John Humphrys hits out at ‘pointless and discriminatory’ Thought For The Day
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John Humphrys hits out at ‘pointless and discriminatory’ Thought For The Day

Former host of The Today Programme criticises segment of the show featuring 'reflections from a faith perspective', including from Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Lord Sacks

John Humphrys with former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks
John Humphrys with former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks

Ex-Today programme host John Humphrys has criticised the show’s “pointless” and “discriminatory” Thought For The Day.

The slot on the Radio 4 programme provides “reflections from a faith perspective” on topics making the news.

It has regularly featured Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner.

Humphrys, 76, who presented Today for 32 years before quitting last month, said that the item was “rather pointless”.

“It’s not sold to us as religious Thought For The Day,” he told Good Morning Britain.

Complaining that secular voices were excluded, he said: “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 told the ITV show.

Last year, the non-religion charity Humanists UK penned an open letter to the BBC calling for non-religious voices to be included.

The letter, whose signatories included Great British Bake Off co-host Sandi Toksvig, comedian Ed Byrne and presenter and anthropologist Alice Roberts, said the slot “is out-of-touch with modern-day British audiences”.

Humphrys has previously voiced his displeasure at the daily broadcast.

“It seems to me inappropriate that Today should broadcast nearly three minutes of uninterrupted religion, given that rather more than half our population have no religion at all,” he told Radio Times magazine.

“Certainly very few of them are practising Christians … we have Hindus of course, and we have the occasional Muslim, the occasional Jew, but by and large it’s Christian. Why?”

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