BBC’s Evan Davis calls for secular Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day, the three-minute religious slot on the BBC’s Today programme, should include non-religious speakers, Today co-presenter Evan Davis has said.

Mr Davis, who is an atheist, claims there is a “very serious debate” about whether “‘serious and spiritually minded secularists'” should be introduced into the segment.

But critics point out that the slot is only a short segment in a three-hour programme.


Mr Davis says: “I don’t think ‘Thought for the Day’ has to only be people of the cloth.”

A decade ago he claimed the segment was “discriminating against the non-religious”.

But in an editorial, The Daily Telegraph commented that Thought for the Day takes up “three minutes of a three-hour programme otherwise dominated by politicians offering their views, spiritually minded or otherwise”.

And Telegraph blogger Guy Stagg noted that Thought for the Day is only “a few minutes of God in the middle of the morning”.

No sense

A religious slot has been part of the Today programme for all of its 55 years.

The segment has come under pressure in the past to feature secular and humanist speakers, but in 2009 the BBC Trust rejected such a move.

At the time Revd Giles Fraser said allowing non-religious speakers to muscle in on the slot “would be like allowing hockey on Match of the Day, which does not make any sense”.


And a Church of England spokesman said at the time: “Thought for the Day is highly valued by people of all faiths and none as a distinctive slot that, if diluted, would have become nothing more than just another comment slot.”

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