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Banning 'Bless You'

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Banning 'Bless You'

Old 10-03-11, 10:45 AM
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Banning 'Bless You'

A California teacher docks students' grades for what many parents see as a harmless expression of courtesy

A high school health teacher in California faced an angry backlash this week after he told students not to say "God bless you" when classmates sneezed. The teacher, Steve Cuckovich, even took points off students' grades for violating the ban. Cuckovich said he wasn't knocking religion he just thinks the phrase turns a simple sneeze into a classroom distraction. Besides, he says, the phrase was developed at a time when people thought sneezes expelled evil spirits from the body, so it "doesn't really make any sense anymore." Parents are accusing him of trying to impose his beliefs on teenagers who were just trying to be polite. Was this teacher right to ban "God bless you"?

No. This is an obvious swipe at Christianity: "This is another small, yet stupid example of how politically correct we have become," says Brian Cook at Conservative Daily News. It's part of a relentless campaign to subject religious expression to "death by a thousand pin pricks." The phrase has never caused a "disciplinary meltdown" in Cuckovich's classroom, or anyone else's he's only objecting because it has the word "God" in it.
"Say 'bless you' get detention!"

Plus, Cuckovich's excuses don't hold water: People don't say "bless you" to alert God that they're casting aside evil spirits, says Danielle Sullivan at Babble. They're just trying to be polite. "It's ridiculous" and unfair to deduct grade points for something as benign as that. Schools should be focused on bigger issues. Remember, "we live in a society where, in many cases, bullying is overlooked to the point of children killing themselves."
"Teacher bans 'bless you' from classroom"

C'mon. The outrage is overblown: It does seem "pretty ridiculous to hurt a kid's grade just because he's subscribing to society's set manners," says Jon Bershad at Mediaite. But that doesn't justify the "War on Christianity" outrage. Cuckovich is a health teacher, so he's teaching his students that this phrase is rooted in superstition, not science. Making a rule and enforcing it isn't bigotry, it's just classroom discipline.
"Cue outrage: California teacher penalizes students for saying 'bless you'"
link


I went to a Catholic High School and one of the nuns had also banned 'bless you' from her classroom. It seems like a waste of time to enforce this type of rule. If saying 'bless you' creates a distraction, disciplining someone after saying it probably creates a bigger distraction.

I am not religious but I cant stop from myself from saying 'bless you' after someone sneezes. Old habits die hard.

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Old 10-03-11, 10:50 AM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

I was taught to say "bless you" after someone sneezed, (not "God bless you") and I never thought of it as anything religious. It has always been just a social custom to me.

I think trying to get kids to NOT say it, when their parents are trying to teach them TO say it is a waste of energy. The response gets so automatic, that it's not really a distraction.
Old 10-03-11, 11:22 AM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

This is why I usually have nothing to do with other atheists.
Old 10-03-11, 11:35 AM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

So kids are being punished for having manners? Nice.

Any phrase following a sneeze is silly when you stop to think about it, but society decided it was a proper manner at some point so we continue to teach it to kids and practice it as adults.
Old 10-03-11, 12:06 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

This is horrible! Your soul is trying to escape when you sneeze, and saying "God Bless You" jams it back up inside.
Old 10-03-11, 12:22 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

I say Gesundheit like a normal person.

Last edited by SterlingBen; 10-03-11 at 12:37 PM.
Old 10-03-11, 12:24 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Replace "god bless you" with "you are so good looking"
Old 10-03-11, 12:25 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Originally Posted by majorjoe23 View Post
This is horrible! Your soul is trying to escape when you sneeze, and saying "God Bless You" jams it back up inside.
Exactly. It's also acceptable to make hand motions as if you're a Jedi and shoving the soul back in, post sneeze. Now THAT might be a tad distracting in the classroom.
Old 10-03-11, 12:34 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

I never understood why a sneeze was thought to expel an evil spirit.

Now a fart, I can understand.
Old 10-03-11, 12:38 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

I think they need to address the problem of all the sick kids in the classroom before anything else.
Old 10-03-11, 12:55 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
I never understood why a sneeze was thought to expel an evil spirit.

Now a fart, I can understand.
Which is why I always say "bless you" after I or anyone else farts..."devil be gone" also works like a charm.
Old 10-03-11, 01:04 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

I agree with the teacher that "bless you" isn't merely having good manners... you can say other things. But docking grades is pretty rough and more then a tad excessive; just educating the class that it is a social norm that is rooted in religion would have been more appropriate.

On the flip-side, "this war on Christianity" thing is just a lame excuse said every time a Christian group wants their beliefs kept in a public institution. Let's keep God out of the class room and lets keep teachers focused on topics that really matter. Punishing a kid for "bless you" is pretty damn ridiculous.
Old 10-03-11, 01:14 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

I think the guy's a dumbass who needs to concentrate on teaching the kids what he was hired to teach them and stop worrying about whether or not someone says Bless you! to a sneeze. -kd5-
Old 10-03-11, 01:28 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

I was in Philly recently, crossing the street in front of the Liberty Bell, when a tourist sneezed really loudly and at least half a dozen people who were just in the area all loudly exclaimed "Bless you!" I don't imagine that any of them thought they were safeguarding his soul. It's a societal custom, this bozo needs to get on board.
Old 10-03-11, 01:30 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Well, I think the whole "Bless You" thing is a conspiracy to shove Christianity down my sinuses. As such, when *I* hear somebody sneeze, I say "Bless SCIENCE". Take that, religious nutjobs!
Old 10-03-11, 01:30 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Originally Posted by SterlingBen View Post
I say Gesundheit like a normal person.
My atheist ex-girlfriend would only say this because it means "Health", and doesn't have any religious implications.
Old 10-03-11, 01:52 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

What about a nice, polite "COVER YOUR F***ING MOUTH, MORON!"
Old 10-03-11, 02:16 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Originally Posted by Numanoid View Post
My atheist ex-girlfriend would only say this because it means "Health", and doesn't have any religious implications.
My very Mormon family has always used "Gesundheit" instead of "Bless you" - for them it's not a religious thing, just a cultural thing. They were both raised saying "Gesundheit," so that's what they've always said as adults. I'm no longer Mormon, but it's still my instinctive response anytime someone sneezes.

I wonder if the teacher would also penalize someone for using "Gesundheit."

Last edited by Sondheim; 10-03-11 at 02:22 PM.
Old 10-03-11, 02:29 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Originally Posted by Navinabob View Post
I agree with the teacher that "bless you" isn't merely having good manners... you can say other things. But docking grades is pretty rough and more then a tad excessive; just educating the class that it is a social norm that is rooted in religion would have been more appropriate.
So punishing them is a tad excessive but banning "bless you" is alright? You have to be kidding me.
Old 10-03-11, 04:00 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
What about a nice, polite "COVER YOUR F***ING MOUTH, MORON!"
"Cover yer fecking piehole, ya gobshite." is also acceptable.
Old 10-03-11, 04:19 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Originally Posted by DeputyDave View Post
So punishing them is a tad excessive but banning "bless you" is alright? You have to be kidding me.
I didn't say anything about banning "bless you" was good. Instead I suggested a dialog on the religious custom that people used for a very long time before we started to seriously learn about health.

It'd be a perfect time to start talking about evidence based science with regards to health. He could show large and well controlled studies about how prayer does not improve health or all the benefits we got got when we dropped superstition from medicine.

I think the teacher meant well... but implemented his teaching VERY poorly. No kid should be punished for following a social norm. The teacher was very wrong.
Old 10-03-11, 04:48 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Originally Posted by Navinabob View Post
I didn't say anything about banning "bless you" was good. Instead I suggested a dialog on the religious custom that people used for a very long time before we started to seriously learn about health.

It'd be a perfect time to start talking about evidence based science with regards to health. He could show large and well controlled studies about how prayer does not improve health or all the benefits we got got when we dropped superstition from medicine.

I think the teacher meant well... but implemented his teaching VERY poorly. No kid should be punished for following a social norm. The teacher was very wrong.
Sorry, re-reading your post I see I was mistaken. I thought you were saying it shouldn't be said in class at all.
Old 10-03-11, 04:55 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

It's never too early for kids to learn that as they go about their lives, they are going to encounter authority figures with arbitrary and silly rules about what you should and should not do. It will be good preparation for when they have a boss who insists that all memos MUST be printed in Times New Roman 12 point font.
Old 10-03-11, 05:16 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

Old 10-03-11, 06:52 PM
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Re: Banning 'Bless You'

The problem with stories like this is that people only see what they want to and draw broad conclusions.

The students in the classroom weren't just saying "bless you," they were constantly doing it to disrupt class. There was even a student confirming this, saying how it was uncalled for by the students to do it because the other kids couldn't concentrate.

And instead of the offended parent calling the school, meeting with the teacher/superindendent, they called the local Fox affiliate.

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