November 22, 2005

The 9th Circuit, part 8745

Via Michelle Malkin:

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a lawsuit by two Christian students and their parents, who accused the Byron Union School District of unconstitutionally endorsing a religious practice. "The Islam program activities were not overt religious exercises that raise Establishment Clause concerns,'' the three-judge panel said, referring to the First Amendment ban on government sanctioning a religion.

"Not overt religious exercises?" Let's see ...

During the history course at Excelsior School in the fall of 2001, the teacher, using an instructional guide, told the 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 and made them give up something for a day, such as television or candy, to simulate fasting during Ramadan. The final exam asked students for a critique of elements of Muslim culture.

Three weeks? Fasting? RECITING PRAYERS?? Absolutely astonishing. This -- the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals -- that banned "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, but has now allowed Muslim prayers to be recited as part of public school instruction!

Where's the ACLU in all this? Jay at Stop the ACLU is rightly asking this and bringing up other points, such as:

1. You can bet if the children were subjected to participate in a Christian themed role playing game such as a nativity scene in a Christmas Winter Break play that the Separation of Church and State Clause of the Living Document would have had precedent;
2. How is it that Gideons giving out little new testaments are found as a threat, but teaching children to recite Muslim prayers is not?
3. So they had the choice to opt out, just like voluntary prayer, or reciting the pledge without using "Under God", but somehow this is different.

Protein Wisdom says:

My problem with this ruling is not that it that it violates parental rights, or that it impinges on "freedom to exercise the religion one chooses"; after all, this is a role-playing exercise, and I don't believe playing at being Muslim for three weeks establishes a religion anymore than I'd believe playing cowboys and Indians for three weeks will turn kids into little warmongering imperialists drunk on genocide and imperialism.

What does bother me about this ruling, however, is this: this same Circuit Court ruled that reciting the Pledge, when it includes the phrase "under God," is a coercive exercise, and is therefore unconstitutional-despite having an opt-out option. Which is to say, that the 9th Circuit ruled that the Pledge is unconstitutional even though nobody was being forced to recite it.

Here, however, the coercion standard has shifted, it seems-and the opt out clause in this instance apparently satisfied the Court.

Here in Delaware, a similar situation arose last year: Muslim students were provided a private room in which to pray -- in a public school -- and monitored by a teacher. The ACLU, to my knowledge, never intervened in this situation on "separation of church and state" grounds. Yet, there they were just recently, blasting the Philadelphia Eagles' Tra Thomas group, Athletes United Through Christ, at Newark High School, back at the end of October.

Posted by Hube at November 22, 2005 03:24 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

It IS an outrageous hypocrisy. And I would be interested to know if Dan sees a reasonable rationale for the differing standards. (Such as, one is a minority religion, the other not.) And since I'm asking, I promise to answer without using sarcasm and sneering remarks.

Posted by: mikem at November 22, 2005 03:41 PM

Man oh man, would I have had a great time in that class! I'd have dressed up in camouflage with a bright green Hamas hood and (fake) explosives strapped to my waist. "Yes Ms Brooks, this week my name is Mustapha al-Jihad. Now stop educating girls and get yourself back to the kitchen where you belong or I'll have the Shariiya Squad give you a good beating." Somehow I don't think I'd get extra credit.

Posted by: G Rex at November 22, 2005 03:55 PM

Yet another reason why I despise well as slowly coming around to despising the ACLU!

Posted by: Mike M. at November 22, 2005 07:16 PM

Mike M.: Don't blame the religion. It is the normally secularist teachers who pushed this. I don't believe for a second they are actually trying to promote Islam itself, just Islam over Christianity and Judaism.

Posted by: mikem at November 22, 2005 10:01 PM

I found another interesting article with some history on the situation. Here's the link, it might change your opinion a little, assuming that what he says is true.

Also, there is more to Islam than terrorism. G-rex, perhaps if you'd had some better teaching on it in YOUR school, you'd know that. *grin*

Still unfair that Christians are generally not allowed the same liberty though, and astonishing that only one religion is specifically given attention in Californias education system.

What's the ACLU doing about THAT???????

Posted by: Jana at November 26, 2005 11:11 AM

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