Pubdate: Mon, 04 Oct 1999
Date: 10/04/1999
Source: Daily Mail (UK)
Author: Natalie Tatherton

I CAN only see it as beneficial that judges are being kept well
informed of the diversity of our country and its people.  This is
especially relevant when it will mean avoiding a criminal sentence for
someone who is only defined as a criminal for smoking such a
controversial substance as cannabis.

It wasn't so long ago that one of our judges claimed he had never
heard of the band Oasis.  Would this judge have been able to pass a
fair sentence on something that, in these modern times, is widely
accepted as a common practice, let alone a religious one?

I didn't see one quote from a practicing Rastafarian, let alone from a
religious leader.  In fact, your entire article seems to be based
around the opinions of white laymen.

You dedicate a mere four sentences to the synopsis of the Rastafarian
religion.  Most of it is hardly what I would term positive,
particularly the last point relating to their belief that the highest
role of a woman is that of wife and mother (pretty much the same as
what the Bible says.)

So what if they believe God is black? Christians believe God is white.
Buddhists believe he is oriental. This particular comment is
completely irrelevant, except to racists, perhaps.

I'm sure if you asked a Rastafarian to sum up his pr her religion in
four sentences, they would not choose to relate any of the points that
you have made.

The quote from Professor David Marsland is absurd.  You can't compare
the Aztec religion with that of Rastafarians.  One is now extinct, the
other living.  One is based around violence and the other around peace
and harmony.  Where is the comparison between smoking a joint and
human sacrifice?

I'm not well versed in the Rastafarian religion, but it's obvious to
me the article is extremely biased.  I would have thought that, for a
paper that considers itself a 'quality' tabloid, you might be able to
report such an event in a more balanced and less sensational fashion.

It is socially immoral to incite prejudice, but very easy.  I would
have hoped that a national newspaper would be aware that it carries a
heavy responsibility when reporting on such sensitive matters.

Natalie Tatherton