Praise of songs

Having neither the expertise nor the desire to comment on the rights and wrongs of the BBC’s religious programming, I have to say I feel nothing but sorrow and pity for Caroline Lynch writing on behalf of the Scottish Secular Society (Letters, 31 January).

To describe the joy and happiness of “people singing hymns on Songs of Praise” as “turgid dreariness” indicates to me a very sad individual indeed.

Furthermore, to describe individual everyday people discussing their faith as “launching into self-important monologues” is, I believe, patronising and deeply offensive. I do hope these are not the generally held views of secularists.

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Finally, for a member of the Scottish Secular Society, Caroline Lynch would appear to devote a lot of her time to watching and listening to religious broadcasts. Keep it up Caroline, you may learn something yet.

David M Steel

Springfield Terrace

South Queensferry

Caroline Lynch writes that Songs of Praise is “turgid and dreary”. Certainly there should also be programming which subjects religion to analysis as Ms Lynch rightly asks, but religious believers are a substantial licence-fee paying minority and are entitled to have their interests met and celebrated in a positive way.

Thought for the Day might be better named Religious Thought for the Day so as not to irk the non-religious who are equally interested in thinking, but true secularism makes no judgment of religious belief in itself.

We should focus instead on religious privilege in shared public spaces like schools and government where, unlike for Songs of Praise, there is no off button.

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society

Saughtonhall Drive


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