Tongue Tied

Ohio lawyer Richard Ganulin wants the Christmas holidays banned.

Ganulin, an assistant city solicitor in Cincinnati representing himself, sued the federal government in 1998, claiming that the federal Christmas holiday amounts to government approval for a day of Christian religious origins and therefore violates rules regarding the separation of church and state. 

A federal judge dismissed the case, but Ganulin appealed and last week argued his case before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The judges didn't seemed swayed by his argument, reports the Associated Press. 

"Sometimes," Judge Boyce Martin Jr. said during the proceedings, "we must accept those tenets of others that we don't necessarily agree with, in order to live in peace." 

What Is It With the 6th Circuit? 

Ohio state officials and the ACLU were in the same court last week, the former defending the state's motto, "With God all things are possible," against the latter, which considers it unconstitutional. 

In a rare, full-court session, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati heard from the state that the motto is no different from the phrase "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency and from the ACLU that in invoking the words of Jesus to his disciples, the state is illegally advocating Christianity. The court is not expected to rule for several weeks, reports the Associated Press. 

Flush Rush? 

In a form letter described by Camille Paglia in, the National Organization for Women is mounting a campaign this month to silence conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. In big blue type, the letter calls on its supporters to "FLUSH RUSH," whom NOW President Patricia Ireland calls "a truly dangerous man." 

The organization wants people to pressure radio stations to take this "dangerous bigot" spewing "reactionary rhetoric" off the air and ask advertisers to sever their ties to his "hate-filled show." 

Lightless in California 

Parents who spent a Saturday morning stringing up colored lights at Mariners Elementary School in Newport Beach, Calif., did it all in vain, reports the Los Angeles Times

School board President Dana Black made them take the lights down shortly afterward because a parent threatened to sue over the issue last year. 

The parents who put them up said they didn't see the lights as Christian symbols, but merely a way to get in the spirit of the holidays. Other parents, and some local religious leaders, disagree. 

Rabbi Mark Miller told the Times that: "It's a provocative act to put the lights up — it disenfranchises and marginalizes non-Christian students who are attending the public school." 

Indiana Companies Dreaming of a P.C. Christmas 

The Indianapolis Star reports that companies across that state are rethinking their holiday decorating schemes this year in order to avoid offending people with different beliefs. 

The Star reports that one law firm has done away with trees, holly and garlands in its lobby because they might connote some sort of connection to Christianity. 

Toomie Farris, general manager of Enflora, a shop that caters to businesses with fresh flowers and greenery, says, "businesses are becoming more and more aware of what a tightrope it is to be politically correct." The paper says most companies now avoid decorating with angels and nativity scenes. 

Princeton Lowers the Boom on Boy Scouts 

Members of Boy Scout Troop 43 in Princeton, N.J., won't be able to offer free parking to patrons of their annual Christmas tree sale this year, thanks to the local borough council. 

Members of the Princeton Borough Council voted to strip the scouts of the privilege because of the national organization's ban on gay scout leaders. Until now, the council allowed the Scouts to cover a couple of parking meters near the sale so people picking up the trees would not have to feed them. The sale goes on as planned, though. 

Drawing a Bead on Liberal Hippies 

A Missouri state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would presumably allow people to beat on anyone desecrating the American flag. 

Rep. Sam Gaskill, a Republican from Washburn, tells the AP that the bill would allow the use of physical force if "the person reasonably believes" such force is necessary to prevent "the defilement or dishonorable destruction" of the flag. Gaskill says the flag "deserves more respect than the protest message of some liberal hippie." A similar bill he sponsored last year failed to escape committee. 

Parent Offended by Battleground Cursing 

A parent's complaint in Conway, N.H., has led to the removal of a Newbery Award-winning book from the required reading list, reports the Associated Press. 

Eva Irving is not satisfied, though. She wants My Brother Sam is Dead, a novel about a family on opposite sides of the American Revolutionary War, banned from the school entirely. During some of the battle scenes, characters are reported to utter profanities, she complained. The book will remain in the school library. 

Mail From the Central Servers 

Chuck W. writes: 

The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..." If read in plain language instead of legalese, it seems to me that all the restrictions against religious displays are what is illegal. Why not make sure each group gets to put up their displays at the appropriate time? It's called tolerance, instead of selfishness. 

Emily W. says: 

It is ridiculous to dismiss a correct idea simply because it is associated with a particular religion. Abstinence education should not be dismissed simply for the fact that Christians believe it to be the best way. Do we cancel our laws against murder simply because the Bible forbids it? 

Nicholas H. argues: 

Words will not cure societal ills; a profound understanding of each other and compassion will. I suggest those furthering the political correctness agenda take a long hard look at what they are proposing. Trying to socially control what people can and can't say has been the beginning of many dark and unjust periods in history. 

James D. says: 

It blows my mind how the ACLU can argue that prisons are too punitive and lack rehabilitative qualities, and then threaten the state of Louisiana if they put chapels in the prisons. Chapels — where someone stands the chance of hearing about the Ten Commandments and how Jesus had compassion on vulnerable and poor people. In its attempt to be philosophically consistent, the ACLU once again proves to be a detriment to the quality of life. 

From Ayman A.: 

What I find most disturbing and laughable at the same time is this continued and concerted effort to reinterpret, rewrite, and repackage history for the sake of perpetuating a more palatable perception for sympathetics and future generations. Life is tough. It's an upward struggle in many respects, and the one distinguishing factor of America is that we have come so far in such a short period of time while assimilating different races, religions, languages, and practices. 

Mike H. insists: 

I enjoy your column on political correctness, but in the case of the section, "No Free Speech for Those in the Military," it did not belong in your column. The Uniform Code of Military Justice does not "apparently" forbid military officers from using "contemptuous words against the president, vice president," etc. It expressly forbids the officers from doing this. 

Every soldier knows this when they leave civilian life. There are many other important differences between laws/rules for civilians and military members. Your boss cannot tell you to attack and kill another individual. During war those orders are necessary for a military member. Your boss cannot set a curfew for you or tell you to stand guard over a location, but if an officer disregards this command from one higher, he/she will find themselves behind bars. This different set of rules for those in the military keeps you and me safe and you free to write your column. 

In the case of this particular rule, it honors civilian control over our military. Keep up your normally good work, but please do not confuse civilian and military life. 

And Otto W. scolds: 

"Dissing" is not a word. I wish writers would at least attempt to correctly use the English language.