Now atheists seek place in the Dome

In deciding on the contents of the "Spirit Zone" of the Millennium Dome, Peter Mandelson must satisfy not only those of different religions, but those of no religion at all. Britain's atheists are demanding that if, as Mr Mandelson asserts, the Dome is to have Christianity as its "central theme", it should tell the whole story.

In a letter to the Minister Without Portfolio and the New Millennium Experience company, Keith Porteous Wood, of the National Secular Society, proposes that the section on Christianity should include a record of "the centuries of cruelty, inhumanity and repression".

He writes: "I do hope the Millennium Experience will be a complete experience with, for instance, the Crusades Salon to include Muslim heads impaled on spears; the Inquisition Pavilion where you will be able to torture and disembowel heretics; and perhaps, especially for the kiddies, the Witch Burning Experience - three old ladies an hour burned for your delectation. We must also have a section devoted to the suppression of scientific knowledge - how about Galileo in chains for suggesting that the Earth revolved around the Sun."

Mr Porteous Wood adds: "Please remember that the Dome is being paid for by the country as a whole, including those of many faiths other than Christianity and also those of no faith ... If the Dome is perceived as a primarily religious experience, it will be shunned by millions, as church attendances testify."

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, minister of Maidenhead Synagogue and spokesman for the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain, is also anxious that the "dark side of Christianity" be included in the Dome alongside the positive aspects of the religion. "There should be a realistic appraisal which includes the enormous human suffering that has been caused internally to Christian heretics, externally to the Jews and in its battles against science as in Galileo and Darwin," he said.

However, a spokesman for the New Millennium Experience Company yesterday insisted that the Dome would be "very much a forward-thinking experience. "It's not going to dwell on the heritage of the past too much. That's not the idea. We want it to inspire and embolden people rather than look back on negative things."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Service Desk Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity to join a p...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor / Assistant Quantity Surveyor

£23698 - £30978 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This not-for-profit company man...

Recruitment Genius: Bench Joiner / Machinist - Full time or Freelance

£22000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Bench Joiner / Machinist is r...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This children's clothing compan...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones