Affairs Dept. should surely be going all out to include as many different religions as they can. So why do they restrict it to the usual suspects I wonder? Is it just laziness, or is there some sub-agenda going on here to restrict it to “safe” religions and to keep out those that are regarded as controversial or a bit obscure? I’m quite happy for all religions and non- religions to be given a fair crack of the whip, but as it stands, the BBC is failing even by its own standards.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 21:35:00 UTC | #414244

Utakata's Avatar Comment 23 by Utakata

They really should change the name of that if they are going to keep it religious...cause it really reeks of double speak as it is. When you think of "thought"'re really stating what it is on your mind, whether it be religious, non-religious and/or out right insane...

...or um...even better, just remove that show all together. /sigh

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 21:41:00 UTC | #414246

Guneenya's Avatar Comment 24 by Guneenya

I'd like to hear the Thought for the Day come from JC himself.... Jeremy Clarkson that is. He's the only one who makes any sense to me in this topsy-turvy world.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 21:44:00 UTC | #414247

hossein's Avatar Comment 25 by hossein

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 21:45:00 UTC | #414248

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 26 by the great teapot

Religion has so few spots in the national media these days it would be a shame to lose it.
I love it, it always makes me laugh. I kinda love the idea that you can join our club if you believe in any old bullshit. They all disagree with one another but they recognise the one thing they all have in common is the fact that none of them have any evidence for what they believe. Would you really want to be a member of that club. You couldn't make it up.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 22:23:00 UTC | #414261

j.mills's Avatar Comment 27 by j.mills

the trust said it had found that Thought for the Day is "religious output..."
It's official: atheism is not a religion. Glad we've got that cleared up. Until the next "debate" with a flailing creationist.

Stonyground (#14) mentions a similar pool of piss on Radio 2 at 9.15am. There's another on Radio 2 at about 6.25am - I have to mute the radio in favour of my blood pressure.

To clear up any confusion for non-UK readers: Today is a current affairs programme on BBC Radio 4 every weekday morning, and Thought For The Day is a glaringly incongruous slot within it, lasting a few excruciating minutes. Speakers are jewish, christian, buddhist, hindu, muslim... but all carefully chosen wishy-washy ecumenicals. Thus, the 'thoughts' are banal and the religious link weak, contrived and irrelevant - except of course that the format implies that the religious element is crucial. If it didn't already exist, the Beeb wouldn't get away with inventing it.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 22:36:00 UTC | #414266

Pete.K's Avatar Comment 28 by Pete.K

I thought so, Ariane Sherine has indeed delivered a secular thought for they day.

The BBC gave it a try and has apparently dismissed the idea.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 22:39:00 UTC | #414267

COD's Avatar Comment 29 by COD

Forget Thought of the Day. What atheists really need is a 24hr Freeview TV channel - one that features Sci-Fi, real science, comedy (including Mr. Deity), technology, documentaries, debates (where atheists always win - grins) and frequent news showing the HOURLY dose of religious tyranny.

By now, I'm sure Richard has quite a few contacts in the media business. I guess quite a few are very wealthy too. What you think Richard? You going to give them a call?

Seriously though, I'd love to see a dedicated Freethought TV channel. It would probably be successful too - considering all the attention atheists have been getting recently.

No harm in dreaming I guess.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 23:00:00 UTC | #414275

TheLordHumungus's Avatar Comment 30 by TheLordHumungus

Then they should rename it RELIGIOUS THOUGHT FOR THE DAY. I think (more than once) every day and it is never religious.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 23:22:00 UTC | #414282