Opinion: Anti-Hate Bill Will Promote, Not Prevent, Hatred

June 10, 2005

Source: The Guardian


On June 10, 2005 The Guardian ran an opinion piece by Polly Toynbee on the re-introduced religious hatred bill in the U.K. legislature. Toynbee writes, "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."