A high school senior in the Chicago area complained to district officials because religious people were allowed to speak at a school-wide assembly, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

George Soto says his school, Lane Technical High School, allowed representatives from the Seven Project, a ministry of the Assemblies of God, to hold two "character education" assemblies on school premises. He called lawyers for the school board to express his concerns about the separation of church and state over the issue.

Lane Tech's principal, Keith Foley (along with a teacher who attended the event) says God or faith was not mentioned once. The speakers talked about, for example, "never giving up, quoting Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Sir Edmund Hillary," said Foley. The speakers did invite the students back later that evening to a second event in which a spiritual message is conveyed.

Soto didn't even attend the assembly, however. He sat it out along with four other students in the principal's office.

While he was on the subject, Soto also complained that Foley keeps a Bible on the desk in his school office, promoted his Christian beliefs by allowing the school's gospel choir to perform "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" during last year's Christmas program and supports the school's abstinence-only sex education curriculum.

Now It's an Issue

Now that a prominent Muslim has been caught up in the dragnet targeting politically incorrect speech in Britain, the chief of the Metropolitan Police says it may be time to rethink how and whether the police chase offenders.

The Independent says Sir Ian Blair is moving to end such "pointless and costly" investigations into allegedly homophobic and racist statements broadcast on radio and television. Currently, police are required to investigate any complaints from viewers and listeners as potential "hate" crimes.

The announcement comes days after the Met began investigating Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, over a BBC Radio 4 interview in which he voiced his view that homosexuality was "not acceptable."

Earlier police investigations of Christians, right-wing politicians and college kids who use the phrase "gay" to describe police horses didn't prompt any re-thinks by Sir Ian.

Oh, Well. It's Okay Then

A man in the UK attempted to defend his use of racist epithets aimed at police by claiming in court that the insults are part of his cultural identity and he didn't mean no disrespect, according to the Times.

Lawyers for Robin Sterling claimed that his use of such phrases as "white trash" and "white p----", after he was arrested at a pub in Gloucester, were part of his Jamaican patois.

"He uses patois and common swear words in place of polite addresses," the lawyer told the court. "His language is part of a separate cultural identity and not intended to cause any harm."

Sterling was convicted of two charges of racial harassment and one of assaulting a policeman, but was ordered to do community service instead of service time in jail.

Slow News Day in Toronto

A writer for the Toronto Star is shocked that U.S. carmakers are starting to use attractive women again to showcase their wares at the annual Detroit auto show.

Tony Van Alpen writes that the use of female models has always been a fixture of European and Japanese auto shows, but the practice disappeared at North American shows because of public sensitivity that it might demean women.

"There is some element of shock that this may be coming back," Darla Campbell, president of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, told him.

'Vikettes'

Radio Iowa says a school there is under pressure to change the name of it's girls' sports teams, currently the "Vikettes," to the boys' "Vikings" because the former is demeaning to the girls.

Teams at the Vinton-Shellsburg school district in Benton County have been so named for at least 30 years. Officials say it gives the school a sense of history and pride, but some of the female students see the suffix as patronizing and demeaning.

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

Mailbag:

Lou F. corrects us:

Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania. It is not in Bucks County; it is in Dauphin County. The capital of Bucks County (and hence the site of the courthouse) is Doylestown.

Esther in North Carolina writes:

The woman who bought the California comic book should have had the sense to learn something/anything about the plot line of the comic. It's not the publisher's job to make sure her kid doesn't get a hold of anything offensive or that could "warp" his mind. The responsibility of policing what her son reads and absorbs falls on her, and the kid's other primary care giver(s), if there are any.

It's a parent's duty to be aware of and filter what their kid reads/watches/listens to/etc. This lady should have made time to know what she was giving her son.

Saul B. writes:

The fact that the girls got the purses for Christmas shouldn't even come into the picture. The fact remains the symbol is considered racist. If the girls walked in with a Swastika on their purse, even if it were for Christmas, they would be taken away. This is not political correctness, this is common sense.

Timothy B. writes:

Who started this whole Politically Correct business anyway? We are all free to think and say what we please. With the exception of shouting fire in a crowded theater, and other obvious statements like threats, we are free to speak and think as we please. I can say I do not like someone for any reason I choose. It is not against the law to dislike someone because of their color, religious beliefs or any other reasons; albeit, it may be ignorant, we can still think and speak as we please.

When will people realize that throughout your life you will be offended and appalled and even outraged at others for their beliefs or what they say and think? That is just the way it is. As long as we feel guilt every time someone gets offended, the insanity will never stop.

Everyone’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression should be as vigorously defended as any other constitutional right. I can dislike someone for any reason and express that dislike any time as long as I am willing to deal with consequences from the offended. What you cannot do is infringe on their rights, that are the same as your rights, and nowhere do I see a right to not be offended, appalled and outraged.

Toby in LaPine writes:

I frequently read tongue tied at work and am unable to respond. Too many issues and too little time. I work for the government and I'm sure either my response, or the fact that I read tongue tied at all, would violate company PC. Unable to pick one single moronic complaint to focus on, I suggest George Orwell's 1984 be required reading for all high school students. When everyone turns to government to regulate someone else, we all become someone else regulated by the government.

Brian G. writes:

"Monkey Business" reminded me of what happened at a lecture at the University of Minnesota, Moorhead, several decades ago. A man was talking about Icelandic customs and culture to a lecture hall filled with people from the mostly-Scandinavian community. At one point he said that Icelanders tend to take statements personally. From somewhere in the back of the lecture hall, a voice rang out: "I do not!"

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