BBC campaign update and February demo

Thought for the Day campaign inspired by George Orwell

SELHuG member David Smart was inspired by the George Orwell statue, erected in the precinct of Broadcasting House in November 2017, to take a stand against the exclusion of humanists and other non-religious thinkers from Thought for the Day.

There is an inscription beside the statue from Animal Farm: “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

The irony of the BBC celebrating this idea when it is the prisoner – apparently – of a religious establishment ‘dogmatically insistent on not listening’, was striking.

When half the population is not religious, when humanism as a worldview has been so successfully ethical without recourse to religion for thousands of years (good without god), it takes a special stubbornness to block your eyes and ears from reality. 

Our January letter to the BBC was written by David and addressed to James Purnell, the director in charge of faith and belief. He wrote: “The Christian Church, as always, is in retreat, from Galileo to Darwin and Hawking. For sociological reasons, I fear it will never give up… the blind prejudice is still there, not far below a surface. One need only take oneself back to the outburst of hatred released against Margaret Knight when – somehow or other – she was enabled to give two lectures on air in 1955 on Morals Without Religion. It was ground breaking, but how she was reviled by church and lay people alike. (An account of those days which I well remember and is well worth reading is to be found in English Historical Review CXXV111 Issue 525 April 2012 Callum G Brown Glasgow University.)

“Please be just and fair. Our voice should be heard along with those who have supernatural beliefs.”

As Humanists UK pointed out last November: “The BBC has not broadcast a single documentary programme about humanism or humanists either on television or radio since a short interview series on the then Home Service in 1965.” (Response to BBC consultation on its editorial guidelines.)

The next demonstration is on Tuesday 12 February from 8am to 10am. Please join us.