As if…

Apparently, we godless heathens might be a bit touchy about the phrase ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’, according to some twit within the Salisbury District Council in England:

A FURORE has broken out after Salisbury District Council told staff to avoid using the phrase ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ – in case it offends atheists.

In a style guide handed out to staff the council said the common saying, which has been used for centuries, could offend non-believers.

Following criticism in the national press over the weekend the council has denied it has placed a ban on the use of these phrases in any of its written communications.

Thankfully it seems the ‘ban’ is not official council policy, as council officials are moving to distance themselves from it:

Salisbury council leader Paul Sample vowed to investigate and put an end to the ban.

He said: ‘I will look into the matter Monday morning and find out where this came from.

‘This paper has not gone before cabinet and I am not aware of the document referred to.

‘I think whoever did it probably did not think of running it past elected politicians and If they had we would have helped them to see common sense.

‘I am sorry after all the good work we have done we have scored an own goal.

‘I am not in the slightest bit interested in rubbish like this.’

Mr Sample’s deputy Steve Fear said: ‘I am trying to find out where it came from – perhaps it was consultants. But I know nothing about this. This is the first time I have heard of this.

‘I am sure it is well meaning but it is not appropriate.’    (Link)

It was also nice of the Yorkshire Post to find out what a secularist might think about such a policy:

Executive director of the National Secular Society Keith Porteous Wood said he was not hurt by the phrase, which he used himself.

The thing about this is, it doesn’t just generate bad press for the council (as it should), it generates bad press for atheists and secularists. People will read these reports and while grumbling about ‘political correctness’ they’ll also be getting all worked up about atheists.

Atheists are offended by an age-old saying? The poor souls!

I’ll be impressed if anyone can track down an atheist who would be offended by the phrase in question. What a joke.

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~ by Sammy Jankis on November 12, 2008.

3 Responses to “As if…”

  1. What is it with British local government bodies and their pathological desire to tiptoe on eggshells?

  2. ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’
    it’s the thin edge of the wedge, they’ll be making us say ‘in god we trust’ next. oops the Americans have already done that.

    It doesn’t really ‘offend’ me, but don’t you think the whole community should cease saying religiously based comments and quotes? Doesn’t it only ratify their beliefs and codes?

  3. It doesn’t really ‘offend’ me, but don’t you think the whole community should cease saying religiously based comments and quotes? Doesn’t it only ratify their beliefs and codes?

    I don’t think so. There are plenty of sayings which probably have a religious origin but they’re used by non-theists all the time. I use terms like ‘God only knows’ and ‘Back when Adam was a lad’ all the time, but I’m certainly not lending any credence to Christian mythology!

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