Introduction and Statement

Time for BBC to include Humanists on Thought for the Day

The South East London Humanist Group (SELHuG) invites you to support its campaign to open Thought for the Day to humanists. At the moment the BBC’s flagship ‘reflective’ slot on the Radio 4 Today programme is reserved for religious commentators.

The campaign launched with a demonstration on 12th June outside Broadcasting House and since then we have been holding monthly demonstrations. Our next demo is on Tuesday 12th November between 4 – 6pm. Please join us!

Other ways to support the campaign are to add your name in support of the statement below (form at the bottom of this page, along with a sign up to the campaign mailing list), and to write to James Purnell, the BBC Director in charge of religious and ethical programming.

This is in fact the latest chapter in a campaign begun many years ago to include humanists on Thought for the Day. Evidence that it really is time for the BBC to remove its blinkers and see that half of us are ethical and non-religious.

On the 13th November 2018 the Guardian published an open letter to BBC Director General Tony Hall from 30 public figures supporting our campaign. You can read the letter here.

STATEMENT BY SOUTH EAST LONDON HUMANIST GROUP (SELHuG)

It is time for BBC to include Humanists on Thought for the Day

We are calling on the BBC to open their flagship reflective slot Thought for the Day to humanists.

Religion doesn’t hold a monopoly on ethical worldviews. There is another mainstream tradition as old as religion, called humanism.

Humanism is a positive, everyday philosophy which encourages us to value ourselves and recognise that other people are as valuable as we are. That has deep implications for the way we treat each other and our environment.

The BBC is failing in its legal duty to treat non-religious beliefs equally with religious beliefs, ‘belief’ being defined as “a collective belief in, or other adherence to, a systemised set of ethical or philosophical principles or of mystical or transcendental doctrines” (Communications Act 2003).

The BBC is also failing its remit to reflect the diversity of beliefs of its audience and the wider population. Over half the British population do not belong to any religion1 and around half of those have a humanist worldview2. In Scotland where Humanist weddings are legal, more people choose them than ceremonies conducted by the Church of Scotland or any other denomination or faith. Amongst under-30 year olds in the UK, 70% have no faith3.

To argue, as James Purnell (Director, Radio and Education, BBC) does, that non-religious views are sufficiently represented across ‘the whole of the BBC’s output’ is to miss the point – that humanism is an equal partner in the ‘belief’ category.

We call on the BBC to address this injustice and include humanists, and holders of other non-religious beliefs, on Thought for the Day.

____________________________

1 53% describe themselves as having no religion: British Social Attitudes Survey’s 2016 report, published 2017

2 Half of those who do not follow a religion say they hold humanist beliefs: Humanists UK survey on beliefs and values carried out by YouGov, published in June 2017

3 70% of young Britons (16 – 29 year olds) identify as having no religion: ‘Europe’s Young Adults and Religion: findings from the European Social Survey’, a report by St Mary’s University, Twickenham and the Institut Catholique de Paris (ICP) published March 2018.

You can download a pdf copy of the statement here: SELHuG campaign statement

If you wish to add your name in support of the statement, please add your details below and click the button:

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UPDATE 
We have 187 signatures so far.

Richard Ayre from London
Guy Burch from London
Edmund May from London
Duarte Soares from London
Beverley Platt from Bexleyheath
Bruce Hiron from Morecambe
Alice Bruggen from London
Nick Hindley from Sw19 7Ha
Richard Meares from London
Michael Royle from Wrexham
Bill Miller from London
Graham Morris from London
Christine Seymour from Hornchurch
Christine Berrisford from Leeds
Lisa Bourne from Leeds
Elaine Southall from Derby
Moira Pendlebury from Rugby
Neil Kay from York
Lyn Heigl from Alton, Hampshire
Richard Moon from Bedford
Androw Bennett from Llanarthne, Caerfyrddin
Deborah Steed from Buckingham
Lynn O’Brien from London
Julie Kay from York
Carole Truman from Isle Of Wight
Hannah Green from Headley Down
Felicity Harvest from Wadhurst
Michael Nay from Whitstable
Samuel Becker from LONDON
Rebecca Bennett from London
Virginia Bevan from London
Hester Brown from London
Claire Welsh from Oakham
david smart from london
Nura Shan from Coulsdon
Isabel Muttreja from Manchester
Philip Matthew from Norwich
Anneke Scott from London
Benjamin Till from London
Ruth Chase from Winchester
Jonathan Ruddle from Riseley, Reading
Meriel Whale from Lewes
David Kennard from York
Clive Aruede from Bexley
Martin Biermann from Chineham
rachel fryer from Newhaven
Arun Muttreja from London
Beverley Mack from Orpington, kent.
James Dobson from Lewisham
Fiona Brice from Hove
Tony Brewer from SE London
Ravinder Randhawa from London
Mike Shallcross from London
Toby Keynes from Croydon
Trevor Moore from London
Audrey King from London
Barbara Suzuki from Norwich
Lori Winters from Catford, London
Celia Moote from London
Andrew Bone from London
Ian Glendinning from Guisborough, CLEVELAND
Jeremy Rodell from Twickenham
Giannella 9 Sanchez from Seville
Mary-Elizabeth Everitt from London
Imelda Starkings from london
Jaisal Muttreja from London
Jim Trimmer from KINGSTON
Natalie Charles from BALHAM
Richard Winter from Surrey
Els Hol from London
Gareth Daniels from London
Martin from Kingston upon Thames
Angela from Devon
Carolyn Sugden from Birmingham
Terry McGrath from Birmingham
Victoria Denning from Pershore
Ruth Wilson from Birmingham
Edward Redford from Sutton Coldfield West Midlands
Tony Terry from Heswall
Cat Williams from Wrexham
Carolyn Forsyth from Teddington
timothy hutson from Shoreham-by-Sea
Terry Owen from Northampton
Adam Davies from Cardiff
Robin Lynn from Penarth
Ian Hodgson from YORK
Graham Pierce from OXFORD
david smart from london dulwich
James Craig-Gray from Bushey
Lucy Ferman-Moore from London
Steve Deckett from St. Albans
Clare James from Cardiff
Peter Wood from Helston
John Langford from Truro
David RJ Lloyd from CARDIFF
Barbara Noble from Watford
Alan Palmer from London
Stella Plumbridge from London
Robert Ross from London W6 9AR
David Gordon-Shute from LONDON
Richard Spedding from On behalf of Lancashire Secular Humanists
Neil Jenkins from Watford
Herbert Sweetnam from Farnham
Mike Silver from Farnham
Belinda Schwehr from Farnham
Richard Lucas from Ash Vale
Susan Willson from Farnham
Yasmin Hashmi from London
Mike Turner from North Shields
Margaret Cooper from SITTINGBOURNE
Andrew
Laura Stevens from Leeds
Carol Curley from Dudley
Ed Gibney from Cullercoats
Carrie Supple from London
James Squires from London
Steve Eade from Horsham
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Mary Crowe from Shetland
Ross MacKay from London
Angela Kingdom from Charlton Mackrell
Martin Spafford from LONDON
Bruce Taylor from Hemel Hempstead
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Erik Cox from Wallasey
Kearn Grisdale from Oxford
Don McAllister from Liverpool
Michael Nay from Whitstable
Raymond Wilson from St Leonard's On Sea
Wayne Holmes from Henley-on-Thames
Aneta Chudzinska from London
Kathryn Woods-Townsens from Southampton
Callum Golding from Hassocks
Mel Osborne from Bristol
Sheila Farrell from Guildford
Peter Farrell from Guildford
Gladys Nott from Halstead
Caroline Lloyd from Harlow, Essex
George White from Brighton
simon singh from London
Stephen Volk from Bradford-on-Avon
Iolo ap Gwynn from Aberystwyth
Michael Rubenstein from London
Michael Irwin from Cranleigh, Surrey
Virginia ironside from LONDON
Marilyn Mason from Kingston upon Thames
John Gallop from Twickenham
Stephen Smartt from Holywood
David Warden from Bournemouth
Ronald Barr from Poole
Robert Pickford from Broadstone, Dorset
Linda Brough from Okehampton
John Glazer from Christchurch
Christine Seymour from Havering
Christine