A Tennessee man who has been sending medallions to the surviving relatives of servicemen and women and police officers who die in the line of duty says the U.S. Army has told him it can no longer help him because the mementos have Bible (search) verses on them.

Bob Parker's "Fallen Friends" organization has been sending out the medals, which feature a Liberty Bell (search) on one side and a verse from John about self-sacrifice on the reverse, since 1996. The Army recently informed him, however, that because of the religious reference it would no longer be able to supply him with the names and ranks of the fallen.

Parker says that the Army has returned the last 16 medals he attempted to distribute.

Parker's story, originally reported on WBIR-TV in Knoxville, is attracting national media attention.

Detroit ... Don't Go There

Since when did it become verboten to make fun of Detroit? Twice in recent weeks, public figures have been slapped for making fun of the Motor City.

The most recent was Chicago sportscaster Mark Giangreco, who was suspended for a week without pay from his job at WLS. Commenting on the Detroit Pistons' (search) victory in the NBA championships, Giangreco showed an old black-and-white movie clip of a city being burned to the ground and joked that it was "just another typical night for Detroit."

Viewers called to complain that they thought the joke had "racial overtones" and he was forced to apologize, reports the Chicago Sun Times.

This just a week or so after ABC pulled talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel off the air for a night after he had the nerve to make fun of Detroiters' tendency to burn their city. "I'm glad the Lakers are winning," Kimmel said on air, "because besides the fact that I'm a Lakers fan, I realize they're gonna burn the city of Detroit down if the Pistons win, and it's not worth it."

Outrageous! I

The president of a New York branch of the NAACP is in trouble for referring to a city councilman there as a "leprechaun" at the close of a public meeting, reports the Journal-News.

In an argument over school funding, Karen Edmonson of the NAACP used the term in an angry exchange with Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Liam McLaughlin.

McLaughlin and a colleague are demanding that Edmonson apologize and resign for the comment. "If anybody else made some type of similar remark, everybody would be calling for their head," he said.

Edmonson, however, doesn't even think the comment was derogatory. "It's a Halloween term. It's nothing," she said.

Outrageous! II

A Multicultural Center Juneteenth meal at a university in Texas that featured fried chicken and watermelon on the menu prompted complaints from some on campus that the choice of food was racist, reports the Daily Texan.

A chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches said the meal, in celebration of the day slaves were freed in Texas, stereotyped African Americans.

"We are against double standards," said Lori Fryman, of the SFA chapter of YCT. "If a predominantly white group had advertised the menu of fried chicken, watermelon and red soda water for the same occasion, people would have called them racist."

Religious Discrimination

An Irish civil liberties group says a new rule requiring Muslim men who want to live in Ireland to reject polygamy is racist and possibly illegal, reports the Australian Associated Press.

The government introduced the written oath this month after rejecting an application from a Lebanese man for both of his wives and all 13 children to be granted residency. A married Muslim man seeking residency must now declare he has "one spouse only" and "has no intention of entering into a simultaneous marriage."

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties said the rule amounted to religious discrimination.

Aisling Reidy, the council's director, said the new rule "assumes that Muslims, irrespective of whether they come from secular societies or states that do not recognize polygamy, do not understand or would not respect the normal law of the land because they are 'different.'"

Historical Revisions

The historical society in a Massachusetts town is so worried about language on historical markers being offensive to modern sensibilities that it has taken to placing covers on them, reports the Boston Globe.

The markers in Deerfield, Mass., mark spots where, in 1704, French and Indian forces attacked settlers. Some contain references to ''savages" and ''Negro servants" that are now considered offensive.

Where one marble tablet originally read: ''Mary, adopted by an Indian, was named Walahowey. She married a savage, and became one," it now reads, ''She married a Kanien'kehaka and adopted the culture, customs and language of her new community in Kahnawake."

One couple said they were incensed by the changes.

Rose and James Matthews wrote in a letter to the historical society: ''We condemn your attempt to create a warm and fuzzy feeling for our Colonial history because of political correctness or personal attitudes. What will you do next? ... [claim] the hatchet marks were actually tooth marks made by tall mice seeking shelter from the cold?"

For Once, We Agree

The mother of a 6-year-old in California is mobilizing a grass-roots effort to end a rule that prevents school in that state from giving standardized tests to African American children, reports the Oakland Tribune.

Pamela Lewis said she was incensed when she first heard of the rule, which dates to a 1979 case in which a judge decided IQ tests could not be used to determine children's placement in special education classes in California.

"It's discrimination, it's a violation of my son's civil rights and it's racism," Lewis said. "This is closet racism within the school district and the courts," she said. "Basically, they're saying if you're black, you're dumb."

Lewis said she is searching for legal representation to help her efforts, but she hasn't found any takers.

Some people she has spoken with have urged her not to fight for access to a racially biased test, she said.

For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over the TongueTied daily edition.

Mailbag:

Steve V. writes:

I live in a lily white neighborhood in the northern part of San Diego County, California. The local Wells Fargo branch recently added a magnetometer to the entrance.

It never occurred to me that it was a racist move.  I suppose I better make a protest sign and start protesting now that I've been made aware by the good folks in Chicago that it's a racist ploy.

Silly old me, I thought it was merely to keep people with guns out of the bank, regardless of their color.

Susan W. writes:

I have to admit that I'm not crazy about Lindsay Lohan (being out of the demographic range), but the outcry over her "that's so retarded" seems so ... I recall using that phrase when I was a teen. Somehow, "That's so mentally deficient" doesn't have the same ring to it.

Dave M. writes:

Your story on the pro-life billboards being called "racist" because they picture African-American children is interesting. Here in Minnesota, the exact same thing happened. Well, with one difference. The pro-life billboards here were called racist because they showed white babies on them. I guess to some people, you're a racist either way.

Paul B. in Phoenix writes:

The term "lynch mob" does carry a negative connotation-- to all people, not just people of color.  This term has been used throughout history to refer to  any group of angry, unruly people- -such as the lynch mobs who hung horse thieves in the old west without waiting for a trial. It sounds as though the term was used correctly in South Boston.

It's a pity that those people to whom the term was applied feel bad. Sorry folks, just because you don't like a term doesn't mean you get to play the race card. Interesting, isn't it, that it's not their rude, unruly actions, but rather the accurate description of their behavior that they feel bad about.

Roger H. in Chicago writes:

Does anyone else smell the hypocrisy of this new Wayans brothers movie where they pretend to be white women? I haven't seen the movie nor do I know the basic premise, but could you imagine the PC uproar if there was a modern movie with white actors in black face? Proving once again that you can be offensive as you like and cross any PC border without question as long as you're not white. Sad.

Jon in Seattle writes:

Your employer is a foreign-owned propaganda machine that does not have our nation's best interest in mind. It pits one side against the other to increase profits that line its pockets. It is [all about] divide and profit. That is not patriotism. It is treason.

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