Pope should be challenged, not given uncontested slot on Thought for the Day

The National Secular Society today responded to reports that the BBC have invited to the Pope to take part in Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.

NSS President Terry Sanderson said: “The Pope will have a three minute slot to lecture us about morality, but no-one will be able to challenge anything he says. Why won’t he be invited to take the 8.10 interview slot on the Today programme with John Humphrys – and let’s have a bit of finger-wagging the other way.

“Perhaps the BBC could ask listeners to send in the questions they’d like the Pope to answer – about the Vatican’s shameful cover up of child abuse by its priests and its cruel ban on condoms in the fight against AIDS, for instance. There are a lot of questions to be answered, but all we’re going to get from the BBC is propaganda.

“The Pope’s views on abortion are only shared by a quarter of British Catholics, and a seventh of the population at large. (see YouGov survey for Catholics for Choice). His views on homosexuality and especially contraception are even more out of step. A significant proportion of the population believe that many of his views, in which dogma always triumphs over compassion, to be at best irrelevant. Sometimes they are inhumane, for example obstructing abortions for women raped by enemy soldiers.”