Pubdate: Mon, 04 Oct 1999
Source: Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 1999 Associated Newspapers Ltd


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

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
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