Red Cross stores in Britain have been told not to display any "overtly religious" items in their stores during the Christmas season because the organization needs to appear neutral, reports the Evening Star.

Workers at a store in Ipswich told the paper that they may sell Christmas cards and other holiday goods but none may contain traditional Christian images such as the Virgin Mary, the nativity scene or the city of Bethlehem.

In leaflets made available at one store, the Red Cross says its "neutrality is as important on the U.K. high street as it is in a conflict zone.

"This is why, during Christmas and any other religious festivals, our volunteers are welcome to display and sell seasonal decorations and goods, including Christmas trees and cards, but not anything overtly religious."

Thinking of the Kids

An effort of Franklin Graham's (son of Billy Graham) Christian organization to collect Christmas goodies for children in war zones was described as racist and right wing by an English cleric, reports the Tameside Advertiser.

The Rev. Vernon Marshall, a Unitarian minister in England, said the effort has a hidden agenda. He said "poisonous literature" is inserted into the shoeboxes.

"Leaflets are put in thrusting an intolerant and racist form of Christianity into the lives of poor Muslims who have been bombed out of their homes by the same people who then try to befriend them," Marshall said.

Organizers of the drive said their Christian partners in some countries do offer a small booklet with each shoebox, but the youngsters are under no obligation to take it.

Statue Struggles

A statue of a Spanish colonizer of America, Don Juan de Oñate, due to be placed in central El Paso, Texas, will be renamed and placed elsewhere in order to appease Mexican-Americans and American Indians who think he was a mean guy, reports the El Paso Times.

The El Paso City Council voted to remove Oñate’s name from the statue and call it simply "The Equestrian" after activists complained that he mistreated American Indians when he colonized the American Southwest in the 16th century. The statue, 10 years in the making, will be placed at the airport instead of in town.

Historians decried the move as a disgrace.

"There are probably still Confederate sympathizers who would applaud if we renamed the tall man seated in the Lincoln Memorial simply 'The President,'" said John Kessell, professor emeritus of history at the University of New Mexico. "And if we eliminated from the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol every one who had offended, killed or maimed someone else's ancestors, there would be hardly anyone left."

Criminal?

An English cleric was investigated by police for suggesting that homosexuals should "reorient" themselves and convert to heterosexuals, reports London’s Daily Telegraph.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Peter Forster, the bishop of Chester, suggested in a newspaper interview that gays should seek psychiatric help.

The comments drew the ire of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, which accused him of putting forward an "offensive" and "scandalous" argument. The group filed a complaint with the local police suggesting that his comments would incite people against homosexuals, which would violate a 1986 Public Order law.

After an investigation, police decided not to press charges.

More Southern Discomfort

A substitute teacher in Virginia is angling to change the names of Robert E. Lee Elementary and Jefferson Davis Middle schools because they are psychologically damaging to the black students who attend them, reports The Associated Press.

Erenestine Harrison said the schools in Hampton, Va., named for the Confederate leaders are inappropriate. She wants the schools to bear names of people she considers better role models for children.

Museum Madness

The director of the National Air and Space Museum says he will not turn the museum’s exhibit on the Enola Gay aircraft into an anti-nuclear, anti-war tirade as some professors at American University in Washington want him to, reports the Washington Post.

The professors wanted the exhibit about the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima to include data about the victims on the ground and the politics of nuclear weapons.

But the director of the museum, Gen. John R. "Jack" Dailey, said the placard will stick to vital statistics about the plane and its role in history.

The museum has placed the B-29 Superfortress, totally restored for the first time in 43 years, in its companion museum, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

Short People Got No Reason

A court in Norway has ruled that the government must pay for a short man’s car because he is afraid of being teased when riding public transportation, reports the Aftenposten newspaper.

The 22-year-old man, who is 4’2" high, said he has had anxiety attacks at the thought of riding the bus ever since he was bullied as a young boy on the school bus. Government officials initially said that was his problem, but a special social welfare court ruled that society shouldn't expose him to the psychological burden of riding the bus.

(Hat tip to Tim B.)

Double Standard

Lefty loudmouths like Al Sharpton can use the "lynching" hyperbole whenever they damn well feel like it, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but when a white senator uses it to describe treatment of a black conservative it’s "racially insensitive."

During a filibuster in the U.S. Senate, Georgia Sen. Zell Miller likened the Democrats’ treatment of California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to being "lynched."

Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, called the metaphor "despicable."

"Either Senator Miller has conveniently forgotten a frightening period of American history, or he is willfully demeaning all those African-Americans who were hung from trees throughout the period of racial segregation in the South."

For a daily dose of politically correct shenanigans, head over to the Tongue Tied Web site.

Mailbag:

Surayyah H. in Atlanta, Ga., writes:

Many of the commentary in the "Tongue Tied" Section speaks of double standards supposedly perpetuated by "liberals" and PC fans. But I have to wonder if those in support of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' float encouraging students to "Let Jesus Rock Your Night Away" would be as equally accepting of a float by Muslim students promoting an Islamic-themed float?

Tim D. writes:

It’s Freedom of Religion, not Freedom from Religion.

Ralph in Boston, Mass., writes:

I don't get it. You would think that Muslims or any people of Middle Eastern descent would do anything they could to distance themselves from terrorists. Instead, it seems that when someone tries to make fun of, or demean terrorists, the Muslim/Arab community gets all upset and cries racism. As a Christian, if someone makes fun of cults or whatever, I just use it as an opportunity to tell people that true Christians are not like that.

Jamie S. in Amarillo, Texas, writes:

Regarding the oxymoron "Truth on Campus" -- did the Stanford Daily show anything different from what even our liberally-biased national media showed on September 11? How dare our media air Palestinians cheering September 11, yet purposefully neglect airing pictures of all the Israelis doing the same? Oh wait, could it be because they didn’t?

Anthony C. in Kentucky writes:

I am police officer and I find quite strange that what sounds like legitimate physical description of two would-be thieves would be considered racist. How else would you make a description? What if it had been two white females and the description stated that? Would that be racist? Of course not. As long as the principals had no preconceived notions about suspects and were merely making an observation then this is not racial profiling.

These two principals made an observation and acted on it to protect their school, their students and their co-workers. This action shouldn't require them to attend sensitivity training. It should have gotten them a pat on the back for being observant and watching out for the school's interests.

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