Mary is contrary in the politically correct year
By Laura Clout
Last Updated: 12:05am GMT 27/12/2007
For decades, children have enjoyed singing about the little donkey which is said to have carried the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem.
But one group of young singers was ordered to change the traditional lyrics of the Christmas song – because they were said to be “too religious”.
Instead of “Little donkey, carry Mary safely on her way”, the youngsters were told to sing “carry Lucy” for fear of offending non-Christians. The incident, at the school's Christmas concert, appears on a new calendar alongside 11 other examples of extreme political correctness from around Britain.
February tells of warnings from lawyers that Valentine's Day could lead to sexual harassment claims in the office. In 2006, Manchester-based Employment Law Advisory Services warned that just sending a card to a colleague could backfire because it could constitute an “unwanted sexual advance”.
Other examples of political correctness taken to absurd extremes include the teachers at one Scottish school who banned children from cheering for their team on sports day – in case those who came last felt humiliated – or their counterparts at Maney Hill Primary in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, where parents were not allowed to attend sports day at all, to spare their children from embarrassment if they lost.
August tells of officials in Blackpool who were deployed to ensure donkeys working on the beach had a full hour off for lunch in accordance with European Union rules. October details an event to mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar on the Thames during which the actor playing the military hero was forced to wear a lifejacket.
Last September, during Ramadan, the NHS boards in Greater Glasgow and Lothian were reported to have banned staff from eating at their desks to avoid offending any Muslims who might have been fasting during the month.
The illustrated calendar appears in the Second Politically Correct Scrapbook, compiled by the Campaign Against Political Correctness (CAPC).
John Midgley, the co-founder of the CAPC, said: “The Politically Correct Calendar quite clearly shows the effect political correctness is having on all of our lives. Perhaps we should all – especially our politicians and bureaucrats – resolve to be a little less PC in 2008.”
The calendar is available from the CAPC website: www.capc.co.uk.