A worker in the Richmond City Hall who wanted to hang a flag in his office was told to take it down after co-workers complained that it was a de-facto endorsement of war that offended them, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Gary Burton and a friend hung a 5-foot by 8-foot American flag in their office, only to be told to take it down eight hours later. Three co-workers in the Bureau of Permits and Inspections complained about the flag throughout the day.

"The gist of [their complaints] is the flag is an attempt to make a political statement in support of the war. And they were opposed to the war," said Claude Cooper, the city's building commissioner.

Anti-American?

Students upset about an editorial cartoon in The Diamondback, the University of Maryland at College Park's student newspaper, staged a noisy sit-in at the paper's office and are demanding a public apology from the paper, reports The Diamondback.

The protesters are upset about an editorial cartoon about the death of pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie. The cartoon labeled her stupid for "sitting in front of a bulldozer to protect a gang of terrorists." Corrie died while trying to avert an Israeli Army bulldozer from razing a house in Gaza.

The students said the cartoon was indecent and anti-American. In addition to the apology, they are demanding that the paper publish an article honoring Corrie's life.

Bedrock Principles

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that a federal court in Massachusetts has ruled that a high school was wrong to suspend students for handing out candy canes with religious messages on them.

The ruling, by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, says Westfield High School violated the kids' First Amendment rights and barred the school from enforcing similar speech restrictions in the future.

The students, members of a Bible club at Westfield, had been told that they could distribute the candy canes with a "Happy Holidays" message, but were forbidden to attach a message containing a prayer and a description of the religious origins of the candy cane.

The court rejected the school's claim that the Constitution's Establishment Clause required them to censor the religious speech of the students, holding that while school-sponsored religious speech is forbidden by the Constitution, student religious speech is constitutionally protected.

The court also rejected the school's claim that the religious messages could be barred because they might be offensive to non-Christian students. The court held that by singling out religious messages for censorship, the school had violated "a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment" that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because it might be disagreeable or offensive.

Papal Bull

Denizens of an online community bulletin board in Maplewood, N.J., report that a second-grade class in that town had to cancel a St. Patrick’s Day party after one parent complained about the religious undertones of the holiday.

The parent says a second-grade class at Clinton Elementary School planned to serve green cupcakes and cookies in a class party. The parent’s complaints, however, derailed the fest.

"Perhaps fear that the papists will descend upon the second-graders of Clinton is the cause for concern," writes the poster.

Free Speech for Some

The same officials at the University of Houston who quashed an anti-abortion rally on campus last year welcomed a gay rights rally because it was a "university-sponsored" event while the former was a "student-sponsored" event, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Administrators likened the gay rights rally to a cheerleading or band practice and therefore permissible outside designated free speech zones, while the anti-abortion rally was student-sponsored and allowed only within the confines of the zones.

Benjamin Bull, a lawyer who represented the UH student organization that fought the university over the anti-abortion rally, called the latest decision a classic example of political correctness on campus.

"The university is almost Stalinistic in permitting government-favored speech, while banning government disfavored and politically incorrect speech," he said.

Banning Buns

Schools across the United Kingdom are being told not to serve hot cross buns at Easter so as to avoid offending people of non-Christian faiths, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Administrators are being told by local school boards that the traditional Easter treat, with its trademark white cross on the top, has the potential to offend Muslim, Hindu and Jewish students.

Officials in one London school district removed the buns from menus this year after criticism over its decision to serve pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

"We are moving away from a religious theme for Easter and will not be doing hot cross buns," said a spokesman for the Tower Hamlets District. "We can't risk a similar outcry over Easter like the kind we had on Pancake Day. We will probably be serving naan breads instead."

A Muslim group called the trend "very, very bizarre."

"I wish they would leave us alone," said a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain. "We are quite capable of articulating our own concerns and if we find something offensive, we will say so. We do not need to rely on other people to do it for us."

Can't wait until next Monday for more snippets of politically correct nonsense? Head over to the daily edition of Tongue Tied at the Tongue Tied Web site.

Mailbag

Jason L. in Wheaton, Ill., writes:

I cannot believe the hypocrisy of these God-fearing people of faith who are suing to put two words on a brick: "God bless..."

If they were TRUE Christians, they would know that suing is prohibited by Christ, who said that if someone takes your shirt from you, give them your coat as well. If someone does something wrong to you, invite them to do more harm to you, for his names sake. This is the direct teaching of Christ, whom they consider the wisest man who ever lived.

Vince R. in Texas writes:

Regarding the "Acts of Intolerance" item, which appeared on March 17th: I would call it instead "Acts of Ignorance and Stupidity." The H1B Visa is not just for graduate students, it applies to any foreign worker, and the company that sponsors the worker must prove that it was not able to hire any U.S. citizens or residents and that it is paying a comparable salary.

Furthermore, the company then must wait up to 4 months for the INS to approve the visa petition and pay a hefty fee. I believe that if companies are pursuing this long and expensive route it is because they can not find qualified U.S. citizens to do the job.

Thomas B. in California writes:

The fact that Stanford University would actually investigate a legitimate complaint from students who feel their way of life has been trampled on once again by non-citizen immigrants is disgraceful. This is not only further indication the left is going out of its way to kill free speech, but that it is intent on continuing its aggressive attack on our borders, language and culture as a nation.

I wonder if it has ever occurred to the leftist, anti-border crowd that if this country had an immigrant work-visa policy even slightly resembling that of the rest of the world these immigrants that are screaming injustice now would be lucky to land a job in a cafeteria let alone the six-figure incomes they’ve been enjoying here in America. Someone once said, "there is nobody more intolerant that someone demanding tolerance." I can see what they mean.

Jane R. in Somerset, N.J., writes:

Providing international students who embrace the law and follow it with visas to study here only helps make us friends across the world; showing America's true colors. I think that if they showed up with signs that read, "Irish need not apply," or something of this color, it would make many Americans upset. This is not what even conservative America is about. If they are here within the law and following it, I'm afraid I have to back up all students that want to study and want to work. Please chase THE ILLEGAL people out, that would create some jobs, no?

Bryan H. in Waltham, Mass., writes:

When are you folks going to start hitting on the other version of "P.C." - Patriotic Correctness. I'm talking about stuff like "freedom fries" and "freedom toast," and people being told to "go back to Iraq" because they don't stand for country western songs at rodeos. Try to be fair, will ya?

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