BBC Radio Ulster slot normally reserved for religious reflection to be given over to humanist commentator this week

Tomorrow (Wednesday) the daily Thought for the Day on Radio Ulster will be delivered by a humanist, in what is claimed to be an NI first.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 1:49 pm
Janni Knox, a humanist celebrant
Janni Knox, a humanist celebrant

Janni Knox, a celebrant at humanist weddings and funerals, will speak about the Balmoral Show.

Her contribution can be heard around 06:50 and again on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle at 07:50, during Good Morning Ulster and The Breakfast Show.

The Northern Irish branch of the group Humanists UK saus “it marks the start of a series of Northern Ireland Humanists contributions going out throughout September, October, and November”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In a statement the organisation said: “There has only ever previously been one non-religious contribution to Thought for the Day in Northern Ireland [in 2016].

“Humanists have long pressed for the right to regularly share their views on Thought for the Day on BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Four, and elsewhere.

“In 2018, 33 high profile humanists wrote an open letter to the BBC calling for humanist voices to be included on the programme on BBC Radio Four.

“In a nutshell, humanists are those who put human beings and other living things at the centre of their moral outlook.

“They see the world as a natural place and look to science and reason to make sense of it.

“And they promote and support human flourishing across all frontiers, championing human rights for everyone.

“The most recent Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey found a record number of the population now belong to no religion, at 27%, up from 12% a decade ago.

“It is thought that around half of them share the humanist outlook on life, and this is reflected in the surging popularity of humanist ceremonies since humanist marriages gained legal recognition in Northern Ireland in 2018.”

Ms Knox said: “I’m delighted and proud to be the first Northern Ireland Humanists voice on the BBC’s Thought for the Day in Northern Ireland.

“Humanists are people who shape their own lives in the here and now, because it’s the only life we know of.

“That outlook on life does not mean that our lives are devoid of meaning. That’s why I am a full-time celebrant.

“As humanists we have thousands of years of moral and ethical thinking to draw upon to shape our reflections on the issues of our day.”

More from this reporter:

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Ben Lowry

Acting Editor