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
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'