BBC resists atheist Thought for the Day

Atheists will not be allowed to muscle in on Radio 4’s three-minute religious slot Thought for the Day, BBC bosses have ruled.

The segment, broadcast as part of the Today Programme, allows “reflections from a faith perspective on issues and people in the news”.

In recent years atheists have complained that they are excluded from the religious slot.


But others have said that allowing atheists on a religious programme would be like allowing hockey on a football show.

Now the BBC’s head of religion, who is a Muslim, says the slot will remain faith-based and largely Christian.

Aaqil Ahmed told the Sunday Telegraph: “People have complained, as they have the right to, and I have taken a view that at this moment in time as far as I’m concerned we stay as we do.”


He added: “The state religion is still Christianity and the vast majority of people in this country come from a Christian background.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that in percentage terms you are probably going to have more Christians than you’re going to have Jews or Hindus. I think that makes a lot of sense.”

Mr Ahmed’s comments come ahead of a conference on religion in Britain, which will be hosted by the BBC later this week.

Last November it was confirmed that Songs of Praise would remain a Christian programme and would not become multi-faith.


Earlier in the year a Sikh executive at the corporation had suggested Songs of Praise may “explore” the inclusion of other faiths in the future.

But Mr Ahmed, speaking at the Church and Media Forum last October, gave his assurances that Songs of Praise would remain the BBC’s flagship Christian programme.

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