A group of atheists in Madison, Wis., is complaining that the image of Mother Teresa on a mass transit pass is an improper violation of the separation of church and state, reports The Capital Times.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation says a picture of Mother Teresa on the Madison Metro System's April bus pass is "an insult to Madisonians who value women's rights, and the separation of church and state," says Anne Nicole Gaylor, president of the foundation.

"Mother Teresa lived in parts of the world where she saw firsthand the overwhelming poverty and tragedy resulting from women's lack of access to birth control. Yet she campaigned stridently throughout her life at every opportunity against access to contraception, sterilization and abortion for anyone," Gaylor said.

Hyper-Sensitive

An Australian primary school moved to ban an Anzac Day service in order to avoid offending Muslim students at the school but the principal was overruled by his bosses, reports the West Australian.

The principal of Koondoola Primary School near Perth thought the annual commemoration of the Australian and Kiwi soldiers who died during World War I might be seen as insensitive by some students.

But Education Minister Alan Carpenter overturned the decision, saying canceling the ceremony would have done more harm than good. "Anzac Day is about understanding what war is about and it is an integral part of the Australian cultural landscape," Carpenter said. "If I hadn't interfered this way, that school would have had everyone on their doorstep demanding to know why it was done."

Race Bait Day III

A New York City Council member's use of the phrase "you people" was denounced as "outrageous" and racist by her colleagues on the council, reports the New York Daily News.

Bronx Democrat Madeline Provenzano allegedly told spectators in the audience of the council chambers, "You people should be at work and not here at City Hall." The spectators were booing her dissenting vote on a measure to roll back welfare reforms.

Former Black Panther Charles Barron, a Brooklyn Democrat, called the remark outrageous. "It's insulting and she should apologize to them," he said.

Department of Redundancies Department

A state legislator in Texas wants all college students graduating from the University of Texas system to sit through at least one multicultural or gender studies course before graduating, reports the Daily Texan.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, would make such a course part of the university's graduation requirement. She says the bill is in response to the lack of racial understanding she has seen expressed on campuses in recent months.

But Mark Hodgkin of Young Conservatives of Texas, said such a requirement is not needed in light of the multicultural tone of everything else on campus these days. "It's a little redundant," he said.

Bad Call

A middle school boy in Colorado was suspended from school for complaining that a call in a four-square game was "gay," reports the Grand Junction Sentinel.

Twelve-year-old Ben Madison was playing four square with a classmate during recess when a child said his shot was out. "And he said, 'Your call was gay,'" said Ben's mom, Susan Madison. "The child went to another teacher later in the day and reported it."

Officials at West Middle School in Grand Junction, Colo., would not comment on why Madison was suspended, but the move comes on the heels of recent school board discussion about adding language to its anti-bullying policy saying students cannot harass other students for their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

The C-Word

U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige is being asked to resign for telling an interviewer from a religious publication that he admires schools that instill Christian values in their students, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

In an interview with the Baptist Press, Paige, a Southern Baptist, said, "All things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community.

"The reason that Christian schools and Christian universities are growing is a result of a strong value system," he said. "In a religious environment the value system is set. That's not the case in a public school, where there are so many different kids with different kinds of values."

Almost immediately, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said Paige should resign, saying he had "demeaned religious minorities."

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:

Mark P. writes:

Concerning the policy that requires Texas A&M University faculty to "celebrate and promote" all forms of diversity including homosexuality:

Wouldn't requiring them to celebrate and promote ideas that they do not agree with be a violation of their civil rights in the sense that it is mandating what they say, do, believe and support? Would this not be similar to mandating that all people MUST support the war in Iraq?

Ed R. in Oklahoma writes:

It is almost humorous that Bonnie Weinstein describes police officers wearing American flag bandanas as "inflammatory" and "meant to annoy people." Obviously, it is her opinion that only her and her fellow supporters have the right to be inflammatory and intentionally annoy people under the protection of the US Constitution.

Landy J. in Carrollton, Texas, writes:

That 12-year-old didn't just "stick his tongue out." I've seen other kids do this same thing. There's more to that action than just showing displeasure; it's blatant sexual intimidation.

As a father of an 11-year-old girl, I'd have ripped his tongue out of his mouth for it and probably put him through a wall. Then after I got out of jail, I'd make sure that kid knew in no uncertain terms that I would make sure he never came within 100 feet of my daughter. There is no place for actions like that, especially for middle school children. I think the school was right in suspending him and threatening him with alternative school.

Whatever happened to just accepting the rejection, hiding your head for a couple of days because of embarrassment, then asking the next girl?

Tom E. in Westminster, Colo., writes:

With regard to the DJ who was fired from a public radio station for criticizing public radio: I am led to wonder how long the career of a Fox News reporter would last if he stated on the air that Fox "bends the news" and suggested that his viewers should tune into another channel to get a "current assessment of what's going on, because it ain't happening at Fox?" Not very long, I am guessing.

Barbara H. writes:

Why should citizens who support our troops be denied the ability to publicly express their support (merchants with yellow ribbons and police officers with American flag bandannas) because it might offend those who don't support our troops? I don't understand why dissident opinions are considered more worthy than the opinions of the majority of Americans who support and honor our troops and our president.

George B. in Mechanicsburg, Pa., writes:

Your characterization of the Harry Potter banning in Connecticut as nonsense misses the point. Most agree the novels are well-written and worthy of being taught. However, there are many well-written novels and books about Christianity and its practices that cannot be taught in schools because of separation of church and state. I support that separation 100%. What I want is consistency. There is no question that what Harry practices in his books amounts to a 'church' more specifically 'religion.' I take my responsibility as a parent seriously in terms of teaching my children religion, including my faith and practices. I do not expect my children to be taught wizardry, witchcraft, Islam, Christianity and other religions in our schools.

George M. in Roscoe, Ill., writes:

I will never understand why these people feel such hatred for Harry Potter. It is a fairly innocent children's story, that happens to contain good, evil, and witchcraft. There are plenty of popular stories that contain witchcraft. The list includes Mary Poppins, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Shrek, The Wizard of Oz, and even Star Wars. All of these have the same conclusion to the story: good defeats evil. Since when is that a bad concept?

Walz in Texas writes:

Well, I expected standard conservative hypocrisy and I got it. Mentioning the guy in Michigan but not Peter Arnett -- both fired for not going along with the views of most of their audience. Both fired for non-PC speech. Only one gets mentioned. Typical hypocrisy. Fox News is worse than Al Jazeera when it comes to spreading propaganda.

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