This is an excerpt from the January 19, 1997 edition of American Atheists AANEWS
Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER (firstname.lastname@example.org)
s there any aspect of life that religious zealots are content to leave untouched? Probably not. Even the local community argot is target for concern and experimentation, at least in the community of Kingsville, Texas. Last week, Kleberg County commissioners voted unanimously for a resolution urging the use of "heaven-o" instead of "hello" in greetings.
We're serious. And we didn't get this item from the Weekly World News. The idea for this wretched intrusion of religious-correctness came from a local flea market operator who, according to CNN, thought it "sinister" that the root of the word hello was "hell." "He (Leonso Canales) has led a three-year campaign to get the county to remove the offensive word," says Cable News. A local county judge said that everyone in town was "a little apprehensive," but mused: "I suppose it's like everything else, once you get adjusted to it, you might start using it."
According to the Oxford English Diction (Compact Edition), "Hello" has nothing to do with hell, but instead is a variation of "Hallo", which in turn stems from "Hollo." Another variant is "Halloo," and the OED defined these terms as cries made to attract the attention of a ferryman, or "a shout or exclamation to call attention." The term "hell" has an entirely different history of derivation, and none of the forms of that term seem to have anything to do with greeting someone, soliciting the services of a ferryman, or being an appropriate greeting to friend or stranger in Texas!
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