Dispatches > Quotables


Issue: "Turkey: A terrible toll," Sept. 4, 1999

I do not want to be expelled from school for using the word God in a reverent manner.

16-year-old Stephanie Vega, a Texas public-school student selected by her classmates to lead prayers before Santa Fe High School football games, on why she declined the honor. School superintendent Richard Ownby had warned that any student who led prayers at the school's Sept. 3 opener "would be disciplined as if they had cursed." Mr. Ownby was responding to a ruling of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that held earlier this year that prayers before football games are illegal.

I don't want 20 years from now for my children to ask me where all the animals and insects went. But I don't want to have to tell the residents that their city lost millions because of a fly. There has to be a middle ground.

Colton, Calif., town manager Henry Garcia, on the federal government's designation of the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly as an endangered species. The city has $11 million in debt tied up in an idle electrical substation that was built to supply power to proposed commercial developments jeopardized by Washington's determination to protect the habitat of the fly.

Would even bacteria have rights?

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Richard Epstein, a University of Chicago law professor, ridiculing the newly developing field of animal-rights law. Animal-rights lawyers last month successfully forced the cancellation of a pigeon shoot in Pennsylvania. Prof. Epstein said an expansion of animal rights beyond mere animal cruelty laws would strike at the heart of the economic system. One animal-rights theorist, Gary Francione of Rutgers University, recommends that a suit be filed on behalf of gorillas, contending that "they should be declared to be 'persons' under the Constitution."

It's too bad people are so unaccepting and intolerant.

Southwest High School (Minneapolis) librarian David Nielson, who now wishes to be known as Debra Davis, responding to a complaint by a female teacher who objects to Mr. Nielson's use of the women's bathroom. Mr. Nielson dresses as a woman and calls himself "transgender." Minnesota is the only state that affords protection by law to those who identify themselves as transgender.


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