Archive for March 30th, 2010

 “The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other”Alexis de Tocqueville

While visiting Turkey last year, Brother O told the audience that Americans no longer consider their country a “a Christian nation … but a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”

And now with Easter only a week away, the city of Davenport, Iowa, decides to erase Good Friday from its municipal calendar

The Davenport Civil Rights Commission had called for the eradication of Good Friday to reflect city diversity and maintain a separation of church and state, which prompted city Administrator Craig Malin to make the name change unilaterally, and then he sent a memo around to municipal employees informing them that Good Friday was now “Spring Holiday.”

“We merely made a recommendation that the name be changed to something other than Good Friday. Our Constitution calls for separation of church and state. Davenport touts itself as a diverse city and given all the different types of religious and ethnic backgrounds we represent, we suggested the change,” said Tim Hart, commission chairman. 

Hart said the commission did not propose a name change for Easter Sunday because the holiday falls on a weekend when government offices are already closed. The commission had discussed name changing Christmas, but decided against it because other religions celebrate Christmas too. When asked to name some of the religions that celebrate Christmas too, Hart couldn’t name one.

If a Christian nation is one whose values, society, and institutions have largely been shaped by Christian and biblical principles, then what’s just transpired in Davenport, Iowa, may prove Brother O actually told the truth for once.

I am disappointed … I am forlorn …

I.M. Kane


Iowa Town Renames Good Friday to ‘Spring Holiday’

By Russell Goldman

Citing the Separation of Church and State, Davenport Nixes Holy Day

One week before the most solemn day in the Christian year, the city of Davenport, Iowa removed Good Friday from its municipal calendar, setting off a storm of complaints from Christians and union members whose contracts give them that day off.

Taking a recommendation by the Davenport Civil Rights Commission to change the holiday’s name to something more ecumenical, City Administrator Craig Malin sent a memo to municipal employees announcing Good Friday would officially be known as “Spring Holiday.”

“My phone has been ringing off the hook since Saturday,” said city council alderman Bill Edmond. “People are genuinely upset because this is nothing but political correctness run amok.”

Edmond said the city administrator made the change unilaterally and did not bring it to the council for a vote, a requirement for a change in policy.

“The city council didn’t know anything about the change. We were blind sided and now we’ve got to clean this mess up. How do you tell people the city renamed a 2,000 year old holiday?” said Edmond.

It didn’t take long for the city the resurrect the name Good Friday. Malin was overruled today and the words “Spring Holiday” disappeared.

Good Friday commemorates the day Jesus was crucified and died. Christians celebrate his resurrection the following Sunday, Easter.

The Civil Rights Commission said it recommended changing the name to better reflect the city’s diversity and maintain a separation of church and state when it came to official municipal holidays.

“We merely made a recommendation that the name be changed to something other than Good Friday,” said Tim Hart, the commission’s chairman. “Our Constitution calls for separation of church and state. Davenport touts itself as a diverse city and given all the different types of religious and ethnic backgrounds we represent, we suggested the change.”

News of the change could not have come at more significant time in the Christian calendar. News of the name change spread through the town on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, becoming a topic of conversation at church services throughout Davenport.

Davenport Dispute Over Good Friday

“If you deny the idea of Good Friday then you have to deny Easter,” Monsignor Robert Schmidt told ABC affiliate WQAD.

Hart said the commission had no plans to change the name of Easter Sunday, because it fell on a weekend and government offices were already closed. The commission, he said, discussed changing Christmas, but decided enough other religions celebrate Christmas too. Hart, however, could not name one.

The religious right has attacked town governments that have removed public Christmas displays, calling such practices a “war on Christmas.”

City employees, beginning with local police, feared the name change would violate their union contracts with the city, which specifies Good Friday as an official municipal holiday. Employees that work city holidays are paid time and a half.

Davenport officials called the name change an “error.”

“The City of Davenport will be observing “Good Friday” as a City Holiday on April 2,” read a statement released today.

“City Administrator Malin, in error, forwarded the recommendation to staff for further review and action, leading to release of a holiday notice with the holiday named ‘Spring Holiday,’ rather than “Good Friday,” read the release.

Davenport’s mayor said people were right to be angry but that Good Friday would continue to be acknowledged.

“I understand why people were so upset,” said Mayor Bill Gluba. “My position is we have a lot more important issues. We’ll fix this and move on.”

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“[W]hat if we simply decide not to be offended. What if we just take the sting out of these words and use them as terms of affection. … What if we all just agreed that words can’t hurt?”—Lenny Bruce

“Now we can’t even say nigger to condemn its use. We have to call it the ‘N-word.’ How pathetic.”—Orson Bean


Lenny Bruce: ‘We agree to be offended by certain words.’

By Orson Bean

Lenny Bruce was my idol in those days. He performed at the Village Vanguard, a Greenwich Village jazz joint which also booked comics on occasion. I was an up-and-coming comic and worked the club from time to time myself. But when Lenny was on, I sat in the back of the room to learn from the master.

The nineteen fifties was a time of tumultuous change. Integration had been made the law of the land. President Eisenhower had ordered the national guard to escort a small group of Black children into their school in Little Rock. They had to pass through a mob of adults screaming nigger. Nigger, nigger, nigger. What a terrible word. Lenny Bruce decided to deal with the issue.

One night at the Vanguard I watched in shocked amazement as he pointed to a customer and said, “Oh look, we’ve got a nigger here tonight.” The crowd froze. “And another darky is with him and a third jigaboo.” The silence was deafening. But Lenny was an advocate of the old show business maxim: if you’ve gone too far… go farther. He’d only just begun “Look over here”, he said, “A kike. And a mocky is at the table with him. And we got two spicks in the back. Hey, there’s a fag at the bar.” Slowly, the laughter began.

Lenny said nigger a hundred times. Finally the crowd was howling. The pure outrageousness of it all had gotten to them and they simply had no choice.

When Lenny had them where he wanted them he turned serious. “It’s all arbitrary,” he told the crowd. “We agree to be offended by certain words. What if we decided that the word dentist was offensive. You dirty rotten dentist! Then that would become the insult du jour.

But what if we simply decide not to be offended. What if we just take the sting out of these words and use them as terms of affection. ‘Hey niggah, how ya doin’? ‘Fine, honky, an’ you?’  What if we all just agreed that words can’t hurt? Then nobody could scream insults at a poor little Black girl in Little Rock.”

How poor Lenny’s wishes have not come true. Now we can’t even say nigger to condemn its use. We have to call it the “N-word.” How pathetic. And the “F-word” is next as the gay rebellion takes charge. At least you can still go outside to smoke. But certain words are taboo anywhere.

The left has decided to insult the tea party people by calling them tea baggers. First, they had to explain it was an insult by pointing out that it was an obscure sexual term. I’d never heard of it; not many Americans had. But the tea party folks, on cue, dutifully chose to be insulted. What if they hadn’t.

Tea bagger is kind of cute, really. It’s a better nickname than tea party. And you could hold up little Tetley tea bags. Why not co-opt the name. Overnight, they couldn’t insult you anymore. It would annoy them and they’d stop trying and look for some other way to put you down.

While I’m on the subject of Lenny Bruce, he had a great routine on the subject of nature versus nurture. It went like this: the infant child of a pair of brilliant physicists is lost in the woods. Raised by a pack of wild dogs, he finds his way out again at the age of eighteen and goes on to graduate with honors from M.I.T. But a year after that he’s killed chasing a car.

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HIGH SCHOOL – 1960 vs. 2010 (H-T Dr. L)

Scenario 1

Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack:

1960 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2010 – School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2

Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school:

1960 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2010 – Police called and SWAT team arrives—they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged them with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3

Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students:

1960 – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2010 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The school gets extra money from the state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4

Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt:

1960 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.

2010 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 5

Pedro fails high school English:

1960 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2010 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by the state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 6

Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed:

1960 – Ants die.

2010 – ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents—and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 7

Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him:

1960 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2010 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Scenario   8 

Mark gets a headache and brings some aspirin to school: 

1960 – Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock. 

2010 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

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