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Including By Excluding, Bad Words

A teacher in Kentucky was forced to remove a Christmas tree-themed display from her classroom bulletin board because diversity nazis thought the phrase "Santa's Helpers" would be offensive to non-Christian kids who don't celebrate Christmas or believe in Santa Claus, accourting to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The teacher at Brandeis Elementary made the tree out of construction-paper cutouts of children's hands. Above it, it said: "Santa's Helpers." The teacher removed the offending phrase and put up the more inclusive one, "Happy Holidays."

Aukram Burton, the Jefferson County Public Schools' multi-cultural expert, said the district's policy calls for holiday displays that don't favor one religion over another.

"We want to include everyone and not to exclude anyone," he said.

No Tolling Bells

A group of atheists in Connecticut are demanding that a city-owned sound system housed in a Baptist church and used to belt out the sound of bells every day stop tolling because the noise unfairly promotes Christianity over other faiths, reports the Associated Press.

The state chapter of American Atheists Inc. wants the city of Griswold, Conn. to remove its sound system from the church because housing it there allows the church to benefit from use of government property.

Says William Russell, a member of the anti-bell group: ""If you read your Constitution, government is not supposed to promote any religion. What are the bells in the Baptist Church doing? Promoting religion."

The city says that, until they lose a lawsuit, the bells will stay right where they are and continue annoying the atheists.

Un-Merry Gentlemen

A high school choir in California performing at an ice-skating exhibition was asked by organizers of the show not to sing Christmas carols during the show lest one of the performers, who is Jewish, be offended, according to the Associated Press.

The Rubidoux High School Madrigals had started belting out "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" at the Outdoor Ice Skating Rink in Riverside when they were approached by a city staff member and a police officer and asked to stop singing.

They were afraid Olympic medalist Sasha Cohen, who was performing, might be offended. The skater said she knew nothing of the request.

Again...

Another parent, this one in Arizona, is threatening to file a civil rights complaint against her child's high school because he has been asked to read Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in his American Literature class, reports 3TV in Phoenix.

The mother, Dolores Fisher, is alleging that forcing her 15-year-old son to read the book, with its racial epithets, amounts to racial mistreatment. "I read it and I was in shock," she said of the book. "When I went to high school in New York, I actually didn't have to read it because it was taken off shelves."

Officials with the Peoria Unified School District and Cactus High School, where the book is required reading, say they are reviewing the school's use of the book.

Criminal Comments

A city councillor in England has been convicted of criminal charges and fined £250 for uttering a remark that "equated gay people with pedophiles," reports the BBC.

A judge in Brighton and Hove ordered city councilman Peter Willows to pay courts costs and gave him what amounts to a suspended sentence for using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress."

During a swearing-in ceremony for the local mayor earlier this year, Willows was asked whether he thought a gay man standing next to him was a pedophile, to which he replied not that one, but "it's the other gays."

The judge, Pauline Quinton, told Willows: "Because you knew that both men were gay... your remarks would inevitably be insulting."

Mailbag:

Mike W. in Texas writes:

I don't see how having to be able to speak English to be an Austin city employee can be even remotely considered to be racist. Even though the people are not aviation-related people ( as I understand it, they are the grounds keepers and such), how is it that a city government employee is not able to speak English and complete the job application and interview process?

Scott K. in Virginia writes:

I am just so tired of Hispanics crying that anytime someone says that they must speak English that it is anything at all related to racism. Hispanic is not a race, never has been never will be. So how can something non-defined be defined as it is in the media. Cultural insensitivity should be a term more used on this front. Then maybe people would start thinking differently about throwing a very harsh word around that is not applicable to something that makes more sense.

Steve B. in New Mexico writes:

In El Paso, it's advertised that if you cannot speak fluent Spanish you cannot obtain employment for the city or county or any of the utility companies. Of course, as a Caucasian male I cannot claim racism, even if it's blatant. I would be seen as a bigot for even raising the issue.

Rob B. in Fort walton Beach writes:

The Mayans are angry at Mel Gibson for showing a movie about their recorded history because it shows them in an unflattering light? The Jews are mad because the story of the bible says that the Jews had Jesus crucified, Gibson makes a movie about it, and some want to sue him? Well, as a grown white male adult, I want to make White Men Can't Jump, Roots, and Blue Chips all illegal, because they portay us in an unflattering light.

People, get over it! History happened, whether it looks good on your resume or not. Get on with your lives!

Kurt C. in Colorado writes:

Our schools have zero tolerance for weapons, for religion, and for drugs (even OTCs). When are they going to have zero tolerance for ridiculous over-reactions by teachers, principals, and administrators?

Glen in Springfield, Mo. writes:

When will people get it thru their heads that the objection that many have to homosexuality is not a phobia, it is an opinion.

Chris C. writes:

I find it amazing that the advisor for the rightly-suspended fraternity would even begin to defend such homophobic actions. It's about time that fraternities be held accountable for the hate, sexism, racism, and homophobia that prevail on many campuses. Some campuses are more progressive, but in areas of the country where homophobia is prevalent...it's good to see that there are campuses that are taking such a staunch stand against hate.

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