Thursday, October 05, 2006

Muslim prayer in public schools OK

If a public school teacher were to encourage Christian fasting and to require memorization of the Bible and the recitation Christian prayers in class, even as part of a history lesson on Christianity, she would immediately be accused of violating church/state separation and the ACLU would undoubtedly sue. Now we discover that the Constitution apparently only prohibits Christian activities.

According to Dhimmi Watch, a public school teacher in California:

“told students they would adopt roles as Muslims for three weeks to help them learn what Muslims believe. She encouraged them to use Muslim names, recited prayers in class, had them memorize and recite a passage from the Quran and made them give up something for a day, such as television or candy, to simulate fasting during the month of Ramadan.”

This was challenged in court by Christian parents only to be told by the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals that the assignment was Constitutional and legal because the students were only roll playing and not actually practicing Islam!

But it gets worse. On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case allowing the lower court ruling to stand! (Dhimmi Watch, Supreme Court, San Francisco Chronicle)

Can you imagine the outcry if a Roman Catholic history teacher in a public school issued “roll playing” assignments in which students read and memorized from the Bible, recited prayers and served Eucharist! Do you think for a minute that ANY court would uphold such an assignment on the grounds that the students were just roll playing and not actually practicing Christianity!

One of my colleagues suggested that Christian public school history teachers all over America should began designing “roll playing” activities for the purpose of helping students understand Christianity and its roll in Western Civilization! I disagree. While I'm all for teaching students the history of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, etc., requiring students to "roll play" the religous rituals or practices of any other religion is not only a violation of church and state, it is a violation of religious freedom and conscience!

This is the only case I can think of in which Christians, Jews, Muslims, the ACLU, People for the American Way, AmericansUnited for Separation of Church and State, and even American Athiests should all be united in their outrage over this decision.


Kevin said...

I'm not even sure what to say about this... your conclusion is right on.

Ed Merwin, Jr. said...

My goodness. With all of these grouops agreeing on something I wonder if somebody should Fed Ex some kindling down to Hell so they can melt the ice!

Dennis said...

Ed, I didn't say they were agreeing, I said they should agree. Frankly, I'm wondering where some of these church/state separation groups were when this case was being argued.

Anonymous said...

Your legal analysis is solid, but you missed the point of my earlier email. It is hardly surprising for the 9th Circuit to issue a kooky opinion. Nor will this opinion have any significant effect on the volumes of 1st Amendment doctrine promulgated by the Supreme Court. What is worth noting is why a panel of godless, (theoretically) rational jurists would treat one religion different from another. To answer this, you have to understand that appellate decisions are only nominally determined by the law. The real motivators are the value systems of the judges deciding them. (Incidentally, this is true of both conservative and liberal judges.) The interesting thing about the Ninth Circuit's decision is that it implicitly recognizes that Christianity is not just another religion. There is a difference between the name of Christ and the name of Allah--apparently a difference that even a spiritually bankrupt judge has to acknowledge. The Constitution treats all religions equally. However, people understand the reality that all religions are not equal. The Ninth Circuit's decision merely confirms what Christians already know: Christ is real; everything else is a meaningless academic exercise.


Dennis said...

Jared wrote: "To answer this, you have to understand that appellate decisions are only nominally determined by the law. The real motivators are the value systems of the judges deciding them."

I'm not a lawyer but the more legal cases I read the more I see the truth what you've written.

Nevertheless, since the 1960's the courts have been systematically removing every symbol of Christianity from the public square under the pretence of Separation of Church and State--so when a case like this comes down which allows a teacher to promote Islam in a public school its like a slap in the face--with a two by four!