united we stand corrected

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 29, 2006

St. Paul, Minnesota, removed an Easter display from City Hall in response to a complaint filed by the city's human rights director Tyrone Terrill. The WSJ's James Taranto comments:

Well, this certainly makes sense. After all, everyone knows the Easter Bunny is a Christian symbol, which has no place in the public square in St. Paul, a city named after -- uh, we've forgotten. Does anyone know where St. Paul got its name?

Good question. And while we're on the subject of historical amnesia, ever look at the United Airlines departures screen at an airport and catch yourself chanting the list as you read?

Santa Ana,
San Antonio,
Saint Augustine,
Santa Barbara,
Saint Charles,
San Diego,
San Francisco,
San Jose,
Saint Louis ...

You get the point. If you're not careful you end up singing Ora pro nobis after every destination until you get to Stamford, at which point you switch to Libera nos, Domine. I suppose someone so zealous in the safeguarding of our human rights as Mr. Terrill might initiate causes for de-canonization so as to return these cities, and their namesakes, to the Church Militant: Ana, Antonio, Barbara, Joseph, etc. Don't you feel a huge weight of sectarian oppression lifted off your chest? ("I left my heart in Frank," croons Tony Bennett. "Meet me in Louie Louie," warbles Bill Clinton.)

But Christian influence, alas, is not always so blatant or so easily remedied. We have to stretch a bit to find safely secular equivalents in some cases. Sacramento could be corrected to Sharing, I suppose, and Des Moines to De Backstreet Boys. Los Angeles might become Los Angulos. Even the Protestants, albeit more bashfully, got into the name game in the 17th century, and yet we've got to scrub the public square equilaterally clean. That means a change to Prudential Forethought, Rhode Island.

Despite our best efforts a few stubborn christianisms will remain intractable. What do we do with a name like Santa Fe? "Holy Faith" expresses what to the secularist mind can only be a contradiction in terms, and will become even more offensive as America's percentage of Spanish speakers increases. With liberty and justice for all, the only cure for Santa Fe is to nuke it. Human rights are a lovesome thing, God wot.

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  • Posted by: Quadratus - Mar. 31, 2006 3:45 PM ET USA

    Poor St. Andreas, am sure it wasn't his fault...

  • Posted by: - Mar. 30, 2006 6:46 AM ET USA

    Don't forget Purgatory & Hell which are in Amish country.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 30, 2006 2:33 AM ET USA

    Americans give over on this and give thanks you have those names. They are the copy book headings, let's leave them alone so they outliast the currenat fashions: AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place. Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all. Kipling

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Mar. 29, 2006 8:26 PM ET USA

    pinecone - In a Pig's Eye!!! The greater Minneapolis-Pig's-Eye Area? Hmmm, I kinda like it . . . ;^) But let's not get all hog-tied about this . . . (Ziemann and Gomorrah! Holy Kokopelli! Somebody get me a glass of Sangria!)

  • Posted by: - Mar. 29, 2006 8:08 PM ET USA

    Just change the name of the mountains to "Sangria". Who could object to a mountain range named after a fruit flavored wine?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 29, 2006 7:42 PM ET USA

    Perhaps St. Paul could change its name back to its original moniker - Pig's Eye. Listen to the melodious strains of the renowned (now St. Paul) Pig's Eye Chamber Orchestra, or stay in the world-class (now St. Paul) Pig's Eye Hotel, or come view the ice sculptures at the Pig's Eye Winter Carnival. This would make the city's marketing efforts just slightly more difficult than they already are. Then there'd be the Archdiocese of Pig's Eye. Given it's current state, it's probably a better name.

  • Posted by: rpp - Mar. 29, 2006 7:23 PM ET USA

    St. Paul has a "human rights director". Sheesh! I thought that was a UN thing.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 29, 2006 6:23 PM ET USA

    Gee, I guess we’ve got a grande problemo here in Colorado. Any suggestions on what we might do with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 29, 2006 5:50 PM ET USA

    But Meg, in Albuquerque there are still those who insist that they remember when 'Santa Fe' wasn't semantically equal to 'San Francisco'. For those not in the know, Santa Feans refer to their home town as 'The City Different'. Come to think of it, maybe 'Holy Kokopelli' isn't such a bad idea! At least the name is honest; unabashedly pagan.

  • Posted by: Clorox - Mar. 29, 2006 8:57 AM ET USA

    OK, let's change the name of "San Francisco" to Sodom. But if we really want to de-Christianize our cities, let's name them after some of the bishops: Los Angeles = Mahonyland. Santa Clara = Zieman and Gomorrah.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 29, 2006 7:32 AM ET USA

    Good thing our more sensible ancestors didn’t have the same wild and creative ideas about names that have become all the rage today. I would hate to have grown up in a town named “Nateesha”, or “Jilletta”. Perhaps the “orate pro nobis” impulse is part of Prudential Forethought.

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Mar. 29, 2006 5:34 AM ET USA

    "Santa Fe" is an easy rename, for anyone who's ever lived there. "Sacred Crystals". Yer welcome. Just send me the royalty checks from the new city motto, etc., that's all I ask. "Holy Kokopelli" would work too. (But I know what you're saying.)