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Saturday, 10 October 2009

More thoughts on “Thought for the Day”

We reported on Thursday on the debate in London about whether the BBC’s “Thought for the Day” ought to be open to nonreligious speakers. Over on our Gaytheist discussion group (see sidebar – join up), John Hunt told us he’d managed to get along. Here’s what he said:

The chain of circumstances unleashed by reports six months ago of my debaptism last year led in June to my unpremeditated ordination as a minister of the First Church of Atheism. As such I have acted (unofficially) in recent weeks as an atheist chaplain at my local hospital.

This evening [Thursday] I attended a debate on whether humanists should be allowed equal rights on “Thought for the Day”, with panellists Andrew Copson from the British Humanist Association, Ariane Sherine of the Atheist Bus Campaign, “inclusive” cleric Giles Fraser from Putney, and the very same Bishop of Croydon who declined to meet me in March.

During the discussion I explained my (non-physical but spiritual?) relationship with Bishop Baines, and my works as a hospital chaplain. Afterwards I was buttonholed by a couple of members of the audience: allowing Nick Baines to do a runner.

Moved by the experience of this evening’s debate, I shall enquire whether the BBC “Thought for the Day” management team are prepared to include a minister from the Free Church of Atheism amongst their speakers.

And we hope John will share the results of that enquiry with us.

Meanwhile, over on Nuts and Reasons (which we include on our sidebar), we see that an appeal on the matter will be held on 5 November (will there be fireworks?).

“I feel we are approaching a watershed moment in this long-running dispute,” writes blog owner Quedula.

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