A lawyer in Portland, Ore., plans to argue that his client beat his 2-year-old son to death because his ancestors were abused as slaves hundreds of years ago, reports the Portland Oregonian.

Lawyer Randall Vogt said his client, Isaac Cortez Bynum, whipped and broke his son's neck and ribs because he suffers from post-traumatic slave syndrome (search).

The syndrome's main proponent, Portland academic Joy DeGruy-Leary, claims that because African Americans never got a chance to heal from slavery and still face racism, oppression and societal inequality, they suffer from multigenerational trauma.

Scuppered Sonnets

The Sunday Times in England says municipal officials are barring prospective newlyweds from reading lines from some of the country's best-loved poems because they contain religious words that cannot be uttered in secular civil ceremonies.

According to the paper, Nick Rijke, a local government worker, wanted to have the sonnet "How Do I Love Thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning read at his wedding at the Oxford register office. He was told, however, that he had to cut the last two lines because they include the words "and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death."

An official with the General Register Office said: "Our guidance is that in a civil wedding there should be no religious content. If somebody wants religious words or elements to their wedding, they would choose to be married in a church."

No Judgment

Comedian Bill Cosby (search) is being derided as racist, classist and elitist following a speech in which he criticized black Americans for their speech patterns and exaggerated complaints about police brutality, reports The Associated Press.

Speaking at a commemoration of the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision, Cosby criticized low-income blacks for not using the opportunities the civil rights movement won for them.

"I can't even talk the way these people talk, 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is' ... and I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk," Cosby said. "And then I heard the father talk ... Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth."

Among the critics was hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons (search), who questioned Cosby's tone.

"Judgment of the people in the situation is not helpful. How can you help them is the question," he said.

In a statement issued the weekend after his remarks, Cosby said his comments were intended to be a call to action.

"I feel that I can no longer remain silent. If I have to make a choice between keeping quiet so that conservative media does not speak negatively or ringing the bell to galvanize those who want change in the lower economic community, then I choose to be a bell ringer," he said.

Crusader

In a speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy (search) in Colorado, President Bush used the words of Dwight Eisenhower (search) to liken the War on Terror to the war on the Nazis (search) 60 years ago. All but one word, that is, reports Reuters.

Bush cited Eisenhower's message to U.S. troops at the dawn of D-Day (search). Eisenhower said: "Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of a liberty-loving people everywhere march with you."

Bush quoted the first and third sentences, but left out the word "crusade" presumably because it might offend Muslims.

Well Enough Alone?

The Daily Telegraph reports that a new prayer book circulated in England has rewritten some familiar phrases with the hope of promoting fair trade and peace in the developing world.

The new Anglican prayer book, produced by Christian Aid (search), reworks the bit about daily bread in the Lord's Prayer (search) to thank God for giving us our daily bread only "when we manage to get back our lands or get a fairer wage."

The 23rd Psalm ("Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil") now reads, "Even if a full-scale violent confrontation breaks out, I will not be afraid, Lord."

Party Pooper

New Jersey's top civil rights official has ruled that Ladies Night promotions at bars in that state are sexist and must be banned, reports The Associated Press.

The decision comes following complaints from one David Gillespie, who said it was not fair for women to get into a Cherry Hill nightclub for free and receive discounted drinks while men paid a $5 cover charge and full price for drinks.

J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo, director of New Jersey's state Division on Civil Rights, said the bar's commercial interests in maintaining the promotion do not override the "important social policy objective of eradicating discrimination."

For more doses of politically correct shenanigans, heads on over the TongueTied daily site.

Mailbag:

Martina S. writes:

I really enjoy Tongue Tied and I always read the articles and usually laugh at the insane lengths our culture goes to make sure people aren't offended. But I think you were off base with the story about the Michigan boys and the confederate flags.

The confederate flag is NOT, and as a southerner let me repeat, NOT a symbol of the south. What it stands for is a period of five years when the south lost its mind and decided to start a civil war to keep its "right" to enslave our fellow human beings.

You will not come to the south and find a non-racist person flying that flag, period.

Steven R. in West Palm Beach, Fla., writes:

It seems to me that the two young men who displayed the Confederate Battle Flag were simply exercising their freedom of expression under the First Amendment. The principal should be fired and sued for limiting that right. The fact that some are offended by something doesn't mean it can't be said or displayed.

Joey W. in Birmingham, Ala., Writes:

I wonder if the brilliant minds at the ACLU are planning on suing the county of Los Angeles if it doesn't change it's name. After all Los Angeles means "The Angels" and we all know how offensive anything spiritual is to the ACLU.

Harold C. says:

While I'll agree that some of the lawsuits brought on by the ACLU are somewhat ridiculous, possibly politically motivated, I thank them for bringing a voice to those of us who are sick to death of religious intrusion into our everyday lives.

Religious symbols of every kind, including text, should not exist anywhere in our government institutions. I am a Catholic and I believe completely in god. I also know that religion excludes those who are not part of the religion. The government cannot exclude anyone and cannot even seem to show bias towards any one religion.

How would you feel as a Christian, or what ever religion you are, being put on trial in a courtroom filled with Muslim religious symbols? (Unless of course you are Muslim.)

And what's with telling us that the cross has existed on the on the seal for 47 years? Just because something has existed for 47 years doesn't make it right, and just because it's going to cost a lot of money to fix it doesn't make it right either.

Wake up. The Taliban government should show everyone what happens when you let religion run a country.

Stephanie R. in North Pole, Ark., writes:

I knew that once the Ten Commandments were considered politically incorrect, that soon those people would start targeting personal observances. Soon government officials (then others) will not be allowed to wear crosses or yarmulkes or have them in their offices. They will not be allowed to be seen going to church because they are "officially" part of the government, and it would seem like a government "official" is demonstrating religion, blurring the line of separation.

Gary L. writes:

Let me get this straight. The lady in Arkansas was beating her boyfriend with a pistol when it accidentally went off and thereby tragically caused injury? Ergo, weapons are bad and should be banned from her home, even fish shaped water pistols? And UFO hunters think people from other planets actually WANT to come here?

Cassandra I. writes:

Let me guess. You are a white male in your 40-60s. Let it go... blacks, Hispanics, gays and others you hate are as equal as whites. Grow up! Why don't you say what you really want to say and stop hiding.

Coward!

Thom M. corrects us:

While I appreciate you publishing my letter to you regarding VADM Rempt changing the words to "Navy Blue and Gold" (see below), the college in question is the U.S. Naval Academy, not "Virginia Military Academy" as referenced in the letters portion of your column.

Thank you.

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