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CULTURE DIGEST: Defending ‘Shove it’ comment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democrat presidential contender John Kerry, made headlines just before the party’s national convention for saying “shove it” to the editorial page editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. She made her remark just after she had spoken to Pennsylvania delegates, calling for a more positive tone in politics.

In her speech she said, “We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics.”

On her way from that meeting, editor Colin McNickle asked her for clarification, trying to elicit an example of what she meant, in his words, by “un-American activities.” Kerry Heinz rebuffed him stating “I did not say activity or un-American. Those are your words. You can record it and listen to it. You know what the question is? Saying that I called this an un-American activity. I did not.”

She stepped away, briefly conferring with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, then returned asking McNickle if he worked for the Tribune Review. He said he did and she told him, “Understandable. You said something I didn’t say, now shove it.”

In an interview with NBC’s Katie Couric July 26, Heinz Kerry defended her treatment of McNickle, saying she had fought for political freedom and justice since she was young, “and that’s the right that I have which is [why] if someone attacks me and my integrity and puts words in my mouth I will defend myself and I think every American person would too.”

RELIGIOUS STUDENTS MORE CONSERVATIVE — The level of faith college students profess seems to have an impact on how conservative they are on issues such as sex, abortion, homosexual rights and drugs, according to a study released July 28.

But the study, by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, also found those same students tend to be more liberal on issues such as gun control and the death penalty.

About one-fifth of college students classified themselves as “highly religious,” which was defined in the study as a pattern of behavior that includes attending religious services, reading sacred texts, attending religious workshops or retreats or joining a religious organization on campus. On the other side of the spectrum, about one-fifth of college students were found to have low levels of religious involvement.

Researchers found that the largest gap in views between those who are highly religious and those who are not was on the issue of casual sex. While 80 percent of the least religious students agreed with the idea that “if two people really like each other, it’s all right for them to have sex even if they’ve known each other for only a very short time,” only 7 percent of highly religious college students agreed.

Concerning legalized abortion, 24 percent of the most religious students approved while 79 percent of the least religious thought the practice was acceptable. A large difference exists in those who favor legalization of marijuana: 17 percent versus 64 percent, the study found.

Thirty-eight percent of highly religious students supported “laws prohibiting homosexual relationships” compared to 17 percent of the least religious students.

On the issue of gun control, though, 75 percent of the most religious students said “the federal government should do more to control the sale of handguns” while just 70 percent of the least religious thought so, the study concluded. Similarly, 38 percent of those whose faith was very important to them supported abolition of the death penalty while just 23 percent of the least religious wanted capital punishment to stop.

“The nation’s cultural and political divide is on college campuses too,” Alexander Astin, co-principal investigator on the project, said in a July 28 news release, “but the study also shows that there is no simple, one-to-one relationship between religious and political beliefs. While highly religious students tend to be more ‘conservative’ than less religious students on certain issues, they can also be more ‘liberal’ on other issues.”

The analysis was part of a national study of 3,680 third-year college students at 46 diverse colleges and universities.

R-CARD LETS TEENS INTO MOVIES — A movie theater chain in Illinois is allowing parents to purchase R-cards for $2 so that their children will be allowed to buy tickets for R-rated movies without an adult present. The chain, GKC Theaters, has 29 theaters in five Midwest states and has sold more than 400 cards in six months.

But John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, told The Washington Post he thinks the cards are a bad idea because part of the purpose of requiring adults to accompany teens under age 17 to R-rated movies is to get them involved in the film choices their children make.

“I’m amazed that any parent would do this,” Jack Valenti, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in The Post June 29. “It’s a blank check for kids to see every R-rated movie.”

And the R-card is not the first of its kind. A movie reviewer for the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio noted a different version has been available for 15 years at Blockbuster, the country’s largest video rental chain. When customers sign up for membership, they are asked whether there is anyone in their household under age 17 who should be allowed to rent restricted films.

CULTURAL ODDITIES — Planned Parenthood has added a controversial new T-Shirt to its “social fashion” line. The new shirt simply reads, “I had an abortion” and is an effort for post-abortive women to undo the stigma attached to women killing their unborn children.

“They have finally arrived! Planned Parenthood is proud to offer yet another T-shirt in our social fashion line: ‘I Had an Abortion’ fitted T-shirts are now available. These soft and comfortable fitted tees assert a powerful message in support of women’s rights,” the website states.

— A federal judge has upheld a Virginia law requiring children who attend a nudist camp for youths to take a nude parent or grandparent along with them, according to The New York Times July 16. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia had challenged the law, saying it infringed on the parents’ rights to raise their children the way they want. But the judge did not agree.

“The presence of a family member would in no way interfere with the child’s participation in events,” the judge said, referring to such activities as swimming, volleyball, tennis, body painting and even darts, all while naked.

“A nudist camp is a bit racier than, say, a Boy Scout camp,” the judge continued. “People who love their children or grandchildren will make a modest adjustment to their schedules so that their children and grandchildren can have this unique experience.”

Campers range in age from 11 to 17, according to The Times, and they may only wear minimum clothing if it is chilly or if they become sunburned. Otherwise nudity is strictly enforced.

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  • Erin Curry