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John Humphrys calls out Thought for the Day for discriminating against the non-religious

Richard Cooke / BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place / CC BY-SA 2.0. Source:

Humanists UK has responded to comments today by former BBC Radio 4 Today host John Humphrys that Thought for the Day is discriminatory against the non-religious.

In an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the veteran BBC journalist said: ‘It’s not sold to us as religious Thought For The Day,’ he said.  Humphrys complained about secular voices being excluded, adding: ‘I could not do it… It’s discriminatory…’.

‘I feel quite strongly about certain things and I would love to express my opinion about certain things but I’m not allowed to,’ he said.

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson responded:

‘John Humphrys rightly illustrates the blatant discrimination that exists when he, as an atheist, is rejected from contributing his views on Thought for the Day but Piers Morgan, who is a Catholic, is allowed – just because of his faith.

‘Thought for the Day is the epitome of unfair religious privilege in this country, giving religious voices a huge vantage to share their views on one of the biggest political programmes while the non-religious, who make up 52% of our population, are continually silenced.

‘The non-religious have equally rich contributions to make on discussions of morals, ethics, and how to live well. The BBC must reconsider its position and ensure that its programming is fair and equally inclusive to all voices.’


For more information, contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078.

Humanists UK has led a 16-year campaign on TfTD and has repeatedly called for the programme to include secular, humanist and non-religious voices in its broadcast.

Last year, Humanists UK patrons including Sandi Toksvig, Alice Roberts, and other high-profile humanists signed an open letter calling for TfTD to include humanists on the programme.

Read more about Humanists UK’s campaign on broadcasting.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefiting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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