Business / Workplace

Hoboken, NJ - The greeting card company Noble Works publishes a series of cards under the title “Extra.” Some include a choir boy saying, “See Father; I’ve been practicing like you said I should, and I can get my mouth open really wide.” The punch line is, “Ready for your surprise?” Another is a picture of Jesus superimposed on a woman with Jesus’ hands in her lap. It says, “I Gave Myself To Jesus, But Now He Never Calls.” The punch line is, “Isn’t that funny…Jesus did the same thing to me last summer. Happy Birthday.” Another is titled “The Ten Best Priest Jokes.” Included are “What’s a priest’s favorite position?—On his knees.”; “Why are priests attracted to young boys? —Because they think of them as ‘lay people.’”

February 11
New York, NY
 - As part of New York City’s “Fall Frontal Fashion” Fall 2002 fashion show, the designer line “Imitation of Christ” was featured. One of the dresses worn by a model for the line was called “Piss Christ.” It was simply a blue and white dress that has absolutely no relationship to the artwork of the same name.

March 11
Orange County, CA
 - The Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross stopped students from Orange County High School of the Arts from singing “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” at a Red Cross event. The national headquarters of the American Red Cross supported the censorship. In a news release on this subject, national officials cited “our sensitivity to religious diversity” noting its “preference for a music program that would be inclusive and not offend different populations participating in this particular event.”

After the Catholic League contacted more than 100 allied organizations, the American Red Cross issued a statement saying “the judgements we made in this case in applying our principles clearly offended some in our community.” It mentioned that “it is important to use reasonable judgement in applying principles to the everyday circumstances we confront.” The news release continued, saying, “the judgement we made to exclude certain songs from the Sunday program was a mistake.” It then apologized for its decision.

March 12
New York, NY 
- The fashion company Dolce & Gabbana ran an ad in magazines nationwide that featured a model reclined on the ground, looking up and holding rosary beads. The Catholic League wrote to the company asking that it not include the casual appearance of religious items in its advertisements.

April
Dearborn, MI 
- The Harmon Auto Glass company ran an advertisement in Michigan Living magazine showing the dashboard of an automobile covered in Catholic religious statues. The caption read, “There’s no alternative to a properly installed windshield.” No other religion’s imagery was shown. After several complaints, the company pledged not to run the ad again.

May 16
San Francisco, CA
 - Mr. Terrence Silo, employee of a Catholic hospital, sued the hospital after he was fired for anti-Catholic preaching to staff and co-workers. Mr. Silo claimed his words were protected free speech. CHW Medical Foundation defended its decision, arguing that under both federal and California law, the hospital had a right as a religious institution to choose its members and employees consistent with its religious mission. A lower court ruled in favor of Mr. Silo. The California Supreme Court reversed the lower court and ruled in favor of the hospital.

August
The Internet site cafepress.com sells merchandise that anyone can put a logo on. A satirical group calling itself “Landover Baptist Church” offers knapsacks, t-shirts and hats through the site with the logo, “Support your local pedophile: Attend a Catholic church.”

December
New York, NY
 - The Helmsley Building on Park Avenue discontinued to feature a huge nightly display of lights in the shape of a cross during the month of December. The display had been there since World War II.

December
GAP stores on the East Coast banned Christmas decorations. Only winter decorations were allowed. A GAP spokesman said, “We do not want for [sic] anyone not to feel comfortable coming into our store.”

December
Dunwoody, GA 
- A musician was told not to play Christmas music at a large corporate Christmas party, but instead to stick to such secular songs as “Silver Bells” and “Winter Wonderland”; no religious songs were allowed.

December 13
Chicago, IL 
- The cast of Songs of Good Cheer censored the hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” from its holiday sing-along party at the Old Town School of Folk Music because some Jews thought the lyrics were anti-Semitic.

December 14
Walnut Creek, CA
 - A crèche that had been displayed for 30 years outside the Rossmoor retirement community was banned by the governing board.


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Written by Bill