God Bless You


When I was a kid, our next-door neighbor, Charles Coke told me when a person sneezed that opened the body to invasion by the Devil. Therefore, it was not only polite but an act of faith to say “God bless you” or “bless you” to ward off evil.

I say it automatically anytime I hear a sneeze, even if I don’t actually know who sneezed.

Adding to what Mr. Coke told me, a 2009 article in National Geographic claimed that during the plague of 590 AD, “Pope Gregory I ordered unceasing prayer for divine intercession. Part of his command was that anyone sneezing be blessed immediately (“God bless you”), since sneezing was often the first sign that someone was falling ill with the plague.”

But now even publicly ‘blessing’ someone is politically incorrect as the Dyersburg, Tennessee ‘State Gazette,’ reports: “The incident involved 17-year-old Kendra Turner, a senior at the high school. Turner was in class on Monday morning and said ‘bless you’ after a fellow classmate sneezed. The phrase was listed on the chalkboard as one of several students were not supposed to say during class, according to Turner.”

Evidently, the phrase is one of several that the ‘respected’ 40-year veteran teacher doesn’t allow spoken in her classroom. This list also includes “my bad,” ”hang out,” ”dumb,” ”stupid” and “stuff.”

Turner may have broken the ‘rules,’ but I think was she being polite out of habit not being disobedient towards the teacher or her classmates. I think this is why it is up to parents to teach their kids ‘good manners’ and not leave it up to school teachers.

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