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E-mail to the Times (London), June 11, 2005

This e-mail was also sent to The Guardian and the Bristol Evening Post.

The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill

Dear Sir,

Now that we have a law against stirring up religious hatred I am wondering if I can now start legal proceedings against the Archbishop of Canterbury for inciting his fellow Christians to murder me.

I am not a member of a widely-held religion. I am not a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew. According to the definition in the dictionary I am also an "unenlightened person". This all adds up to me being a "heathen".

As the Christian priests are adamant that their "holy" book is the word and wish of their God, the creator of the universe no less, the following passage in the Bible makes it very clear what believers in Christianity must do to heathens like me:

"I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." (Psalm 2; 8-9)

I would much rather follow the English philosopher Thomas Paine:

"My country is the world and my religion is to do good."

Michael Roll

Related material on this site:

Shelling Mosques - E-mail to The Times (November 18, 2004)

Church and State - Michael Roll's letter to Melody Mehta (January 9, 2002)

Linking survival after death with subatomic physics - Letter from Michael Roll to Ray Taylor, Editor of Psychic World (December 1, 2001)

This letter was written in response to Prof. David Fontana's letter in the December 2001 issue of Psychic World.

Prof. Abdus Salam - Letter from Michael Roll to Ian Hislop (November 20, 2001)

Religious Hatred - Letter from Michael Roll to Hugh Thomas (September 10, 2001)

The Suppression of Knowledge - A pamphlet by Michael Roll

"There is no greater crime in the cosmos than to deliberately indoctrinate young trusting minds with false teachings for selfish ends. From this one heinous crime stems all crime. The perpetrators of this evil deed will pay a terrible price in mental remorse when they pass from this world."

The Most Valuable Englishman Ever - Michael Roll's article about Thomas Paine (1736-1809)
This outstanding tribute to Thomas Paine - "The Most Valuable Englishman Ever" - is taken from Arthur Findlay's suppressed history of humanity, "The Curse of Ignorance".

Related material on other sites:

My right to offend a fool - Polly Toynbee (June 10, 2005)

Race and religion are different - which is why Islamophobia is a nonsense and religious hatred must not be outlawed


This bill is not "closing a loophole" as Labour claims, but marches right into dangerous new terrain. Here is an example: it is now illegal to describe an ethnic group as feeble-minded. But under this law I couldn't call Christian believers similarly intellectually challenged without risk of prosecution. This crystallises the difference between racial and religious abuse. Race is something people cannot choose and it defines nothing about them as people. But beliefs are what people choose to identify with: in the rough and tumble of argument to call people stupid for their beliefs is legitimate (if perhaps unwise), but to brand them stupid on account of their race is a mortal insult. The two cannot be blurred into one - which is why the word Islamophobia is a nonsense. And now the Vatican wants the UN to include Christianophobia in its monitoring of discriminations.

Already this proposed law has cast a long shadow. Christians expect it to stop something like Jerry Springer - The Opera ever being screened. Sikhs who drove the play Behzti off the stage expect this law to prevent any future insult to their faith. When a Telegraph writer accused the Prophet of paedophilia for marrying a nine-year-old girl, Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim Council said this was the kind of insult against their faith that made Muslims want "safeguards against vilification of dearly cherished beliefs".


Heaven help us - Richard Ingrams (June 12, 2005)

The debate about the government's Racial and Religious Hatred Bill ignores the fact that most of the religious hatred is engendered by the religions themselves. The fiercest attacks on Jews have been made in the past by Christians and, nowadays, the Muslims are the worst offenders in this field. Can we therefore legislate by seeking to protect those who are themselves guilty of the worst kind of hatred and prejudice?

In the meantime, the media are continuing to stress the alarm felt about the bill by those great arbiters of contemporary taste, Stephen Fry and Rowan Atkinson. They are said to be worried that if the bill becomes law, they will be prevented from making jokes about religion.

They may have a point, but it would be more honest if they made it clear that when they talk about religion they are talking specifically about Christianity. Mr Atkinson, who famously played an incompetent priest burbling about the 'holy goat' in that overpraised film, Four Weddings and a Funeral, would never dream of guying a rabbi or a mullah in similar vein. Can one imagine the Monty Python crew making a Life of Brian-style film about Mohammed? Or a Father Ted series about a household of senile rabbis?

The Skeptic's Annotated Bible -

"For nearly two billion people, the Bible is a holy book containing the revealed word of God. It is the source of their religious beliefs. Yet few of those who believe in the Bible have actually read it.

This must seem strange to those who have never read the Bible. But anyone who has struggled through its repetitious and tiresome trivia, seemingly endless genealogies, pointless stories and laws, knows that the Bible is not an easy book to read. So it is not surprising that those that begin reading at Genesis seldom make it through Leviticus. And the few Bible-believers that survive to the bitter end of Revelation must continually face a disturbing dilemma: their faith tells them they should read the Bible, but by reading the Bible they endanger their faith.


The most popular solution to this problem is to leave the Bible reading to the clergy. The clergy then quote from the Bible in their writings and sermons, and explain its meaning to the others. Extreme care is taken, of course, to quote from the parts of the Bible that display the best side of God and to ignore those that don't. That this approach means that only a fraction of the Bible is ever referenced is not a great problem. Because although the Bible is not a very good book, it is a very long one.


The Skeptic's Annotated Bible attempts to remedy this imbalance. It includes the entire text of the King James Version of the Bible, but without the pro-Bible propaganda. Instead, passages are highlighted that are an embarrassment to the Bible-believer, and the parts of the Bible that are never read in any Church, Bible study group, or Sunday School class are emphasized. For it is these passages that test the claims of the Bible-believer. The contradictions and false prophesies show that the Bible is not inerrant; the cruelties, injustices, and insults to women, that it is neither good nor just."