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I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help


Pledge “thoughtfortheday”

"I will e-mail the BBC to object to "Thought for the Day" but only if 100 other people will do the same."

— Gavin

Deadline to sign up by: 31st December 2008
1,660 people signed up (1560 over target)

Country: United Kingdom

More details
"Thought for the Day" is a slot during BBC Radio 4's "Today Programme" in which airtime is handed over to religious commentators to try to interpret world events in the context of their texts and bestow their wisdom upon us all.

The fact that this interruption occurs during the BBC's flagship radio news programme, which is otherwise supposed to apply exacting standards of evidence, makes it totally and utterly incongruous. Not only is "Thought for the Day" on during this programme, but it is given absolute peak time at approximately 7.47am, just as many people are waiting for the 8am headlines and getting ready to leave for work.

In addition, the fact that humanist, non-religious contributors, are excluded from the slot gives the impression the BBC believes morality is the exclusive remit of religious people, which is offensive, unrepresentative and untrue.

As such, "Thought for the Day" is an insult to intelligent listeners. It is high time there was a concerted campaign insisting that it either:


1) accept non-religious contributors (for example A.C. Grayling)

or

2) be removed from The Today Programme's schedule altogether


During the week commencing 1st January 2009 I will email the Today Programme to object to Thought for the Day in writing - but only if 100 other people do the same.

Although the Today Programme often passes the TFTD buck to the BBC "Religion & Ethics" unit (a conflation indicative of how they view matters) we will address our mails to where the problem appears: today[at]bbc.co.uk.

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Comments on this pledge

  • Religious people are no more qualified to think and preach about morality/the universe than anyone else on the planet. "Thought For The Day" should include all points of view.
    Mr Andrews, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I personally find "Thought for the Day" patronizing, and it is clearly unrepresentative and inappropriate on The Today Programme.
  • I have already emailed the BBC prior to knowing about this pledge, but will do so again to provide more of an impact in January.

    I think that at official petition may also be in order - through the 10 Downing Street Website. The BBC is publicly funded by UK licence payers and therefore answers directly to the Government. It is their job to make sure that all licence payers are fairly represented and not discriminated.

    http://www.number10.gov.uk/communicate/e...

    What do you think?
    Karl Savage, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It is so obviously inappropriate for the BBC to include this slot on their flagship current affairs programme, unless it is widened to include those of us who now find religious belief an intellectual impossibility.
    David Love, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I read that, in the last census, 7 million people declared 'no religion'. If that's true, an atheistic opinion once a fortnight would be equitable. We're paying our share for the BBC. This can increase as reason is consequently adopted by more people.
    Dave Worrall, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thanks everyone to getting this off to a good start.

    I think the No. 10 Petition idea is a good one (it's one I considered). Let's be sure we make ourselves heard loudly and clearly with this route first then perhaps see about the governmental route if the voice of rational people is still ignored in the new year.

    I'm hoping for many more than 100 signatories on this. Please spread the word far and wide and keep them coming in: we need to show the BBC what we think about this issue.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I think that at official petition may also be in order - through the 10 Downing Street Website. The BBC is publicly funded by UK licence payers and therefore answers directly to the Government. It is their job to make sure that all licence payers are fairly represented and not discriminated.
  • They do the same thing on BBC Radio Scotland at 0820. It's hardly safe to broadcast such inflammatory, bigoted guff when people are driving. Make it stop!
    David MacDougall, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • How strange that a group of middle aged people that occupy a parallel universe in which they hear voices from invisible friends are given air time to preach to sane people........
    Richard Handley, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I completely agree and will definitely do this. I hate being preched to at any time of day but before I leave the house for work. Unacceptable.
    Emily Leadbetter, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thanks everyone. Just a note to clarify: we will send our emails during the week of 1st - 8th January 2009, not right away. This co-ordinated approach should make a significant impression on those who foist TFTD upon us.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I think it is unfair that the Thought for the Day slot is only available to religious commentators and not to those people with atheist, humanist or secular views.

    Thought provoking ideas and morality are not just the preserve of those who believe in absurdities, rational people have them too.
    Andy Brown, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thought for the Day is a misnomer unless the BBC opens it up to people who are not religious. Otherwise it should be renamed "Religious thought for the Day". In a week when tragically, a Christian Aid Worker has been murdered by a Muslim, because of her religion, it becomes even more clear that religion is part of the problem, not part of the answer, so give us atheists and secularists a chance to share our thoughts with the great British public. What is the BBC afraid of?
    Helen Heenan, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • They also have something similar on Radio 2, but a bit earlier, with Sarah Kennedy. So as I am a believer (I believe that god does NOT exist) I e-mailed them about it, just over a year ago, and got the following reply from Susie Matthews
    >>
    Thanks for your email about Pause for Thought, you are right in saying
    we don't have non-theist contributors on Pause for Thought, that's
    because the slot is designed to hear from people of faiths about their
    lives and expriences(sp). I appreicate(sp) that as a 'bright' this might seem
    frustrating, but we make every effort for our Pause for Thoughts to be
    open to all, the faithful or not.
    <<
    "the slot is designed to hear from people of faiths ", and "we make every effort for our Pause for Thoughts to be open to all, the faithful or not"
    Is it me?? we can listen to them but they mustn't listen to us??
  • Religious views are piped into my kitchen every morning without fear, or even any concept, of contradiction, and all John Humphrys and James Naughtie are allowed by way of redress is a very short appalled silence before moving on to the real world. Why should religious views be automatically accorded more respect than those of people with no religious beliefs?
    John Stretch, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I was particularly appalled to learn that a speaker on TfTD recently spent her daily 'thought' criticising the recent atheist 'bus' poster campaign - but the people she criticised were not allowed to reply!
    Bill Eveleigh, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It is the highest insult that they think that only religious people have any clue about morals & ethics. We freethinkers have chosen to be moral & ethical because it pleases us, unlike theists who do it the hope of a reward from their invisible friend. I was baptized a Catholic, and was told as a 7 year old that my beloved dad (protestant) would burn in hell. Seems like child abuse to me!!
    Frances Versluys, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'm very interested to read these comments, and given that this is only Day 1, this pledge is likely to reach its target very soon.

    Please consider the target amount only a nominal value, and keep signing up, even as it is exceeded. (PledgeBank actually recommend a target of only 10, and its hard to predict how many signatories a pledge will attract.)

    The BHA has said it will publicise the campaign to 4,000 people and it is being publicised elsewhere too, so I look forward to watching it develop and to us all telling the BBC what we think in January.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Make that 0720 ... DOH! Clearly my brain is tuning the thing out :)
  • You say that TfTD should either:

    1) accept non-religious contributors (for example A.C. Grayling)

    or

    2) be removed from The Today Programme's schedule all together

    Personally I'd be content with a third option: change the name to Religious Thought for the Day.

    At the very least please name it for what it is.
    Graham Pierce, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • From UK 2001 census people with “No Religion” account 15.5% of UK population. Excluding Christians, which account for 71.6%, this is almost 3 times all other religions combined of 5.4 percent. If you include all other people who did not state a religion as being non religious, on the basis that if they had faith in their religion they should have the conviction to say so, the percentage is about 23 percent or 4 times other religions. The next largest section is Muslim’s an outside third at 2.7%. For full census details go to http://diversiton.com/religion/census/br....
    In view of this, if ‘Thought For The Day’ is to continue then, as we live in a democratic society, irrespective of whether it is secular, the programme should fairly represent the religious and non religious sections of the community UNLESS the BBC believe that the religious groups are the only people who have the right to have moral views or opinions. On this basis I think a reasonably fair allocation of programme space should be 3 days per week for Christians, 1 day a week for non-religious groups, and 1 day per week for all the other groups on a rolling basis, although the latter is more than generous based on their representation in the community.
    As a Bright I would be prepared accept this arrangement as reasonably equitable, although in a secular society it could be argued that national broadcasts, particularly of this genre, should have no religious bias.
    Alternatively get rid of ‘Thought For The Day’ or at the very least be honest and rename it ‘Religious Thought For The Day’ and allow non religious groups to have their own equivalent programme

    This is my contribution to the cause.
    Nick C, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thought for the day is an anachronism and an insult to any intelligent person. Most 'thoughts' have no religious basis but merely have God (s) tagged on at the end. The rest are usually drivel; Lionel Blue's being the best exemplars.
    John Kew, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • TFTD is a dishonestly deceptive term to describe comments from people who have already committed intellectual suicide.
    Mark Eton, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • On occasion the contributors to TFTD make interesting or worthwhile points. But even the best of them rarely make a point so profound that it justifies the speaker being parachuted into the middle of the Today program with no possibility of criticism.

    On those occasions when someone spouts drivel about whatever's in the headlines, and then tops it off with a non sequitur that includes an unjustified assertion about what Jesus would have done, then I think the perpetrator (generally Anne Atkins) should expect to be ritually disembowelled by John Humphrys immediately afterwards.

    The least they could do would be to occasionally allow someone that is rational enough to have an uncontaminated thought to present the thought for the day -- a piece about The Prisoner's Dilemma could be made far more thought provoking that any of the religion-based pseudo-thoughts I've heard of late.
    Philip Hands, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I mostly just object to the name. It doesn't sound like "Thought" is the word they were looking for.
  • Message to Richard Handley..


    "How strange that a group of middle aged people that occupy a parallel universe in which they hear voices from invisible friends are given air time to preach to sane people........
    Richard Handley, 2 days ago.

    WHAT THE HELL HAS PEOPLE'S AGES GOT TO DO WITH THIS?

    I'm over 70, Richard. Don't fight superstition by resorting to ageism!

    Let's stay on the same side!
    Bill Eveleigh, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • "We must listen to them but they won't listen to us."

    Fight PREJUDICE on the BBC. Fight it wherever it is!

    Toby
    Toby Stigreign, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It's great to see we've now doubled the target on this pledge! However, keep spreading the word: we will need a lot more than this to make the BBC actually listen in January (even in their currently "weakened" state). Thanks.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Not only is there TFTD and the slot on Sarah Kennedy's programme - but also a five minute religious slot on the Wogan morning programme as well. It has to stop now. I expect my license fee (tax) to include my views as a non-believer and I fully support this movement.

    Good luck!
    Marcus Eden-Ellis, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • If you'd like to have a bit of a laugh at TFTD, visit my blog:

    http://www.platitudes.org.uk/platblog/in...
  • Thought for the day should be inclusive of all, including those of no faith, else remove it from the schedule.
    Gemma Brunswick, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The BBC is going to have more religious output due to the fact that Mark Thompson, Director General, is a fervent Catholic, and will obey his leader, Ratzinger, in pushing religion as far as they can. We had a Jesus Story last Easter, and they are trailing something that looks horribly like priest power, with Martin Shaw (Martin - how could you?) at the moment. I will withhold judgement until I see it. I think we are going to be busy!!
  • If someone starts a No. 10 petition, I'll add my name to that as well.
    Penny Johnson, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I think we should do a No. 10 petition in January if they do not sit up and listen to this.

    I favour direct action. Both the BBC and the government are very PC and pro-religion, and the latter freely ignore petitions (case in point: the recent faith schools one with 19,000 signatures was simply dismissed).

    Please continue to spread the word and link to this.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The secular Today programme has given the TftD slot to the Religion and Ethics Department. They have made their own rules and say that the thought must be theistic. This is like giving political broadcasts to, say the Conservative party, and that party saying that all political thoughts must have a conservative bias!
    Thought for the Day must be given normal editorial balance.
    Alan Stuart, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Why are these religionists [and the BBC?] so scared that a contrary view to their blinkered superstitions should be heard by the public? I strongly object to my licence fee being used exclusively to promote religious views on "Thought for the Day", and a religion-based take on morality and on important social issues.
    John Beech, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • TftD is run by the "religion AND ethics department" of the BBC!

    Do they mean these are two sparate things... Or just that atheists can't be ethical?

    Do these people think at all?

    Eve
    Eve Williams, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The worn out fallacy that morality comes only from religion is an insult non-believers everywhere. It is time to show that the religious don't have a monopoly on "Thoughts".
  • As Humanists are now included in many Interfaith organisations on the presumption that individuals have a right to their own belief within a fair and equal society, so the BBC and other broadcast organisations should share the same civilised view.

    Gordon Sinclair (Humanist)
    Gordon Sinclair, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • If ever you doubt the overload of religious programming on the BBC just have a listen to this kind of drivel, also put out on Radio 4:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes...

    And I will ask everyone to have a special listen to TFTD just to be reminded of how annoying and insulting it is before we object formally in January.

    Please *keep spreading the word about this*, and many thanks. I hope in due course we can rid the airwaves of this kind of superstitious nonsense.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It's official!

    "Atheists don't think!" BBC

    Only the faithful have thoughts!

    It makes me so angry!

    Leila
    Leila, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • My thought for the day:
    If religious people were honest with themselves, they would know that their private doubts about the existence of a god are evidence that they can think for themselves; however, professional self serving religious leaders tell them and us that their doubts should be dismissed as merely a test of their faith.
    This is an insult to the intelligence of all of humanity.
    Malcolm Ketteridge, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Do they ban Buddhists as well?

    "Do not accept anything by mere tradition. Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures... but when you know for yourselves—then do you live acting accordingly."
    Gautama Buddha, the Kalama Sutra

    Liz
    Liz Macharia, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Have already injured finger tips angrily emailing the Radio 4 Taliban - will do again in January.

    Can we not get John Humphreys to spontaneously combust during a Tftd segment?
  • It's odd that Thought for the Day should be open only to people who have irrational beliefs. As they are already mistaken in this, why would anyone want to be guided by their opinions on anything else?
    Elizabeth Moore, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • TFTD intensely irritating over breakfast if I forget to put a radio on the table: it means I have to jump up and switch off the dismal drone of Anne Atkins,or one of the more glutinously sanctimonious CoE bishops/RC clerics/moslem academics or worst of all the inane bonhomie of Lionel Blue. If the BBC DG is strongly wedded to it perhaps it could be rescheduled to just after the late-night shipping forecast as an essential service to insomniac theists?
    Brian Payne, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Although a Yank, I have always regarded the BBC as the world gold standard of broadcasting. Limiting the thought for the day to religious views detracts from their reputation for objective excellence.
  • Will the runners of this site/pledge email us to remind us? I'm likely to forget by January (-:!
    JPG, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • In late December, as the pledge closes, I will be sending (via e-mail) a "call to action" to everyone who has signed up.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The failure of the publicly funded broadcaster and its DG to listen to the wishes of a significant (non religious) section of society is deplorable. I agree Thought for the Day should be broadend to include presentations by those who subscribe to a naturalistic rather than a supernatural world view.
    R.Emslie, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Let Thought for the Day retain the services of the likes of Rabbi Lionel Blue who sets the standard for putting out a humanist message which can be both uplifting and of universal relevance. Other contributors are either too patronising or have a habit of talking in esoteric biblical language guaranteed, along with a lousy weather forcast, to spoil your day.
    Tony Edwards, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Physics
    Elizabeth Robillard, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I will e-mail TftD in January...
    I'm fed up with being preached at in the safety of my own home. I could just turn the radio off, but a portion of my licence fee goes to the normally excellent programming on Radio 4, and I think the Today programme is not reflecting MY beliefs.
    Lets have a TftD that includes all free thinking persons!
    James Walley, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I listen most days (sad person I am!) and sometimes God is not mentioned - these are the best days!!!
    Victoria Denning, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I do not see why millions of TV licence fee payers should be forced to have their radio listening interrupted by a someone who preaches. Thought For The Day is an anachronism, which has no place in a serious news programme. At least when you spot two Mormons walking up the driveway you can choose not to answer the door.
    Des Moore, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Wow!

    What happened on Nov 18th !

    Julia
    Julia, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • There is also a similar religious broadcast on BBC Radio 2 at 9.15 on the Terry Wogan show. I think this should be open to the non-religious or stopped.
    Nick Hook, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • On "You and Yours" today the BBC said that the Office of Fair Trading was concerned at 'psychic products' being advertised to 'vulnerable and superstitious people'. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

    Eve Williams
    Eve Williams, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • TFTD (along with Radio 2's Pause for Thought) is religious propaganda - pure and simple!

    It is disgraceful that the BBC promotes delusional religious beliefs as though they were incontestable facts.

    At the very least this programme should be renamed "Religious TFTD" and equal air time given to an "Atheist/Humanist TFTD". Lots of topics at smartsociety.org (Sensible Minds Against Religious Teachings!)
  • The campaign is getting more and more publicity. Some people are e-mailing me with replies they have received from the BBC - these invariably come from the "Religion & Ethics" dept. (interesting - please keep them coming).

    Now imagine you had a problem person at a party. This is like directing all complaints to that person themselves, rather than to the host - they are hardly likely to shout about it.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I have contributed, as an atheist, to Radio Bristol's "Thought for the day" and more recently to Radio Devon's "Pause for thought". Bristol's was hide-bound with regulations (can't mention religion etc) but at least they have it. Devon's seems much more easy going. The existence of these must show Radio 4 that it is possible to include atheists!
  • Julia,

    I think I know what happened on November 18th. The campaign got a plug in the British Humanist Association newsletter - for which much thanks.
    John Stretch, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • My religion is jazz music. Thinking, inspiration, a sense of humanity - these can be mediated by music as well as by words. Think of a beautiful melody that's brought tears to your eyes and then try to tell me I'm wrong! Equal treatment for jazz on TFTD?
    Stephen Ashworth, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Are you Orlando? If so, many thanks for pointing out the problem with the Atheist Bus Just Giving Website. It's now been sorted. R
    Richard Williams, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'm not Orlando, but I am currently in Orlando ;)

    This is really great that we have exceeded ten times the original pledge target, with more than 1,000 signatories. It says something important too, something that the BBC cannot ignore: rational people are sick and tired of being lectured to by superstitious people in the form of TFTD.

    We'll keep the pledge going into December, as planned. Please continue to mention it and link to it!
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Why does the BBC believe that it is somehow virtuous for people to have faith. Believing something is true without a trace of evidence just because someone told you it was true and you would like to believe it is as much the basis of religion as it is of Nazism. Why should my licence fee be used so that the likes of Anne Atkins can share her primitive beliefs with me in a morning when what I could really do with is the traffic reports. Apparently traffic holdups don't affect Radio 4 listeners but morale certainty does.
  • This God slot, which masquerades as a secular one, provides the clearest evidence of the BBC's extreme bias in favour of religion and it adherents.
    George Broadhead, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I've also written to the Wogan show, where the poor presenter (well, rich presenter) has to appear avuncular and welcoming each day around 9.15 as some religious twit arrives to explain why the latest atrocity is a sign of God's great design for the world, and an opportunity for goodness and light.
    Adrian Perry, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The most effective way is to boycott the whole program. Tune in to something that does not endorse the patronising of its listeners.

    With no listeners, they will have to do some listening themselves...
    Stephen, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • If we wanted to hear anything from the religious stand point we would go to their church which we support because it's tax free and burdens everyone because we have to make up the taxes they don't pay. If they had to pay their share of taxes, withoout burdening us we would not have to listen as they would soon go out of business.
  • I worry that for years the BBC has routinely received objections to Thought for the Day and just as routinely ignored them.

    Sorry, but I'm having a lousy morning!
    Eve, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • That's exactly what has happened, Eve, which is why we need to object "en masse" in January.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • 1092 Radio 4 Listeners object to TFTD.

    How many listeners to TFTD are there? In this democracy, we abide by majority decisions.

    Why should the BBC listen to 1092 objectors if it has 30,000 satisfied listeners who look forward to hearing it, though not all will agree with what is said.
    Jim, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • That's not quite true. 1093 who know about this pledge object to it. There may be many more. And the reasons they should listen are spelt out in the pledge details (and in the comments above).
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It is not a matter of abiding by a majority decision (when did a majority ever vote for TFTD?), it is a matter of sticking to the editorial guidelines, which TFTD does not, in my opinion.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editoria...
    Alan Clark, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thank you very much, Alan Clark, for that link to the BBC's impartiality guidelines. I intend to use them as the basis of my January email.
    John Stretch, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Nearer the time could you please advise on the best addresses to email to? To 'The Today Programme' or 'Thought for the Day'? To the BBC? To 'Feedback'? Who? And who is most likely to bother to read them? 'Thought for the Day' never seems to!

    Also, how about addresses to COPY our efforts to?

    You can't herd cats, but a few tips on points to raise might help. AND PLEASE AN INJUNCTION TO KEEP ALL EMAILS POLITE.

    Good luck, and more strength to your elbow!

    Liz
    Liz M, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Liz. Yes, towards the end of this month I will be e-mailing everyone with a call to action on this issue.

    In this I will:

    - Suggest primary and secondary e-mail addresses to use
    - Outline what I see as the main arguments against TFTD
    - Report on the BBC's stock responses so far
    - Detail how these may be refuted
    - Provide and optional e-mail template
    - Suggest what might be done next if this fails

    Please keep "spreading the word" about this. Many thanks.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Since non-believers in a deity are now in a majority in Britain it is both unfair and incongruous to have a regular religious slot whilst keeping out atheists and non-believers.

    Radio Devon allows Humanists a slot so why not national BBC?
    Hazel Fuller, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • How do you know when to change channel on your Radio?

    When you hear the words "Now it's time for Thought for the Day".
  • I (like hundreds of others, no doubt) turn it straight off when I hear those words, because I've reached my limit of being patronised by these people.

    The trouble is it's easy to forget to ever turn it back on again, so I end up not listening to The Today Programme much at all. This because of TFTD.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The following is a paragraph from my lates letter of complaint to the BBC:
    There is a bigger overall concern in that whenever it comes to religion, or assisted dying, the BBC can be relied on to encourage those points of view that represent the establishment status quo against those shown time and again by surveys that indicate 80% of the public agree that there should be a law permitting assisted dying. As for religion; one could be excused for believing that although more and more people ignore religion the BBC seems to champion the beliefs of the minority. When did they last allow speakers from the Humanist Association or atheists to give their ’thoughts for the day’. Whilst the BBC, along with papers such as the Daily Mail, show intolerance of the views of the majority towards these topics progress towards a break with the archaic and intolerance of the minority will continue.
    Ivan Martin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • 'Thought for the Day', the BBC's version of Peter Pan:

    "If you believe in fairies clap your hands!"

    (And, "If you don't - shut up!")
    Reg Ilminster, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Wouldn't it be fair to say that most atheists have given things a lot more thought than anyone who merely bases their morality on ancient scriptures and interpretations of them, which are clearly full of prejudice and bigotry? Let us hear these wise people's thoughts!
    Rainer Bohlin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It would be a very fitting way to begin the celebration year for Charles Darwin.

    DITCH TFTD !
    Valery Devlin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Additionally, if you want to make you comment to them a 'complaint' whatever that means, you can send it to:

    todaycomplaints@bbc.co.uk

    instead of or as well as the other address. I think the complaints address is a more formal process and should be more likely to get a response.

    Have people also considered contacting the BBC directors and other relevant people?

    Thanks, I hope it makes a difference!
    Prosthetic Head, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Even though more than half of the UK population profess not to believe in any kind of supernatural deity, this kind of thing will continue so long as Britain has a "state" religion.
    Cassandra, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • TFTD has invited an atheist once - that I know of - in response to the same question "Why only religious people, mostly priests, are invited to express their thoughts?". Equal time on alternate days would be a good idea, if the BBC accepts that it's one day for the brights and one day for the supers (whatever their schism - and there are so many of those that they can air a different one on each of their allocated 130 days a year, for a good many years).
    Flavio Zanchi, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I agree entirely, we need something like the US constitutions 1st amendment, saying that we should always try for separation of church and state and and enshrine free speech in law. As it stands we have a state religion with bishops in the second house, a monarch 'appointed by god' who still has theoretical power and free speech is all to easy to put a stop to.
    Prosthetic Head, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It may not matter to many people but the god sqaud have actually got 2 X TFTD. What used to be 'Prayer for the day' is now sometimes indistinguishable (for the early riser R4 devotee) from TFTD.
  • I think it should just be renamed - Superstition of the Day.
    Jim Cameron, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I have resented this for thirty odd years. At last thanks to the internet we atheists are getting together and making our voices heard. Let's hope some-one listens, we've had to listen to them long enough.
    Beth Thomas, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Many people listen to TFTD without thinking too deeply. Perhaps this pledge will help to wake them up and help them to realise that "you don't need god to be good".
    Steve Kenealy, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Physics, Biology, Ethology, Genetics, Palaeontology, Anthropology; how many more nails in the coffin of religion before we can bury the damn thing? I despair...
    Bruno Longy, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • 200 new names yesterday! Where are they all coming from?
    Alan Clark, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • its quite simple - at the introduction of TOTD, I just switch off or tune to another station. TOTD is like an 'ad' break on the tv, a chance to do something else.
    Thus the BBC looses many listeners.
    BBC take note.
    peter d christer, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It's not called religious thought for the day
    Steve Clapman, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Confine religion to churches on Sunday.
    Terry A Jones, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • This is what the voice of reason is up against - it explains quite a lot:

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/directorgen...
    MD, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The BBC did, in 2002, broadcast an alternative TFTD featuring none other than Richard Dawkins: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/report...

    There's also a wikipedia article that has information about why this happened, and some background information about TFTD: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_for...
    George, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Although I am an atheist, I do not feel hostility towards people who believe in a “supernatural” universe, I just believe such views should not be elevated or privileged within the public sphere. I believe religious views should be firmly in the private sphere.
    There should not be an assumption that such views, in the 21st century, should be treated with any credence or respect when they are broadcast by public bodies such as the BBC the same goes for any public funding of religion either to voluntary organisations or to faith schools.
    Richard Tingle, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi everybody. I have now sent out my call to action on this. You are welcome to keep signing up, and you should receive such update e-mails (including previous ones).

    It's time to make good on your pledge. From Jan 1st, tell them how you feel about this. Many thanks for your support!
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I object to the current format of Thought for the Day as it encourages superstition and supernatural beliefs amongst vulnerable people.

    Confident mature-minded people who do not need faith to understand their place in the world listen to this few minutes every day and it reinforces their non-superstitious and therefore non-religious world-view, however, vulnerable and/or young minds may be influenced to believe some of the absurdities regarded as issues of faith by the current set of religious contributors.

    I asked the BBC to completely revise TFTD to include topical "thoughts" on non-faith-based ethical and moral principles and practices; or if they can't bring themselves to do this, to remove it from an otherwise excellent programme.
    Mike Oldfield, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Oh dear. You know when you do something that at the time seems deeply principled and justified but afterwards feels priggish and unyielding? That happens to me all the time. I ostentatiously undertake people who are cruising in the middle lane of the motorway because 'they shouldn't be there if not overtaking' and therefor feel justified in approaching on a blind spot, only later to feel like a tool. I find 'Thought for the Day' infuriating and a little boring. The arguments presented are often fatuous and the attempt to shoe horn a news topic into a religious rant is generally false and mainly serves to demonstrate the commentators ignorance of the subject (there seems to be a lot of C of E bishops about lately with an advanced understanding of economics). Having a secular view on morality would be great.

    But this isn't how these e-mails will come across. As often happens we atheists will come across as swivel eyed loons, who cannot bear others expressing their religious beliefs. At best these mails will be ignored. At worst they will be reported on, to howls of sanctimonious victim-cries from TftD's contributers.

    Please, please, please, if we must send these things, let them be scrupulously polite (especially about religion), and emphasis that we are suggesting that TftD could be broadened out to other listeners like me (and John Humphreys), not simply canceled.
    JD, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Everybody should check out "Pause for Thought for the Day", part of This Morning With Richard Not Judy... It's a hilarious skit of Thought for the Day, and is more profound than the original...
    Zimmy Iredale, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The BBC's exclusively religious TftD slot, implies that only religious people are capable of making moral commentary. What absolute poppycock. This broadcasting slot should have been overhauled decades ago to reflect the largely secular population we thankfully have now.
    Chris French, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Alan Clark, the extra names are probably from people like me that receive emails from the-brights@the-brights.net.
  • Have you guys read "Platitude for the day"?

    http://www.platitudes.org.uk/platblog/in...

    It can be quite funny :)
    Prosthetic Head, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • All citizens contribute towards the costs of running the BBC. Why, then, should one programme ('Thought for the day') deliberately exclude the views of a large percentage of those contributors? This is morally wrong. It's time to let the views of ethical, but non-religious people be heard. And their air-time should be roughly proportional to the percentage of people holding such views.
    PAM MacDonald, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • If you would like to see previous updates sent to signatories by me, then try this link:

    http://www.pledgebank.com/thoughtforthed...

    You need to be logged into Pledgebank. Here you can see my call to action and the e-mail I will be sending. (An observant person has pointed out to me that where I say "under-represent", regarding the BBC's charter, I mean "represent" - I'll be amending this before sending.)
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • This was tried some years ago, and after some considerable pressure & debate the BBC agreed to let Richard Dawkins present an alternative 'thought for the day'. Prof. Dawkins used the slot to attack religion.

    I admire Richard Dawkins greatly, I am an atheist, and I loathe the arrogance of those who claim to speak with the authority of a god. But I do think that Dawkins made a mistake on that occasion.

    I will sign up to this pledge & send an email to the BBC

    KK
    KK, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I wish my wireless was religionless.
    Mark Stockwell, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I've emailed both emails and used the complaints form (I've complained about TFTD via the Today emails before wthout responce).

    Fingers crossed.

    Dan
    Dan Moody, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I think the various religious groups in the UK get more air-space than they deserve. Ideally I would like their role in public debate removed, but I doubt this will happen (for a while at least). Alternatively, I support the drive for an increase in humanist participation in public debate. This would give a better balance and challenge the stupidity, bigotry and misinformation voiced by religious groups.
    Richard Henry Smith, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • and when they,re at it why not replace their usual po-faced presenters,such as that Naughtie with his presby,nauseous and constipated wordiness. yes, i mean ,Naughtie, Am i alone in finding him even more irritating than patronising lionel blue?
    BREN, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I've had an acknowledgement of my email from "Today" but not "Today complaints".
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Half way through the week and only 20% say they have done the pledge, and most of those did it last year!

    Is everyone doing what I am doing, ie waiting till later to avoid the log-jam on day 1? :-)
    Alan Clark, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Sue Blackmore on TFTD:-

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/...
    Alan Clark, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I have increasingly found the moral musings of the religious to conform less and less with my own and those of the people around me. I have come to suspect that they are sometimes less susceptible to new evidence of harm (to some group or individual or thing) and must therefore lag behind those of us who see that the extent of moral concerns expands forever outward.
    Phil Rimmer, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Bren: I happen to find James Naughtie very likeable and professional, but that topic has nothing to do with this pledge.

    Delia: So far the BBC seem to be using their stock response e-mails, which is perhaps understandable given the volume of mail they're now receiving. Let's give them a bit of time to get together a proper response.

    Alan: I guess most people are not using the Pledgebank system any more but they might well still be sending their e-mails. At least 100 have cc'd me.

    Sue's article should help!
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • This is weird! We can't add any more names, but we can still carry on talking to each other. I don't see any way that we could now put green ticks by our names, but if anybody hasn't yet sent in their emails, please do so now.
    John Stretch, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Many agnostics and atheists are very thoughtfull people cocerned deeply about morals, ethics,consumerisim, environment,conflict resolution, history, scientific method, open societies,freedom of thought and speech, value systems, religious freedom, rights of atheists etc, etc and it is most unfortuante to deny them any opportunity in the programmes such as " thoughtfortheday"
    Dr.Shivashankar Nambiar, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I was listening to Today on DAB which has rolling text. It is now requesting that emails on TFTD are sent direct to their religion department - they just don't get the point do they!!
    I had the same problem as John Stretch but find if you log in at this site you can tick the pledge.
    Cheers
    David
    David Lemon, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • John stretch, if you click on "show all signers" at the bottom of the list you will be able to indicate that you have done the pledge.
    Alan Clark, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Do the BBC respond to ANY of our emails?

    Eve
    Eve, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi everyone,

    Just a note to say that although the pledge has closed here, the topic has not closed.

    If you object to TFTD, you can of course e-mail the BBC at any time. I posted my own e-mail and some potential addresses here: http://www.gavinorland.com/religion/thou...

    Regards,

    Gavin
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Something's happening at the Beeb!

    Go to it folks!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ipm/2009/01/t...
  • I just received a reply from Mark Damazer (Controller, Radio 4) however I cannot disclose it here because it says "This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential ...Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way ..."

    I can say, however, that the response did not address the issues I raised in my complaint.

    Their argument for keeping TFTD boiled down to the fact that they think that Radio 4 listeners "regularly engage" with TFTD whether they are "believers" or not. The rest of the reply was just padding and waffle.

    This is an incredibly thin argument.
    George, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Interesting. It's rapidly beginning to look as if the only people who do want TFTD to stay in its current form are Mr Damazer and the DG.

    The question is, should they be entitled to enforce their preference on everyone else, even in the face of very well reasoned arguments which they seem not even to be reading? I think not.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I too have had a reply from Mark Damazer which is identical to the comment published on the Radio 4 blog so it is obviously not confidential.

    The reply is quite pathetic in failure to address the issues and has stimulated an enormous number of comments on the above blog nearly all opposing Mark Damazer's position.

    What now Gavin? We can't let this drop!
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Can I urge everyone here to go to Mark Damazer's response on the BBC web-site and leave a comment.

    Many of the comments there have degenerated into religious bickering do not directly address the relatively pathetic points that Mark Damazer makes.

    The link is:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ipm/2009/01/t...

    It is quick and easy to create a blog account there if you don't already have one.
    George, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • My response to MD:-
    Dear Mark Damazer

    Thank you for your reply regarding balance in TFTD.

    I think you find this a difficult question because you are searching for arguments to defend the indefensible: to find plausible excuses for disregarding the BBC's own guidelines within the TFTD slot.

    You are right that it is is a unique slot. This makes it all the more important that it should embody the principle of balanced broadcasting. You refer to the the balance of religious/non-religious voices elswehere in your programming but this is not being questioned and seems irrelevant..

    You say that the slot is intended to offer "a brief, uninterrupted interlude of spiritual reflection" (it often doesn't succeed in this) but are you suggesting that only religious people are spiritual? Exactly how would including an occasional humanist detectably "broaden the brief" in view of the already bizarrely wide range of faiths represented, and how would it "detract from the distinctiveness of the slot"? Do you know anything about humanism?

    Yes I do realise that you are "broadcasting to the general Radio 4 audience which regularly engages with the comments and ideas expressed by our contributors from the world's major faiths - whether they are believers or not", and I am sure that many of them have no problem with TFTD. But I am writing as a listener who does feel strongly about the matter and who feel that the essence of your reasoning for maintaining the status quo amounts to no more that that some listeners might like TFTD to remain exactly as it is and you agree with them.

    Yours sincerely

    Delia Ives
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi,

    Delia asks "What next?". I think if you have e-mailed, wait a little while, and if not, e-mail. Also comment on that forum as George urges and bring the debate concisely back on topic.

    Mr Damazer is now under a lot of (perfectly reasonable) pressure on this. It just needs to be maintained.

    I have learned that PM are planning a humanist "Thought for the Afternoon" to go out tomorrow. Great, as long as this is not considered by the BBC to be a consolation prize (as the one-off Dawkins slot was) and doesn't detract from the main objectives of this campaign as stated in the pledge details.

    I'm really looking forward to hearing the likes of A.C. Grayling on Today, or having the slot dropped from there...
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Does anybody know if the BBC has impartiality guidelines regarding decisions that involve a vested interests? From looking at Mark Dazamer's wikipedia entry it appears it may be appropriate,
    pluto, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Don't get. What vested interest?
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • This is very , very interesting:-
    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/8302
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I have just followed the above link, and listened to Jonathan Bartley's interview with the Today programme from April 2007. At the end of the interview, John Humphrys is clearly heard suggesting that perhaps they should ask the audience if they want a secular TTFD as well as a religious one!

    The IPM blog has had nearly 400 posts and I would say the majority of posters, including believers and non-believers are in support of accepting non-religious contributors.

    Although the BBC response to this campaign has been extremely disappointing so far, we cannot give up now!
    Jan Flick, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Hi Delia,

    According to someone who edited wikipedia two years back Mark is Jewish. Judaism gets a huge amount of exposure from TftD, particularly when it is put into the context that their worshipers account for under 0.3% of the world population, which isn't even the population of Holland. Any change whether taking it off the air or adding secular viewers would almost certainly detriment Jewish airtime.

    Of course, I am certain that Mark would be very professional and objective in his work as you would expect of anybody in his position. Having said that he should still follow any guidelines that there may be.. if there are any...
    pluto, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Oh thanks pluto. I understand. O f course we don't know if he is practising.
    There certainly are guidelines and as far a I can see TftD breaks them. I will try and find the link and post it here.
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Great work, people, if I may say so. There is something that needs unearthing here. It's outrageous that we should so obviously occupy the reasonable position (with even Christians in agreement too) yet simply be ignored.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget....

    A little more illumination.

    I try and work out the best way to quanitfy and illustrate lack of balance in TFTD.
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget....

    A little more illumination.

    Does anyone know where I can find a breakdown of numbers of TftDs by religion for the past 12 months or so?
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Delia - Clive Tooth aka thelastdanishpastry might be the man to work this out. he produced wonderful statistics on the justgiving/atheistbus donations.
    John Stretch, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The Mark Damazer response is completely unacceptable.
    Firstly he trots out the obvious canard that religious content is some kind of balance to secular content. The suggestion is the neutrality of the other content of the Today programme is balanced by a bias towards the religious.
    It is a very strong religious conviction that anything that isn't directly inspired by religion must therefore be against it. That certainly doesn't tally with general opinion in the UK today. He makes the ridiculous point that other contributors are not religious without recognising that some of the other contributors ARE religious. We would surely expect the religious to non-religous to be reasonably balanced. Secularism is balance NOT the absence of religion and only the religiously biased would hope to frame it as anything else.
    He proposes to take balance and create balance by providing imbalance. The man is a fool.
    Secondly he submits the chestnut that the religious content is also balanced in other output. Anyone who has bothered to read the BBC editorial guidelines on Impartiality and Diversity and I would expect the controller of Radio 4 to do so, would know that the BBC itself in its guidelines specifically excludes the defence of balance in other areas of the output.
    The man is a careless fool.
    Daniel Allen, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • But we can't sack him. It's a job for life.
    John Stretch, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • On the subject of statistics, more people said they were Jedis in the last census than Jews, Bhuddists, or Sikhs. Maybe they will therefore be allowed to speak on TFTD?

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget....
    Henry, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • An article by Hermione Eyre in today's "Independent":
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/com...
    John Stretch, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/com...

    The pressure continues.
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The iPM blog seems to have lost the link to the discussion.. here it is if anyone lost it.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ipm/2009/01/t...
    pluto, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • We have two mentions on the politics.co.uk website. Also one on The Guardian site.

    http://www.gavinorland.com/religion/more...
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thanks pluto, I wondered what had happened to it.
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The BBC is spending £10m a year on religous propaganda:

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/105572.html
  • When religious programming is limited to "songs of praise" I have no objection. The truth is I've not seen any to comment.

    However, researching the subject I have just been watching some of the religious programming on satellite. I was appalled to find childrens programming on "Genesis" which included the following:

    1) Kids have been encouraged to say what prayer to god has done to them... healing wounds, making them no longer 'allergic' to tomatoes and cherries...??

    2) Children were told bad things happen in life because otherwise "people go floppy like trees that aren't in the wind".

    3) A Parent was telling his son how before religion he was an immoral, greedy man who used to drink. No examples of moral, selfless non-believers there.

    4) Describing non-believers as "me-wants monster" and believers as "god-wants warrior". Yay that's just what we want more extremists willing to do god's will as a warrior.

    This was childrens' programming! GAHH!

    I do hope BBC coverage isn't similar to this. On balance if better quality BBC broadcasting cuts out some of the market for these channels that may justify their existence. However, that budget should include programming of other groups such as secular views without an agenda constrained by a religious boss.
    pluto, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • In case anyone hasn't yet found them here are the pertinent BBC guidelines regarding editorial impartiality:-

    "Impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC's commitment to its audiences. It applies across all of our services and output, whatever the format, from radio news bulletins via our web sites to our commercial magazines and includes a commitment to reflecting a diversity of opinion.

    In practice, our commitment to impartiality means:

    • we strive to reflect a wide range of opinion and explore a range and conflict of views so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under represented.
    • we must ensure we avoid bias or an imbalance of views on controversial subjects.

    Impartiality in series

    Programmes dealing with widely disparate issues from one programme to the next but also clearly linked as a strand with a common title. These should normally achieve impartiality within individual programmes, or across two or three editorially linked programmes, rather than across the strand as a whole.

    We can not achieve impartiality in this context by ensuring other views will be heard on other services".
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Reply at last from Mr Damazer. Exactly the same as his website statement of 7th January, apart from the following words at the end of his penultimate paragraph:
    "and the harm done in the name of religion is explored."
    I've replied expressing my dissatisfaction at the inadequacy of his response.
    John Stretch, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It is very distressing to get from Mr Damazer a regurgitation of his previous statement without any comment on the many valid points made by so many listeners.

    Combine this with the refusal of the BBC to reconsider its initial reaction to the Gaza appeal and one begins to feel that there is a certain arrogance within the Corporation.

    Contemptuous may be more apposite.

    Lawrie Scott
    Lawrie Scott, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Gavin has emailed everyone a summary of the fallout from his pledge. It had a great impact and just shows what can be done if everyone does just a little bit.

    I'm disappointed then that he appears to be giving up. He writes "...by the way we have been ignored, that I just don’t feel like it any more."

    Has Gavin been leaned on by the same people who are leaning on Mark Damazer?

    While complaining to the BBC Trust is a good thing to do I can't imagine that it is going to have any effect.

    Anyone want to help me start up a "Secular Thought for the Day" website?

    Any other ideas for action?
    George, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Ok, I've started a pledge to create a Secular Thought for the Day website.

    Please give me your support: http://www.pledgebank.com/SecularTFTD I need at least 30 people to get it started.
    George, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • As Mr.Damazar suggested, I complained to the BBC trust. Here is their reply, which avoids answering my complaint in the same way that Mr.Damazar did.
    -----------------------------------
    Thanks for your e-mail regarding 'Thought for the Day'.

    We appreciate that you unhappy that the programme does not include non-religious thinkers. We also note that you've read Mark Damazer's online explanation but still feel that it contravenes our policy on impartiality.

    It's always good to receive correspondence from listeners, and to be challenged by it. 'Thought for the Day' is set within the 'Today' programme, and has the remit of commenting from a religious perspective on a current news issue. It follows therefore that it is supposed to say something of substance, and that its contributors - speaking from a variety of distinctive faith positions - can stimulate, challenge, provoke, irritate, and sometimes comfort.

    There are 360 Thoughts a year, and 30 or more contributors, from many faiths and many denominations - and a balance of view is maintained over a period rather than within every script.

    However, we do acknowledge your concerns and we'd like to assure you that we've registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

    The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

    Finally, I've attached an invitation from the Head of Audience Services asking you to participate in our survey. We would welcome your views on the service you have received.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

    Regards

    Jonathan Carberry
    BBC Complaints
  • I'm not giving up, just opening this to the floor for other organisers too. Also I certainly wasn't leaned on. Ignored more like, just like everybody else!

    Aside from contacting the Trust, another thing people might be able to do has been suggested by David Solomon. He says:

    "What about an email to all the present speakers on this slot asking them to
    support the inclusion of secular spakers as well as religious speakers, or alternatively, changing its name to "Religious Thought for Today"? My guess
    is that many of them are fair-minded people who would be supportive."

    If you can find them, you could write to them protesting.
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Alan Clarks's reply from BBC Complaints is appallingly bad in its failure to address the issue. It says: "- and a balance of view is maintained over a period rather than within every script." Yet we are not asking for balance within a 5 minute script - just for a few atheist TftDs out of the 360 per year that are solely from a religious viewpoint.

    Incidentally, on its webpage, the Religious and Ethics Department classifies atheism as a "religion" which further weakens their position.
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • My email to BBC Complaints is a bit too long to post here. You can read it at:-

    http://quedula.blogspot.com/2009/01/bbc-...
    Delia Ives, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • For those still watching this, yesterday the BBC aired a version of the one show, which basically patronised atheists as being "too embarrassed to talk about God" and "not willing to make a commitment". I refute it utterly - the implication that we are not religious because of fear of commitment is extremely and deeply insulting.
    DannyS, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Does anyone know what the policy is on Wake Up To Wogan's 'Pause For Thought' spot, I assume it's the same as TFTD. Maybe this should be the next target?
    George Shilling, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Having come so far with this campaign, it is imperative that everyone who complained about TFTD is encouraged to persist with the process and see it through the BBC Trust. Complaints to the BBC Trust must be made within 4 weeks of Mark Damazer's last email response. They must also be substantive and specific.

    If we all get palmed off by the BBC Trust in the same way that we were by Mark Damazer then we will have ever stronger grounds for complaint.

    If we just give up and go away then we are allowing the BBC to continue discriminating against secular speakers in their choice of TFTD contributors.

    The article by Michael Brooks in this week's New Scientist, called "Natural Born Believers", argues that humans are primed for supernatural thinking and that disbelief is therefore hard to achieve. Those that have made this leap must surely have useful insights into our daily affairs, that belong on TFTD!
    Peter Archibald, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I just came across an interesting blog along the same sort of lines at platitudes. It's very good, see this post in particular.

    http://afterthoughts.crowth.net/theyre-r...
    Statz, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Something of a cheek for Mark Damazer to be launching this blog while having ignored all arguments re. TFTD..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/
    Gavin, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The contributions have been streaming in, and now we're ready to launch the Secular Thought for the Day website. It is ready and waiting at http://www.secularthought.org

    The first "thought" will be posted at about 08:00 on Wednesday February 18th. I haven't decided yet which submission will be first, but every one I've received so far has been excellent, and every one of them deserves to be the first post.

    So, between now and Wednesday please let as many people as you can know about this site. Blog about it, talk about it, write to your local paper about it. Spread the word. And of course remind people of the purpose behind it: to demonstrate to the BBC that a Secular Thought for the Day is just as valid, if not more so, than the faith-oriented intermissions on Radio 4's Today programme.

    And if you haven't signed up to do your bit for this site then there is still time. The pledge is at http://www.pledgebank.org/SecularTFTD
    George James, 8 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • As much as i agree with the intention of this pledge, i am shocked with some of the comments i have read above. Such as Richard Handley who seems not to recognise that sanity might inculde those who do not share entirely his views. Anyhow, good work on the whole
    Ben McManus, 7 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
This pledge is closed for new comments.

Current signatories (Green text = they've done it)

Gavin, the Pledge Creator, joined by:

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