Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Thought for the day - under the spotlight

BBC Radio 4's platitudinous Thought for the Day has come under the spotlight again, with presenter John Humphrys' recent comment that it was ‘frankly bizarre’ to interrupt the BBC’s news programme with ‘what is in essence a sermon’.

It is a sermon with no right of reply.  This morning was partly in praise of the 'saintly' Mother Teresa.  Nobody has a right to point out that not everyone thins so highly of her.  What did Christopher Hitchens call her?  Hell's Angel I think. His book The Missionary Position was a detailed attack on her way of working.

Humphrys seems to sit on the fence when it comes to the question of religion - at least with respect to christianity.  His 2007 book In God we Doubt had a good title but left me a little uncertain that his doubts had developed as far as the title suggests.  On balance I think that he had (at that time) not let go of religion but was well aware of the irrationality of many aspects of it.

Previous attempts to introduce contributions from secular speakers for TFTD have failed, but the British Humanist Association is backing the latest calls for a new review.

Naomi Phillips, BHA Head of Public Affairs, commented: ‘The deliberate exclusion of any non-religious voices from participating in one of the most prominent  media forums for debating contemporary moral and ethical issues is a substantial failure on behalf of the BBC. Not only does the BBC fail to provide an opportunity for a balanced discussion –  as a public service broadcaster, it also fails in its duty to provide programming representative of the audience it serves, which must clearly include the very large number of non-religious people in the UK.’

You may remember that I linked to Platitude of the Day (back in January).  That is the antidote you might need at 07:55 in the morning.

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