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Religious Rankling, Gay Grammar

The Royal Ontario Museum in Canada has stopped marking calendar years on its exhibits with A.D. and B.C. because the terms are ethnocentric and not inclusive enough for the modern era, reports the National Post.

Instead, the museum will use the terms BCE ("before the common era") and CE ("common era"). "Anno Domini," which means "year of the Lord," and "before Christ" have been deemed too religious.

"A lot of people accept the reality of Jesus as a historical figure but don't accept him as Christ, and to use the words 'before Christ' is really quite ethnocentric of European Christians," said Dan Rahimi, the Toronto museum's director of collections management. "And to use 'the year of our Lord' is also quite insensitive to huge populations in Toronto who have other lords."

The first exhibit to be affected by the change in policy is the James ossuary, a stone box believed to have contained the bones of James, brother of Jesus, the namesake of the dating system the museum is abandoning.

Intolerant Tolerance

Muslims in Philadelphia are working themselves into a lather over an editorial cartoon that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer that said Islam is not a very tolerant religion, calling it racist, intolerant and hostile.

In a series of letters to the op-ed page, they complain that Tony Auth's cartoon is "deeply offensive and contributes to the climate of hostility against innocent American Muslims."

"I cannot imagine that the editors of your paper would ever consider printing a cartoon that condemned the entirety of Christianity or Judaism in a similar manner," writes one offended party. "Perhaps before preaching tolerance to others, Auth and the editorial staff should engage in serious self-reflection."

The cartoon portrays a robed Muslim declaring: "Islam is a tolerant religion. We tolerate fanatics, suicide bombers, terrorist 'charities' and women … barely."

Offending Angels

Threats of legal action by the Florida chapter of American Atheists have not dissuaded the city of Wildwood, Fla., from stationing two angels blowing trumpets in a Christmas display outside city hall this year, reports the Sumter County Times.

In a letter sent to the city, an atheist said he noticed the angels while driving through town last year about this time. "Angels are without question a religious symbol, and must be omitted this year and in the future," wrote Greg McDowell.

Wildwood Mayor Ed Wolf and the city council there ignored the threat of litigation, however, and voted unanimously to display the angels again this year.

Wolf said if McDowell doesn't like to look at angels, then he shouldn't drive through downtown Wildwood.

Welcome to Our World

The trade minister of Malaysia reportedly blew her top during a visit to Australia recently because security officials charged with keeping her from getting blown up were so insensitive as to use bomb-sniffing dogs in the process, reports the New Straits Times.

Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz said that Australian authorities, nearly 200 of whose compatriots were massacred in Bali in October, subjected her to an insulting screening using an animal considered haram, or forbidden in Islam, when they knew she was a Muslim.

The minister was in Sydney for a meeting of the World Trade Organization.

Several Malaysian leaders have complained lately of rude treatment while abroad on official business. Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar were actually ordered to remove their belts and shoes for a screening en route to a U.N. meeting in New York in September.

From the Land of Shakespeare

Government ministers in the United Kingdom will no longer be able to use the word "homosexual" in official communications because the term is apparently outdated, reports Rainbownetwork.com.

The move is part of a plan by Equality Minister Barbara Roche to tackle sexual and religious discrimination.

"There was a strong feeling that homosexual wasn't the way forward in defining sexual orientation," said a spokesman for the minister. "There were various concerns."

Officials will now use the phrase "orientation towards people of the same sex" instead.

Marketplace of Ideas

Students and faculty at New School University in New York want Bob Kerrey to resign as president of the school because his anti-Saddam stand is not "progressive" enough for the school, reports the Omaha World-Herald.

The students object to Kerrey's role on the board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which advocates the removal of the Iraqi dictator. They describe the former senator as part of a "small group of influential right-wingers with close ties to the offices of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney."

Bob Kerrey told a group of students this week that he would not step down, regardless of whether they continued their "street theater" against him.

Finally! The daily edition of Tongue Tied is here. For those who can’t wait until the end of the week for a dose of PC wackiness, head over to the Tongue Tied Web site.

Mailbag:

Lee R. writes:

I found the quote from an Arab-Australian in your Australian Christmas item interesting. "Santa's part of the Australian way of life. We don't know how such a thing could be offensive."

It’s not and it shouldn’t be. I’m an atheist and have never been offended by Christmas or any of its customs, rituals or displays. Some of the attempts to scale back the massive exposure of Christmas in our malls, schools and public places are not just coming from PC morons with no life, but also from Christians who fear that this over-exposure is turning Christmas into a generic national holiday rather than a religious one, and it’s losing it’s true meaning to those who celebrate it.

I think it’s sad that we are more concerned about whether we should strip Christmas completely from our holiday season or base our economy on how many presents people buy rather than celebrating it as a holy holiday.

G. Valo writes:

I think everyone in this country has become way too sensitive to meaningless issues. Apparently, we all have too much free time on our hands to worry about who is doing what to offend this group or that one. Does anyone truly believe that a couple of college kids were actually trying to make an anti-black statement with their costumes? If that is what their objective was I think they could've come up with something a lot more deliberate and to the point.

Dave S. in Savannah, Ga., writes:

OK!! This is too much. If the term Jewfish is anti-semitic, then why did they then turn around and name the fish after a Jew-killing Philistine? (Goliath)

Amanda G. writes:

Regarding the vegetarians in Tennessee claiming discrimination. I have been a vegetarian for seven years, but I realize that that does not give me the right to dictate what other people eat. Governor Sundquist's decision wasn't discriminatory; it was just plain common sense.

Henry L. in Birmingham, Ala., writes re the Vulcan statue item:

I hate political correctness as much as anyone, but I hate misinformation even more. The lawsuit filed against the city was dismissed by the judge. Also, the moron who filed suit doesn't even remotely resemble the views of most Christians. The vast majority of us understand that other faiths and other traditions have contributed to our country's heritage, and we have no problem seeing those things alongside a realistic portrayal of the impact that the Christian faith has had on our heritage.

Trouble is, those on the secular side seem to want to deny ANY connection with the foundation of our country and religion of any sort. Too bad -- it's a rich and significant contribution.

Dan N. writes:

For the past three years, I have had my Christmas decorations vandalized on my own property. My nativity scene was actually burned two years ago, and last year my cross-shaped lights were pulled out in the street and run over. I talked to a couple of local politicians to see if this could be considered a hate crime. It seems that if I were to destroy any religious symbol of ANY religion other than Christianity, it could be considered a hate crime, but if symbols of my faith are destroyed, I have to be understanding of the people that I am offending.

Matt R. in Plainfield, Ill., writes:

It’s funny that Tongue Tied reports the ridiculous usage of "Holiday" to replace "Christmas," while Foxnews.com has articles about "Holiday Spending." Why is everyone so afraid of the word Christmas?

Bob M. writes:

You are wasting your time on trash like this. Please try another topic to "entertain" us. We are growing very bored with this Fox BS.

All material copyright 2002 by Scott Norvell. Reprinted with permission of the author.

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