A magnetic sign outside a Long Beach, Miss., church reading "There is one God, and His name is not Allah" is so "hurtful" that it is causing what The Associated Press calls an "uproar" in town.

Several residents said they were offended by the sign. They see it as an attack on the faith of Islam and say it is inappropriate, especially with the passing of the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

"It was so hurtful and I couldn't believe it," said Long Beach resident Patti Young. "I feel like it's not showing unity; it's showing division."

The minister of the church, the Rev. Dan Huggins, maintains that he was only trying to challenge people, not antagonize them.

"It was a challenge to people's thinking and their faith," he said. "A lot of people in our society are so tolerant of other gods and they'll accept anything. As a Christian, I have to stand up for what I believe in."

Not a Prayer

A self-described atheist failed in his bid to stop Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley from holding a prayer ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Clint Harris, a 49-year-old unemployed former resale shop proprietor, sued the city, saying that he hoped the lawsuit would prevent his 6-year-old daughter, Sajni, from having to participate in any Sept. 11 prayer events at school.

"I would think it would be offensive to any atheist -- not the prayers but the mayor holding them," Harris said.

U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle Sr. denied Harris' preliminary injunction motion, however.

"Ceremonies to mark the events and honor those who died are an important part of the nation's collective grieving," the judge wrote in his opinion. "There is an undeniable religious aspect to ceremonies such as this, for people often seek solace in religion after events as horrific as September 11th."

Free Speech Equals Hate Speech

Pro-Palestinian protesters stormed a university building where former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to speak in Montreal last week, forcing officials to cancel the event, reports the National Post.

The protesters threw chairs and smashed windows at Concordia University before police moved in and dispersed them. Five demonstrators were taken into custody. A visibly tense Netanyahu later blamed the incident on "mad zealotry run amok."

Some of the several hundred people who gathered to protest Netanyahu's visit accused him of being a terrorist and said he had no right to propagate anti-Palestinian views.

"There's no free speech for hate speech," said protester David Battistuzzi, 24, a former Concordia student.

American Academia at Its Best

The conservative Young America's Foundation is out with its annual list of the wackiest and most politically correct courses on American college campuses. Among the highlights:

-- Brown University's Seeing Queerly: Queer Theory, Film, and Video. This course asks, "While Cinema has typically circumscribed vision along (hetro) [sic] sexually normative lines, can film also empower viewers to see 'queerly'?"

-- Black Feminism at the University of Missouri, which examines "the multiple systems of oppression on Black women's lives and Black women's collective actions against social structures."

-- The University of Florida's Ecofeminism, in which students study "western tradition's naturalization of women and feminization of nature, drawing the conclusion that the domination of women and the domination of nature are intimately connected and mutually reinforcing."

-- Black Marxism at Vassar College. Students learn how "the growth of global racism suggests the symmetry of the expansion of capitalism and globalization of racial hierarchy."

Xmas in September

A city council in Britain is urging the local trade council to cancel its annual Christmas carol competition because some children might not win and their feelings would be hurt as a result, reports the BBC.

Organizer Maggie Richardson, president of North Shields Chamber of Trade and Commerce, asked the North Tyneside Council to help recruit local schools for the contest but it declined.

"We did advise that it might be more acceptable to schools if the event was not held in the form of a competition but the decision rests with the chamber of trade," a spokesman for North Tyneside Council said.

The contest in the past has raised hundreds of pounds for the local council and entertained shoppers as they buy gifts at a Victorian market in the town center every December.

Further Adventures in Etymology

Scientists at Harvard University have come up with news that may help millions of men: They have succeeded in growing major parts of penises in the laboratory, reports Reuters.

The test tube penile parts were successfully used to rebuild the members of rabbits who -- after rest and recuperation -- put them to the use for which rabbits are famous. Researchers are now trying to grow entire penises in the test tube.

The headline on the story reports of new hope for "genitally challenged" men.

No Problem There

Some 30 Danes marched in a "fat parade" Thursday on the sidelines of a European Union conference on obesity to call attention to discrimination faced by overweight people, reports the AP.

The group, mostly women dressed in oversized orange T-shirts, walked through downtown Copenhagen holding flowers and a banner. The 38-year-old organizer, Hanne Olsen, said they had no specific complaints but "just wanted to make sure people see us."

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Jay M. writes:

I think it is the height of cowardice to cave in to the forces of PC when they are so wrong. Imagine this poor teacher being compelled to grovel so basely merely for the crime of, well, being a good teacher. Congratulations to the complainer who couldn't be bothered to read her child's own lesson or pick up a dictionary. Now your child can look forward to a bland, unenlightened, dumbed down, yet "safe" education. Unfortunately, now so does everyone else's kid. Why can no one stand up to these people?

John M. writes:

What are we to do in classrooms about the tiger in Winnie the Pooh? His name is Tigger. Can't say that. How are we to compare the size of objects if we can't use the term bigger? I guess we can say larger. Tigger and bigger have about as much relationship to the "N" word as does the word niggardly. This nonsense trivializes the cause of equality.

Timothy O. writes:

I personally enjoy when language becomes a subject of debate, simply because words sound alike. Local Southern Baptists back home would complain about my use of the word mastication, it always brought a smile to my face, but then, oddly, I would get sad. I am saddened by the realization that we should stop giving dictionaries to stupid people, because language is obviously too much for them to handle.

Heather in Pennsylvania writes:

In response to the people at Berkley who felt the presence of the American flag would make foreign students feel excluded from the event: In our little town, American flags have been flown everyday for a month. Who is responsible for raising the flags every morning and taking them down every night? A Russian who attended school here and he has no problems with it!

Jeff B. in Pittsburg writes:

It's a telling sign when those dedicated to the idea of "diversity" become more and more restrictive in their definition of what constitutes a diverse population. Much more and the country will consist of a conglomeration of unassociated groups of indistinguishable faces... didn't they try that in Germany with the Ghetto System?

Eric M. in Madison, Wis., writes:

The irony of the University's initial decision to prohibit the use of the Mountaineer Mascot's antique gun is that Badger games are played in Camp Randall Stadium, located on the site where tens of thousands of Union soldiers trained (presumably on how to use their guns) during the Civil War.

Thankfully, because the gun is only fired after a West Virginia score, very little gunfire was heard on gameday, thus offending very few people.

Bob G. in Providence, R.I., writes:

I worked for nearly 10 years as a stage lighting director. Dark skin IS harder to work with on stage. You have to avoid all colors in the purple family (lavender, indigo, etc) because it makes dark skin look green. You also can't combine blue and red (which makes purple). Lavender is often used to support blue, red and green based scenes without impacting the color theme. Therefore, with darker skinned musicians, you need to use flesh tone colors (peach, salmon, golden amber) for accentuation. All of this means nothing other than the fact that you need to be a good enough director to adapt. It is, however the truth.

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