Advertisement

We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

BBC presenter Stephen Nolan James Cridland via Flickr
Stephen from dungannon

LISTEN: BBC presenter 'made a mistake' by revealing he's an atheist on air

One caller was none too pleased.

BBC RADIO ULSTER presenter Stephen Nolan says he shouldn’t have revealed his own atheism during an interview with a missionary earlier this year.

He was leading a debate this morning about whether prayers should be held at a local council meeting in Northern Ireland, when a caller confronted him over previous statements.

“As a presenter, you’re meant to be neutral,” said Stephen from Dungannon.

“On Easter Monday, you played a very good interview with Maud Kells, and you said to Maud, ‘That’s where you and I differ, I don’t believe in God.’”

“That jeopardises your ability to chair this neutrally. I say the BBC is biased,” he added, citing frequent coverage of “gay issues” as an example.
https://audioboom.com/boos/3131999-unholy-row-dispute-over-council-prayers-bbcnolan#t=13m52s

In the interview on 6 April, Nolan was full of praise for the 75-year-old Co Tyrone missionary who had been shot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

SN: I think you’re amazing.

MK: Well, an amazing God, my trust is in him.

SN: Well, you know what, and no offence, but I don’t believe in God, and that’s where we differ. But I think you’re amazing, because you’re devoting your life to other people.

Nolan defended himself, at first:

It’s not as if broadcasters don’t have personal positions and beliefs, it’s whether we park them at the door when we come into our job.
The test for me is not whether I believe in God or not, the test for me is am I being impartial when I’m doing my job.

Stephen from Dungannon remained unimpressed, though:

When all these issues come up around moral issues, religious issues, I just think it has jeopardised your position.

Before finally, the presenter accepted some fault:

It was a mistake. I was trying to be honest, I was trying to have a discussion about God…and I shouldn’t have done that.

Read: What is it like to be an atheist in Ireland?>

Column: Ireland needs to become a fully secular state>

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
79
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.