THE BBC STAFF'S ATTITUDE TO THE CORPORATION'S
STANCE ON RELIGION
BBC's own staff oppose discrimination against
atheists exclusion from TftD in their own house magazine, Ariel:
28/1/03, P11Second Thought
Within the BBC values framework, it states that
we, as an organisation, should "make sure our output tests
all points of view, and gives voice to a wide range of opinions".
How does this sit with Radio 4's Thought For
The Day? The programme continues to disallow atheists from expressing
their beliefs. Will the programme makers be changing their policy
in light of the newly published values?
Gavin Lennon, Hutchison
4/2/03, P10Why we must keep faith with
I do not think the BBC is failing atheists by
excluding them from Thought for the Day (January 28). This item
is of a religious nature and atheism is an anti-religious viewpoint.
I do not recall seeing members of the Flat Earth Society on The
Sky at Night, pro-hunting positions on wildlife programmes, or
those who wish to ban boxing on the BBC's sports output, so why
should those who are opposed to God expect space in programmes
expressing spiritual values?
If this argument seems less than compelling
to atheists, they can console themselves in the knowledge that
the rest of the BBC's message is generally anti-Christian, atheists
getting the last word, the best questions, and the most heroic
positions. God is usually left with only the halt, the lame, the
mentally confused and the inadequate to speak for him.
As a parting note, I'm left wondering exactly
what kind of thought for the day atheism has to offer. I can't
see despair or defeatism or self-pity going down too well at that
hour in the morning.
John Davis, senior archives
John Davis' sour and mean-minded attack on atheists
is another great argument for our inclusion in Thought for
the Day (4 February). Not that we needed one.
TftD is not a religious item. In practice it
is a daily piece about ethics and morality. Restricting it to
the religious maintains the fiction that one must have religion
to have morality.
Where's the `despair' in knowing you have just
one life and living it to the full? Where's the defeatism in working
to improve your world for those around you and those who follow
you? Where's the self-pity in realising that, without someone
to wipe your slate clean, you alone can take responsibility for
Recently there was much talk about making TftD
less trite'. May I humbly suggest that this could be achieved
by inviting contributors who have to think hard about their morals,
rather than those who have them dictated by a very old book.
Colin Hazelden, BBC North
May I reassure John Davis that I suffer no anguish
whatever in finding no need for a supernatural explanation of
the world? Nature is just as astonishing, beautiful and fascinating
whether we believe that it's part of an unfathomable plan, or
that it just blunders along on its own. Tragedy and suffering
are neither explained nor lessened by the proposition that they
serve a greater being's hidden purpose.
Martin Young, studio and
Atheism is an empowering philosophy which values
reason over ignorance, enquiry over acceptance That's why theists
have always striven to devalue and censor it. How sad that people
like John Davis and the producers of Thought for the Day are still
fighting the battles of the Middle Ages.
Richard Crompton, BBC
John Davis asks why those opposed to God should
expect space in programmes expressing spiritual values? This is
the Today programme you're talking about, right? And since
when are atheists opposed to God, I thought that was Satanists.
As an incredible parting shot he says he can't
see `despair, defeatism or self-pity going down too well' in the
slot. There's a guy who stands at Oxford Circus every day with
a megaphone who says pretty much the same thing, judging people
he knows nothing about.
Andrew Badley, Henry Wood
John Davis says that he doesn't understand why
those `opposed to God' should expect airtime in a `spiritual programme'.
As I understand it, atheism does not exclude spiritualityindividual
spirituality is truly an indefinable quantity and not the preserve
of organised religions.
Greg Boraman, Digital