New York has gone too far

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Mexico, N.Y.

Never heard of it? Well, neither have I. That is until this morning. Now I don’t believe I’ll ever forget it.

Apparently, the school board in Mexico, N.Y., in order to raise money for a new pathway to one of their schools, sold bricks.

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The bricks could have any inscription and the funds would go to pay for the walkway and benefit the schools.

This is much the same as the brick-selling project at the Demopolis SportsPlex.

Anyway, one man purchased a brick and wanted the inscription to read, "Jesus Lives &045; John 3:16."

He said the price of the brick included the choice of where it would be placed. He chose for his to be placed in a prominent position in front of the school.

Apparently, the school board had a problem with this.

A fight ensued, during which the man’s brick was placed as far under a scraggly bush as it could get and surrounded on three sides with others which contained the word "Jesus," also hidden under a bush.

Upon confronting the school board, he was told that the "offensive" word was "Jesus" and that his brick could not be

placed in the spot he had chosen.

The board met quickly, he said, and developed a policy forbidding the use of "Christian language and pornography."

First of all, that really bothers me. Grouping those two things in the same sentence hardly seems the right thing to do.

It seems that all speech is protected under the Constitution except "Christian" speech.

I just really don’t understand how that school board could justify a move such as this one.

It’s been about a year since Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire on their fellow students at Columbine High School in Colorado. And it just makes me wonder.

People across this country ask "Why, oh, Why did this happen?"

I can’t help but agree with several of our own Demopolis students on the answer to that question.

Last year, when the Columbine tragedy occurred, I went to Demopolis High School and talked with several of the seniors about the incident.

They were, as the rest of country, shocked and bewildered about the situation. But they were very clear on the underlying reason that it occurred.

I would tend to agree, and I guess that’s why I was so appalled at what happened in Mexico, N.Y.

It’s been a whole year, and instead of moving closer to the one we need to be closer to, as a country we’re still moving

farther and farther away.

Protecting the freedom of speech is extremely important to me. It’s the basis on which I come to work every morning.

I just never thought, for one moment, that the word, "Jesus," would be one I’d feel the need to protect.

One day, I hope they will realize that all the policies in the world will not stifle that name, its meaning or his message.

In fact, the way they hid the name, "Jesus" under a tree makes me think of that song we used to sing at Vacation Bible School &045; "This Little Light of Mine."

You know it &045; everyone knows it.

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m gonna let it shine …."

Oh, No!

I’m gonna let it shine."