Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Next to go: snowpersons

St. Paul pall: Easter Bunny bounced from city hall

I guess this is an update to December's Merry Christmas article.

As reported in the Chicago Sun-Times:

"A small Easter display was removed from the lobby Wednesday out of concern that it would offend non-Christians.

"The display -- a cloth bunny, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words ''Happy Easter'' -- was put up by a city council secretary. They were not purchased with city money.

"Tyrone Terrill, the city's human rights director, asked that the decorations be removed. Terrill said no citizen had complained to him."
I'm unclear what evidence of human rights abuses Mr. Terrill found on the bunny or even why St. Paul has a human rights director. Unless they've an Abu Ghraib to hide the city can always invite human rights inspectors from the United Nations or Red Cross.

Though no one was reportedly offended by the bunny, its city hall eviction has offended plenty, including some council members -- but not all:

"The council president, Kathy Lantry, said the removal wasn't about political correctness.

"'As government, we have a different responsibility about advancing the cause of religion, which we are not going to do,' she said."

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently co-wrote an editorial for the Washington Post, Not By Math Alone, with a warning about people like St. Paul's city council president and human rights director:

"A healthy democracy depends on the participation of citizens, and that participation is learned behavior; it doesn't just happen."

Where do you think St. Paul's patriots learned their behavior? Across the nation patriots like Lantry and Terrill are booting prayer from schools, the ten commandments from court houses, Native American tribe names from college teams, nativity scenes from lawns, "Merry Christmas" from Christmas cards, and giving children birth control without their parents' knowledge. Justice O'Connor is right--it doesn't just happen.

Ms. Lantry is in good company confusing the purpose and meaning of the First Amendment's non-establishment clause. That same company is confused about what is and isn't political correctness. Freedom of Speech is about being tolerant of speech, even speech as offensive as cloth bunnies and pastel-colored eggs. Political correctness is about silencing speech someone may find offensive. Since someone can always find something offensive there's no limit to what shouldn't be said.

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