February 11, 2000
Recently in North Carolina, a state that usually prides itself on not being South Carolina, a schoolteacher was fired for her religious beliefs. Although the teacher never mentioned her beliefs to students either in or outside of the classroom, a student who "happened to find" a web page put together by the teacher’s husband brought the fact that she was a practitioner of a nature-oriented belief system called Wicca to the community’s attention. Although county officials were vehement in their statements that it was the teacher’s religious beliefs that led to her dismissal, they were also upset by the fact that the web page contained nudity. Many expressed shock that a student was able to find a web page with nudity that, unlike the web pages the school officials frequented, did not require a credit card number for full access. Of course the officials were not interested in the fact that there were no photos of the teacher on the web page, or the warnings that preceded the photos, or the fact that the page had been registered with several major content filters. For that matter, they didn’t care that firing her was grossly unconstitutional (once it was explained to them what the "Constitution of the United States" and the "Bill of Rights" were). What really concerned officials was the threat of a lawsuit by a local yokel. In many states, particularly in the South, it’s become common practice to cede authority to unelected fanatics and thus sidestep any responsibility for trampling the rights of people bureaucrats would rather not have around anyway. The bigot who threatened to bring the lawsuit expressed his "love for sinners", or, more specifically, his love for tying sinners to large wooden stakes and burning them to death as an act of mercy. Most students supported the teacher, but she accepted the dismissal, citing concerns that a protracted lawsuit would be detrimental to the students. Although there’s very little local officials can do to make themselves look worse, it’s fitting that the one person with a concern for the students is being driven out of the county.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
Jokes from the Montreal "Just For Laughs" Festival
- (On going to war over religion:) "You’re basically killing each other to see who’s got the better imaginary friend." – Rich Jeni
- "I used to smoke pot until I came to the conclusion…what was that conclusion, anyway?" – Rich Jeni
- "The Web brings people together because no matter what kind of a twisted sexual mutant you happen to be, you’ve got millions of pals out there. Type in ‘Find people that have sex with goats that are on fire’ and the computer will say, ‘Specify type of goat.’" – Rich Jeni
- "Luge strategy? Lie flat and try not to die." – Tim Steeves
- "Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships. – Jimmy Shubert
- "I was born in Nicaragua and I felt there wasn’t enough political instability in my life. So I moved to Quebec." – Marta Chaves
- "I got kicked out of Riverdance for using my arms." – Gary Valentine
- "The difference between Charles Manson and every woman I’ve dated is that Manson has the decency to look like a nut the first time you meet him." – Rich Jeni
- "I saw a woman wearing a sweatshirt with ‘Guess’ on it. I said,’Thyroid problem?’" – Emo Philips
- "I read somewhere that 77 per cent of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I’m more intrigued by the 23 per cent who are apparently doing quite well for themselves." – Emo Philips
- "I discovered I scream the same way whether I’m about to be devoured by a Great White or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot."- Kevin James
- "Capital punishment turns the state into a murderer. But imprisonment turns the state into a gay dungeon-master." – Emo Philips