Bill on Religious Discrimination Gets First Reading in Commons

A bill sponsored by Labor member Fenner Brockway, to make it an offense to discriminate to the detriment of any person on grounds of color, race or religion or to incite publicly contempt or hatred of any person on such grounds, received its first reading in the House of Commons today. It was the ninth time he had introduced the proposed law.

In proposing the measure again, the Labor member said that, in addition to cases of racial discrimination by hotels in refusing accommodation to high-ranking Embassy and United Nations officials, there had also been cases where accommodation had been refused in Britain to persons for religious reasons.

He said that slander against a person’s religious faith might be more serious in its public consequences than slander against the individual, which had long been illegal. Citing some material published by. “The Council for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question,” he told the House that it is too revolting to describe to this House but it is printed, and I find that it has even been published as an advertisement.” He added that “we have laws against pornography and obscene literature, but racial obscenity is the worst of art.”

He agreed that it was a minority which “belched this poison” but he urged that it should not have the full protection of the law which it now has. He added that he agreed also that legislation could not cure the evils of such discrimination but, he added, the law should provide the lead in public places and in public expression. Countries through-out the world are moving toward recognition of the view that racial demarcation is a betrayal of the human family, he noted.

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