There has been a legal complaint filed against the Catholic University of America, citing that this institution has acted in a discriminatory fashion towards certain Muslim students therein. May it be CLEARLY noted, that not a single student has filed such a complaint; these are the actions of a lawyer who has swooped down on this “cause.” According to the legal complaint filed by John Banzhaf, CUA has refused to allow these students to create a formal group, and then refused to create a special place devoid of Catholic symbolism for these Muslim students to pray. Interestingly, this suit was filed by the same lawyer who previously sued the school over its refusal to allow co-ed dorms, which CUA stated was out of a desire to “return to Catholic values.” Incredible! You mean to tell me that a Catholic University does not want to promote activity that is inherently un-Catholic? Shocking. Back to the issue at hand, however.
Do these Muslim students, who of their own accord chose to attend a Catholic university, have such a right to a formal group and a formal place to pray, devoid of the symbolism of the institution that they chose? And furthermore, does the understandable denial of such a room by this private Catholic university constitute an attack on these students’ human rights?
“But wait,” you ask, “don’t Muslims have freedom of religion just as the Catholics do?”
Absolutely. However, does this allow them to trample the freedom of religion of another group?
I realize that many sadly view the Constitution as just another dusty artifact full of tired, worn out, out-dated principles better left for the history books than modern application….but nevertheless, let’s take a gander at the Constitution once again, shall we?
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Translation: You can’t use the rights described herein to encroach upon the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of another person.
Catholics have a right to worship as they please. They also have the right to establish a private, Catholic university and shower it with as many crucifixes and Virgin Marys as they desire. Muslims also have the right to worship as they please. They do not, however, have the right to tell a religious institution of another faith how they must run said institution. They do not have this right any more than a Catholic student would have the right to tell a Muslim institution that they deserve a special prayer room complete with a picture of the Virgin Mary, a rosary, and a crucifix. Incidentally, the Muslim institution would flatly refuse, stating that iconography is contrary to their religious beliefs. (See Volume 3, Book 34, Number 318: Sahih Bukhari of the Hadith.) The university is well within its rights to refuse non-Catholic religious accommodations for these Muslim students. Remember, attendance to this and any institution of higher learning is VOLUNTARY!
The Catholic university is not calling for Muslims to be stripped of their rights to practice Islam. This indeed would be a denial of their Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion. Rather, the university admitted the students, and allows them to freely pray right there on campus. By attending the school, the students are obviously made aware of what they are getting into. Where in the admissions paperwork is a “your right to force the school to adjust to YOUR beliefs” clause?
I recently heard someone make the claim that the suit may actually have traction based on the fact that the institution accepts federally Pell Grants.
By that argument, all those who makes use of anything that is federally funded must then be ready to give up their rights as soon as anyone else complains. And frankly in this day and age of federal bailouts for everything, that’s every man, woman, and child in this great nation.
This is a big deal, readers, because if the courts eventually rule in the Muslim students’ favor, and the federal government further encroaches upon the rights of a private institution. . . what grave danger we are in. After all, if they can tell a private university how run itself in regards to a religion, what is to stop the government from stepping into a private home and doing the same thing? Think I’m crazy? Crack open a history book. It’s happened before. In fact….isn’t that what many of the Pilgrims sought to escape?