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Humanist ‘Thought for the Afternoon’ on Radio 4

Atheist Bus Campaign creator Ariane Sherine will be giving the first humanist ‘Thought for the Afternoon’ – on Radio 4’s iPM programme tomorrow (10/01/09).

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has long campaigned for the inclusion of non-religious contributors in the ‘Thought for the Day’ slot in Radio 4’s Today programme. In December that campaign received a boost when BHA member Gavin Orland set up a Pledgebank page where people could pledge to email the BBC and urge them to open up the Thought for the Day slot to humanist contributors. Gavin’s target was for 100 people to sign up but 1,660 people actually did so, all of whom have been emailing the BBC this week to press for change.

The amazing public support for the Atheist Bus Campaign, which also launched this week, has demonstrated how strong the support is for positive humanist messages to be presented, and the broadcast of this ‘Thought for the Afternoon’ has been welcomed by the BHA.

Andrew Copson, BHA Director of Public Affairs said, ‘Reflective thoughts on the events of the day do not come only from people with “a faith” so it is wrong for the BBC – which has obligations to its many humanist listeners just as to its religious ones – to exclude non-religious contributors from ‘Thought for the Day’. The slot could only be enhanced by the inclusion of perspectives from the rich tradition of humanist thought and reflection.’

Gavin Orland, who created the Pledgebank campaign to open up ‘Thought for the Day’ said, ‘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. It’s great that there will be a non-religious thought allowed on iPM: let it be an example to the Today programme.’

Ariane Sherine, Atheist Bus Campaign creator, who will be giving today’s ‘Thought’ said, ‘I’m really pleased and excited to be asked to give the first humanist “Thought for the Afternoon”. I hope this is just the first of many from different humanist speakers, and that the Today programme will let humanists on very soon.’


For more information contact Andrew Copson on

020 7079 3584

07534 248596

More about the BHA’s campaigning on ‘Thought for the Day’

Gavin Orland’s Pledgebank page

Atheist Bus Campaign website


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