The ACLU has stepped up its assault on scouting by insisting that the pledge "to do my duty to God and my country" makes the group ineligible for any sort of government funding or support, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Scouting councils across the nation are said to be scrambling to find new sponsors for thousands of Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs whose charters are held by taxpayer-funded institutions, including public schools, following a challenge from the ACLU that such public sponsorship is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

An ACLU spokesman, Ed Yohnka, said the group is concerned that public sponsorship of Boy Scout troops tramples on the rights of boys who want to participate in Scouting without publicly pledging allegiance to God.

Pope-ophobia

A parent at a public school in Nevada has complained about her child's school showing students parts of Pope John Paul II's funeral on television last week, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

The parent of an elementary school student in Washoe County said she was concerned that showing the pope's funeral sends a mixed message about what is allowed in public schools about religion.

School officials said they just wanted to show children an example of a historical world event. "If there are parents who don't want their children participating, they can opt out," one said.

LOL

Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal says racism is the only possible explanation for the NBA's current efforts to raise the minimum playing age to 20, according to ESPN.

Players currently have to be at least 18 to be drafted, but NBA commissioner David Stern would like to see the age raised to 20. But O'Neal insists: "As a black guy, you kind of think [race is] the reason why it's coming up."

"You don't hear about it in baseball or hockey. To say you have to be 20, 21 to get in the league, it's unconstitutional. If I can go to the U.S. Army and fight the war at 18, why can't you play basketball for 48 minutes?" O'Neal said.

Guardians of the Public Interest

The Des Moines Register has ruined a few high school seniors' days by relaying to school officials one parent's complaint about "sexist and inappropriate" awards to be handed out at a banquet. School officials promptly canceled them.

The lone parent complained that awards for "best butt," "best body" and "best legs" violated the school's sexual harassment policy by being "sexist, inappropriate and harassing."

Human resources officials at Roosevelt High School apparently agreed, much to the chagrin of most students.

"For some of the seniors, that might be the only award they ever get in their high school years," said student Paul Hall. "I would feel happy if I got one."

The Pollys Are Out!

The Collegiate Network's annual Polly Awards for outstanding achievement in the area of politically correct nuttiness on American college campuses are out.

Faithful readers will recognize many of the examples already, but it's worth revisiting them – if only to remind parents that they should screen their choice of college carefully before agreeing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars on an indoctrination at the hands of the worst detritus of the 1960s generation.

Duke University in North Carolina gets an award this year for spending more than $50,000 on a tactical training session for activists dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, and Lemoyne College is smacked for expelling a graduate student who wrote a paper rejecting multiculturalism and advocating light spanking in elementary school classrooms.

At the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, a professor came under intense fire for a remark about the financial planning habits of homosexuals, and a student at Occidental College is convicted of sexually harassing the whole school over the radio.

Finally, Harvard is in a class by itself this year for demonizing Larry Summers when he dared to suggest that there may be innate differences between men and women. This is what you get for your $30,000 a year in tuition.

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

Mailbag:

Jim H. writes:

As a 22-year veteran teacher, I rarely use red ink for correcting or grading papers, but it isn't because I'm worried about the so-called negative impact that red ink allegedly causes for students. I use purple and green ink ... and sometimes orange ... because I prefer those colors over the more traditional and boring red ink. Perhaps if more students were embarrassed by the amount of red ink on their papers, then perhaps they might try harder to turn in quality work.

Keith S. writes:

I shudder to think what people in other countries must think of us Americans when they read such things as the quote from psychologist Michael Tomaro, stating that saying "God Bless You" could "trigger latent fears in passengers who aren't terribly comfortable aboard an airliner." Pretty soon sneezing or even unusually loud breathing will be triggering "latent fears." What a bunch of wimps we Americans have become!

Rob O. in Indiana writes:

I read the segment on "Flying Fears" where some passengers were concerned about the flight attendant using the phrase "God bless you" at the end of her thanking them for flying with the airline. The response of passenger Bicknell and the comments of psychologist Tomaro at first were so funny that I almost fell off my chair. But then I began to wonder, what has happened to people in this country? When did some of us get so sensitive that we get so offended and concerned when someone else wishes us well?

I could understand their "concerns" if the flight attendant had put a "hex" or "curse" on the passengers or wished that they tripped getting off the plane or that their first born would undergo a sex change operation, but to ask God's blessing on them … come on. If these two individuals and others like them are so sensitive and concerned as to be offended, then may God not only bless us but help us as a nation as well.

Michael H. writes:

How would Christians feel to be constantly bombarded with messages trying to persuade them toward some other religion? How would they like it coming from their government? "That's not likely." Lucky you.

It happens non-stop for those of us who aren't Christian, those who aren't comfortable with Christianity's legacy of inquisitions and immolations. Freedom of speech and religion means people can say whatever they want, and I support that completely. But it doesn't mean people can charge me through my taxes to promote their faith. If "faith-based initiatives" are not meant to be Christian marketing, then please take all propaganda out of the soup kitchens I'm being charged for and we're square.

Ryan C. writes:

What the folks who complain about the flag being flown at half staff need to realize is that the pope is also a head of state and a revered world figure, not just to Catholics. Flying the flag at half staff indicates respect, not endorsement of any specific religion.

Rick D. writes:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is not "a Wisconsin anti-religion group." It is a pro-First Amendment of the United States Constitution group. You know, the one that goes "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Jeremy H. writes:

While out and about in Ohio, I noticed the flag at half staff for the pope at a local post office. I must admit this did get me upset, as it is government endorsement of one particular religion. I am a Christian, but not a Catholic, and I found this half-staff flag flying to be offensive. I wonder if Ted Kennedy would be upset about the apparent lack of separation of church and state. I doubt it!

Stuart B. corrects us:

Your tongue must have affected your keyboard. Half-mast refers to ships and boats. Half-staff would be the correct term to refer to a flag on a land-based structure.

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