Using “the G word” (God) in a term paper on “Religion and its Place in Government” earned an F for Bethany Hauf, a community college student in Victorville, California. Adjunct English instructor Michael Shefchik had approved the topic on one condition: “No mention of big ‘G’ gods, i.e., one, true god argumentation.”
When she realized this meant a ban on the word “God,” Hauf, who’d titled her report “In God We Trust,” complained to the instructor and then the department chair, Judy Solis.
During a joint meeting between all three the options were laid out: Hand in the report with the “G” word or revise, edit or re-write the paper, Solis said.
“She continued to write her paper,” Solis said. “She knew what the consequences were.”
Hauf acknowledges she knew her teacher’s condition for writing the paper, but argued it would be impossible to write about the affect of Christianity on the development of the United States without using the word God. “He told me you might as well write about the Easter Bunny,” Hauf said. “He wanted to censor the word God.”
When I first read about this story, I was convinced that Hauf had received an F for a poorly written report, but her complaint that “God” was taboo appears to be undisputed by Solis. The instructor wasn’t available for comment.
Despite the failing grade on the paper, Hauf received a C in the English 101 course.