Tuesday, September 07, 2004


A decision by Malta International Airport to stop announcing daily Mass on the airport's public address system has annoyed workers who used to find the announcement useful as a reminder. The decision, taken a few months ago, was apparently the result of comments by foreign travellers that to announce that a Mass was about to be celebrated could be taken to be "fundamentalistic and extremist".

Airport Catholic chaplain Victor Enriquez said when contacted that the decision had been taken by the MIA board but he did not wish to comment further about it. One worker said that such announcements were not uncommon at airports abroad. They were made in Milan and Frankfurt, for example. "Why should they be stopped in Malta, a predominantly Catholic country?" he asked.

It is understood that another reason for the announcements no longer being made was so as to restrict the use of the PA system as much as possible to flight information only. But the astounded worker asked how could the PA system not be able to cope with the announcement of one Mass a day and two Masses on Sundays.

More here


It is resisting moves that would prevent it from even noticing sexual oddballs -- dangerous or not and regardless of their influence on the children

"Months after narrowly avoiding severe financial sanctions because of its controversial stand against a state anti-discrimination regulation, the Westminster School District resumed the fight Thursday, voting to sue the state Department of Education. Voting 3 to 2, the small Orange County district agreed to become the plaintiff in a case planned and funded by the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian legal organization that recently argued against same-sex marriages before the California Supreme Court.

At issue is a part of the state education code - and the accompanying regulation written to enforce it - that is meant to protect transsexual teachers and students, as well as others who do not conform to traditional gender roles, from discrimination at school.

Mark Bucher, the lawyer the district hired in April, said the definitions of "gender" in the education code and the regulation contradict each other. The lawsuit, he said, is aimed at forcing state education officials to rewrite the regulation. The education code defines gender as a victim's biological sex or the perception of their sex by those accused of discriminating against them, while the regulation defines gender as "a person's actual sex or perceived sex."

The distinction between the two is important to trustees Judy Ahrens, Helena Rutkowski and Blossie Marquez. Citing their Christian beliefs, they have said the regulation is immoral because it allows people to define their gender..... The lawsuit, they said, is necessary to protect districts from discrimination claims that could arise because of the vague definitions.

With state schools chief Jack O'Connell threatening to withhold nearly $8 million in school funding, the three trustees repeatedly refused to revise the district's anti-discrimination policies to reflect the regulation's definition of gender. In April, as a state deadline for compliance passed, the trustees relented and adopted a policy that technically satisfied O'Connell's demands. The threats of financial sanctions were dropped.

To assuage their moral objections, however, the board inserted language from the state code into the district policy to prohibit claims that are based on how a victim perceives his or her sex."

More here.

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