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June 29, 2005

Religion, minus the "G" word

You can write about religion, but don't dare mention..well, you know, the "G" word.

For using the "G" word 41 times in a term paper, Bethany Hauf was given an "F" by her Victor Valley Community College instructor.

Hauf's teacher approved her term paper topic - Religion and its Place within the Government - on one condition: Don't use the word God. Instead of complying with VVCC adjunct instructor Michael Shefchik's condition Hauf wrote a 10-page report for her English 101 class entitled "In God We Trust."

"He said it would offend others in class," Hauf, a 34-year-old mother of four, said. "I didn't realize God was taboo."

Hope the potential offendees never look too close at the money in their wallets. The idea that a report on religion should avoid the word God is akin to writing about the role of government in general without using the words "law" and "order".

I suppose that the teacher can place whatever restrictions he wanted to on classroom assignments. Still, this particular restriction seems one that was designed to ensure failure or at least discourage the topic. The American Center for Law and Justice is representing Hauf, asking for an apology and a re-grading of the paper. Oh, and one other nice bit of irony.

In addition to an apology and a re-grading of Hauf's paper, the ACLJ demands Shefchik "receive some kind of training to sensitize him to the constitutional dimensions of his employment in a public educational institution, including his duty to respect constitutional freedoms of expression."

Sensitivity ought to work both ways.

Posted by Doug at June 29, 2005 04:09 PM

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Tracked on June 30, 2005 01:30 AM


Who cares about "sensitivity"? Let's just go with free speech. If my religious convictions would let me gamble, my money would be on the ACLJ. Big time.

Posted by: tgharris at June 29, 2005 06:12 PM