White-clad scarecrows put up by a farmer in Connecticut were so scary to guards and visitors at a nearby prison that he was forced to remove them by the state Agriculture Department, reports The Associated Press.

The scarecrows at Joseph Smith's farm in East Lyme, Conn., were made from the white, hooded environmental suits they wear when spraying crops. They were said to be intimidating because they resembled Ku Klux Klansmen.

The farmer said he was just trying to scare away the geese that feast on his corn, but guards and visitors at the nearby J.B. Gates Correctional Institution were upset by the figures.

Intolerance for Terror

A United Nations official in Switzerland has complained that Western countries that whip up "exaggerated fears" of terror are fostering religious and ethnic intolerance, according to Reuters.

In a report delivered in Geneva, Greek lawyer Kalliopi Koufa also says groups seeking self-determination are being stigmatized by being labeled "terrorists."

"Undue fear can foster religious or ethnic intolerance," said Koufa's report, which was presented to a session of the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Fear of terrorism "out of proportion to its actual risk and generated by states themselves or other actors" can be exploited to make people accept "counter-terrorism measures that unduly curtail human rights and humanitarian law," she said.

Now Ireland?

Irish soccer fans who fly the Confederate flag at matches because they like the colors are being told it should be banned because it's racist and insensitive in multicultural Ireland, reports Ireland Online.

Cork GAA fans, who favor just about any flag with red and white colors, were told by the Socialist Workers Party that the U.S. flags are inappropriate in this day and age.

Party spokesman Joe Moore said, "It represents the promotion of racism and slavery but Ireland is a multicultural society and such symbols should not be on display."

Bigoted?

Activists are complaining that a central Illinois church's sign expressing opposition to a gay marriage amendment pending before Congress at the time was hurtful and bigoted, reports the (Bloomington) Pantagraph.

For a week, the sign in front of the First Baptist Church in Clinton, Ill., read "God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" and "Marriage is between a man and a woman." The church's pastor described it as a means of expressing his church's opinion on a political topic.

But Bill Taylor, a member of the Clinton gay community, said he was "majorly offended" by the sign because it is teaching racism and bigotry. And Jeanne Howard, acting president of Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays in Bloomington, said such "flip and shallow commentaries from a religious body of all places, reduce discussion to slogans and lend power to intolerance."

That Word

An Alabama city councilwoman who alluded to hanging someone in her constituent newsletters is being derided as insensitive to the negative imagery such language connotes for many people in that state, according to the Mobile Register.

"If you experience dysfunctional government at work and see it firsthand like I have, you would be just as outraged as I am, and you would want to drag them into a field and hang them from a tree," wrote Pritchard, Ala., Councilwoman Earline Martin-Harris in the newsletter.

Pritchard said she wanted to use the term "lynching" because she wanted strong imagery to convey her frustration with the inertia of city government. But, mindful of the baggage that term carries, she avoided it.

No matter. Her fellow council folk were hopping mad.

"I'm very disappointed in seeing that in today's time, seeing an elected official anywhere using that type of language," said council President Ron Davis. "It's offensive and divisive. Those are some cruel words to be using in these days."

Crusader

Birmingham, England's Evening Mail reports that a church vicar there is pressing that the name of a former pub dubbed Saracen's Head be changed because Muslims might be put off by it.

Canon Rob Morris says the name is offensive. "It's clearly disrespectful to another religious tradition in this city," he said.

The building, which dates to the late 1400s, was used as an inn from the early 19th century to the 1930s.

Since then it has served as a parish community center.

Saracens was the term used for Arab fighters who clashed with Christian Crusaders in the 12th century.

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

Mailbag:

Yolanda A. writes:

While I believe in freedom of speech, it amazes me what FOX will print. I am an African American who is currently serving her country in the military. I don't use the N-word, nor am I sensitive about my hair. However, I would think that in today's day and age we would be smarter about the things we say.

One of your readers commented that he doubted "10 blacks even knew who Ted Rall is" and that "most will agree Dr. Rice is a House-N**." I would submit that the person who said this is just plain ignorant.

Instead of classifying us all as liberals who are selective in our outrage, talk to a few of us and you will see that many (such as myself) are educated and informed moderates who respect Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice for the great Americans that they are.

Heather P. writes:

Does Judith Schaeffer feel like a "second-class citizen" in a graveyard because of the cross tombstones that abound? I'm so tired of my religious worship being limited by those whose faith is so thin that they cannot look upon another's religious symbols without getting defensive about it.

Separation of Church and State says that congress can't make a law that limits religious worship. All of this PC garbage is against constitutional law.

Robert A. writes:

I am both amazed and amused that community activist Onie Cooper is from Louisiana and finds the advertisement with the the words "Where you at?" to be racist and offensive, resurrecting "an ethnic form of slavery."

I am also from Louisiana, and am from a group affectionately known as "yats." New Orleanians have been called "yats" because part of the culture in New Orleans is to greet someone with the phrase "where you at?"... in New Orleans shortened to "Where y'at?" In New Orleans, this is neither black nor white, it is cultural. The phrase has been used in countless ads, cartoons, and humorous stories about New Orleans, and at no time have I heard New Orleanians complain about being "exploited."

Being from Louisiana with its diverse culture and its long history of advertising directed at the different cultures there, you would think that Onie Cooper would recognize that this type of advertising is directed at connecting with a particular audience and not racist.

Alicia T. writes:

So let me get this straight: When blacks cry racism they are PC nuts; but when a black person calls a white person a 'cracker' YOU start crying "hate crime." Ha! Ha! Who is the PC nut now?

Kevin R. writes:

I simply do not understand how it was not considered a hate crime when an angry woman referred to an off-duty white police officer as "cracker." Can you tell me that if a loud person in the movie theater had referred to an off-duty black police officer as "n-----" that would also not be a hate crime? I doubt it.

When will the hypocrisy of this "hate-crime law" concept finally be recognized?

Michael F. corrects us:

Rev. Cleaver is not the incumbent in Missouri's Fifth Congressional District. Both he and Jamie Metzl are running in the Democratic primary for the open seat to replace Rep. Karen McCarthy, who is retiring.

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