Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "John Smoltz: The closer," Aug. 3, 2002

Banned in Ann Arbor

When an Ann Arbor high-school senior sought to discuss homosexuality and religion, school officials censored the text of her proposed speech. So she and her mother filed a lawsuit against the school district and several administrators, reports Sean Salai in The Washington Times. Ironically, the talk was given during Pioneer High School's "2002 Diversity Week." "Sexuality implies an action, and there are people who have been straight, then gay, then straight again," Betty Hansen wrote in a censored passage. "I completely and wholeheartedly support racial diversity, but I can't accept religious and sexual ideas or actions that are wrong." The lawsuit, which is backed by the Thomas More Law Center, asserts that the school violated her religious freedom. "In their zeal to promote the homosexual agenda during this so-called Diversity Week, school officials gave a powerful lesson of intolerance and bigotry toward traditional Christian beliefs," said Richard Thompson, the group's chief counsel. "This is nothing short of hypocrisy and parents of Pioneer High School students need to know what is being disguised as education in the Ann Arbor public school system."

The night Vermont went out in Georgia

Susan Freer has three sons from a marriage that ended in 1995. A visitation agreement with her ex-husband in Georgia bars the children from staying overnight with a parent who is living with someone who is not a spouse or relative. In July 2000, Ms. Freer and a lesbian partner went to Vermont and established a civil union under the state's landmark law that extends marriage rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples. Her ex-husband invoked the visitation agreement. Ms. Freer sued, arguing that she met the agreement's qualifications because she and her partner were legally married. She also claimed the Georgia Defense of Marriage Act (GDMA) was unconstitutional. That law confines marriage to a man and a woman. The courts ruled against her, and on appeal, the Georgia Supreme Court on July 19 unanimously agreed: Vermont's civil unions aren't marriages. It also upheld the constitutionality of the GDMA. So went the first legal test of the Vermont law.

The archdruid of Canterbury?

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Rowan Williams is about to take two religious positions. He's becoming the new Archbishop of Canterbury. He's also becoming a druid this month, reports Ruth Gledhill of The Times of London. The Anglican leader will "don a long white cloak while druids chant a prayer to the ancient god and goddess of the land," she writes. Then "Dr. Williams will close his hands in prayer while the archdruid, wearing a crown and shield over his bardic robes, will enfold them in his own and utter words of welcome. That will be the moment that Dr. Williams, who will adopt a new, bardic name, is accepted into the white druidic order." This initiation has caused consternation among British evangelicals, while other churchmen have denied that the druids are actually pagans. Archdruid Robyn Lewis defended his group. "Ours is a very respectable society," he told the paper. "The ceremony is not pagan. It is just a ceremony."

Do as we say, not as we do

When media outlets complain about stock options, it's hypocrisy. Former mutual fund manager Donald Luskin specifically takes The New York Times to task in an article posted on SmartMoney.com. He notes that the newspaper's editorial side criticizes options while its business side hands them out. "I am unaware of a single instance in any of these stories," argues Mr. Luskin, "in which the Times disclosed the fact that The New York Times Company issues stock options to its own executives-options that operate precisely like the options issued by Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom and all the others-the cost of which is not included in the Times Company's income statements."

Drive-by lawsuits

A federal appeals court affirmed a discrimination judgment against a Miami Beach, Fla., restaurant-and monetary awards for two women who didn't even apply for jobs they claimed they wouldn't have received. They were "interested," but believed the restaurant didn't hire women. "Drive-by lawsuits," WORLD columnist Cal Thomas protests in his column: "If you drive by an establishment and don't go in to apply for a job because a friend of yours, or a complete stranger, has told you that he or she has 'heard' they don't hire your kind, then riches for you are only a phone call to an attorney away."

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