Friday, February 13, 2009

Praying for the Ill is Offensive

A British nurse has been suspended for offering to say a prayer for a patient who was seriously ill in a National Health Service (NHS) hospital. She was deemed to be in breach of her employment conditions, which required her to ‘demonstrate a personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity’ at all times. Compassion is clearly not thought of as important. It is interesting that her own rights to be respected are deemed as secondary to the right of the organizational culture of no tolerance for care, which she was clearly trying to display. She is not alone, College of Alameda in California threatened a student with expulsion after she prayed for her ailing professor while on school property, deeming the act "insulting behavior."

It’s part of the “world gone mad” political correctness movement, which is policed by such august bodies as Human Rights Commissions and Commissions for Racial Equality. It is this movement that led the British government to deny freedom of speech to a Dutch MP who was to speak in the House of Lords against the spread of Islam in Europe – he was denied entry to the country.

While one can understand concerns being raised over Carole Thatcher’s repeated use of the term “golliwog” to refer to a black tennis player or with Prince Harry’s use of “rag head” to refer to Taliban fighters (the ones we sent him out to kill), the reaction to even a small infraction of the sensibilities of excessively sensitive people seems, to put it mildly, stupid.

For example, Jeremy Clarkson (never known for being subtle) recently referred to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown as a one eyed (correct), Scottish (correct) idiot (matter of opinion, but growingly correct) and was castigated for doing so. This is very mild in comparison to the attacks on Churchill or Disreali, but in our every sensitive society it was deemed an almost dismissible offence – Jeremy is the lead presenter on the BBC show Top Gear. So even truthful but harsh criticism is deemed now socially unacceptable.

Other examples that I find amazing:

• Hundreds of schools in the UK have forbidden teachers to mark with red ink for fear of upsetting children.

• A new £4.7million school has opened to controversy after banning the word ’school’ from its title because it has ‘negative connotations’.

• A provincial government in Australia wants to re-name a mountain that has an allegedly offensive name - Niggerhead. Some aboriginals, however, find the proposed new name equally as offensive - Jaithmathangs.

• An inner city marching band that was chosen to march in the Inaugural Parade in Washington DC for President Obama, the first black president in American history. Less than a month before the event, and just as the school is set for Christmas vacation, the band receive a 26-page letter from Religious Americans Against Indian Nicknames and Logos threatening litigation against the school's use of the nickname, The Chiefs. That is exactly what happened to the Wyandotte Roosevelt High School Marching Chiefs, of Wyandotte, Michigan, just outside of Detroit.

The worst of all of this is what we have done to Christmas. We can’t call it Christmas, it’s now officially “the holidays”. Some who display Christmas trees in shop windows in the UK have been cautioned by the police and schools have all but stopped having nativity plays. Meanwhile, Muslims are given ever leeway to pray.

A fellow blogger suggests that political correctness is “a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end”. Maybe he’s right.

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