Humanists UK launches new season of podcast with Sandi Toksvig calling for Church of England bishops to be removed from the House of Lords over continued opposition to same-sex marriage

Graham Robson September 27, 2023

Humanists UK has announced the sixth season of its podcast, What I Believe, will launch Thursday, September 28 with eight new thought provoking guests including Sandi Toksvig, who discusses her public call earlier this year for Church of England bishops to be removed from the House of Lords over its continued opposition to same-sex marriage.

What I Believe asks humanists in the public eye what they believe, shining a light on their diverse worldviews and the values, convictions, and opinions they live by. It is presented by Humanists UK Chief Executive, Andrew Copson, and has now been downloaded over a quarter of a million times in more than 100 countries.

Sandi Toksvig, a beloved figure known for her wit and wisdom, kicks off the season with a candid conversation about her ‘strange upbringing’ (including attending a convent in Copenhagen), co-founding the Women’s Equality Party, and her dedication to promoting human rights, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community.

“I will not agree that in a democracy, you then get to vote my life out of the picture.”

Speaking on the What I Believe podcast, Sandi said: “I was very upset. The Archbishop of Canterbury returned from a Synod with all of the bishops and the main takeaway seemed to be to reaffirm the position of LGBTQ+ people as not fully equal members of the Church of England family. So here’s the thing: he’s entitled to believe that, he’s entitled to say it, he’s entitled to put forward that view.

“Where I feel enraged is that he’s also entitled, along with 25 other Church of England bishops, to sit in the House of Lords and pass laws. When same-sex marriage was voted upon, nine bishops turned up and they all voted against. That’s not okay. So, of course, I will defend to the death your right to say things that I don’t agree with. But I will not agree that in a democracy, you then get to vote my life out of the picture.”

Sandi also touches on an earlier experience in her life when she was dropped from hosting a Save the Children event in 1994 (for which the charity later apologised), the year she came out: “I remember in 1994, I was due to host a big event for the Save the Children Fund. I’d done lots of stuff for them before and been an ambassador for them before and I came out in 1994. And they dropped me as an ambassador. There was a sort of sense of ‘let’s save the children, but not all of them.’ And it’s that notion in particular in evangelical religion: that it’s a pick and mix. We can have some people who will be okay and some people who will not.”

Listeners are encouraged to tune in and ‘follow’ the podcast. What I Believe is available on all major podcast platforms, and new episodes will be released every Thursday weekly.

LGBT Humanists Chair Nick Baldwin said:Sandi has been such an inspiring campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights in recent years and has spoken about how her values of equality, dignity, and fairness come from her humanist approach to life. I can’t wait to hear her talk about those on the podcast.”