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The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006

Comment 6th July 2010

Repeal it. Racial hatred and discrimination is covered by pre-existing acts.

Section 29B:

  • (1) A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.

i) Most religious texts contain injunctions against others that can be said to stir up hatred.

ii) It is reasonable to hate things that are wrong or harmful to others. There is no reason why religions should be exempt from such feelings – much as atheism is likewise something that it would be legitimate to hate given the bloodthirsty consequences of Stalin and Mao.

iii) 'Hatred' seems to be so vague it  is often confused with 'offense' which, frankly, is pretty permanent condition for some religious and non-religious people.

iv) This law has a detrimental effect on the critical study of religion and the public engagement with such work.

Why does this matter?

This is a hopeless piece of legislation and one that impedes civil liberaties. The right to dissent is crucial in the UK. This law functionally denies it in the area of religion.

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