Well, it looks as though the splendidly anachronistic daily Radio 4 slot Thought for the Day will remain the province of a variety of a number of religious types (often spectacularly dotty). The Guardian reports (BBC rejects call for non-religious speakers on Thought for the Day) that the BBC Trust has in the face of serious lobbying from the Church of England (among others) rejected calls from Humanist organisations that TftD doesn’t breach impartiality by not including views from atheists, secularists and humanists.
The NSS president, Terry Sanderson, said: “Naturally we are very disappointed. This is a campaign we have been waging for 50 years, ever since Thought for the Day and its predecessors were first broadcast on the BBC. Every edition of Thought for the Day is a rebuke to those many people in our society who do not have religious beliefs.”
In contrast, of course, the religious establishment is delighted. The Guardian reports a Church of England spokesman as saying:
“We are glad that the BBC Trust has protected a unique slot in Radio 4′s schedule where religious views from across the faith communities of the UK can be expressed openly. 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.”
It would indeed be interesting to know whether it is indeed valued by people of all faiths and none. I mean other than as an object of ridicule. And why indeed are the faith-based opinions on current news stories of any worth whatsoever? And is it really the case that they don’t have other opportunities to pontificate away to their heart’s content “openly”?
Of course, there’s a brighter side to this arbitrary and unreasonable decision, continued meat for the very excellent website Platitude of the Day, which can now continue to present entertaining interpretations of the latest drivel emitted by representatives of a variety of faiths, often based on dusty mediaeval or bronze age texts purporting to represent the views of a number of Invisible Magic Friends (all mutually incompatible). Indeed the news is reported there as Glad Tidings:
I bring glad tidings of great joy to my flock of sheep. Thought For The Day will continue in its present form! You realise what this means? Yes, Platitude Of The Day will also continue in its present form.
I knew that the good, noble, principled, unelected people of the BBC trust would not let me down.
As a matter of interest, has a Church of Scientology representative ever been invited to the god-spot? After all, their batty beliefs aren’t really that much more batty than any of the others on display in Thought for the Day…
You can read the BBC Trust Press Release here.
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