Why I Don’t Understand the New Speech Rules

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My husband, a teacher at a local high school, was told to have his students complete a project for Silent Study Anchor Time. The project had a nice purpose: to create a card for a hospital-bound child. Each teacher received a list of instructions called “Do’s and Don’ts for Card Making.”

Instruction # One: “Supply the colored paper to the students in your classroom and allow them to create a card for a hospital-bound child.”

So far so good.

Instruction # Two: “It is recommended that you write uplifting messages such as:

Stay strong

You are awesome

You rock

You shine brighter than the sun

Be Brave

You inspire me

Still so far so good. These are all positive messages.

Instruction # Three:

“Include any personal information, such as a phone number, address, email address, etc. Hospitals will not allow organizations to distribute cards with this information.”

Still good. It’s understandable for safety and privacy concerns that personal information not be included.

Make sure that you DON’T:

“Write any religious comments such as God Bless or I’m praying for you. Hospitals do not permit cards to be distributed with these comments. Hospitals treat patients of all religions as well as patients that do not practice religion, which is why they do not allow this.”

The instructions concluded with, “Sign your name. Thank you for making a child smile today.”

My concern is with the things students are told NOT to say. Have we really reached a point where a simple God Bless or I’m praying for you could be considered an insult?

Do hospitals really not allow these comments to be included in messages to patients?

Are expressions of concern that include religious references now considered the equivalent of hate speech?

My good friend, a Muslim, and I have prayed together a lot, with me not minding that she prays to Allah and her not minding that I pray to Christ.

I’ve received cards with no religious messages, and I wasn’t insulted. I’ve received cards from people of other religions, and I wasn’t insulted. I’ve received religious cards, and I wasn’t insulted.

It seems we’ve reached a new level of divisiveness and lack of tolerance when we need to make sure students don’t include words as universal and noncontroversial as “God bless.”

Or am I way off base and people are really insulted by words like these? Is it more liberal now to be intolerant of certain expressions, or is liberalism still defined as “broad-minded, not bound by authoritarianism; willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one’s own.”

Written by

Writer, editor, publisher, journalist, author, columnist, believer in enjoying my journey and helping other people enjoy theirs. bknicholson@att.net

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