Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Most opinions regarding Muslim prayer rooms in schools or other accommodations to religious groups in public places are centered around the Constitutional issue of separation of Church and State. And for a good reason, because if we don’t adhere to the rule of law as a nation, we are doomed to chaos, anarchy, and the rule of men.
America was founded by Christians. Our legal documents were based partly on Christian teachings and tenets. The God in the phrase “In God We Trust” that is printed on every piece of paper currency is assumed to be a Christian God. We allow public schools to require the reciting of The Pledge of Allegiance, which contains the phrase “One nation under God.” We observe Christian holidays like Thanksgiving (giving harvest thanks to a Christian God) and Christmas and validate their special standing by making them national holidays. So, we already allow a fair amount of religious influence into our public institutions and schools. In that sense, allowing schools to provide Muslim prayer rooms for Muslim students doesn’t seem out of line other than the accommodated religion is not Christianity.
Another argument that can be made for allowing Muslim prayer rooms is the increasing pressure on schools to adapt education models to a more diversified body of students. Children with disabilities are mainstreamed. Low-income students are given free and reduced-priced lunches, and increasingly, breakfasts. LGBT students are provided with “safe rooms” where they can escape bullying from peers. Transgender bathrooms are in the news. Title IX, which allowed girls to compete in athletics on an equal footing with boys, threw school administrations into a tizzy back in the 1970s.
All these accommodations were made with the goal of helping students learn more and better. If providing prayer rooms for Muslim students will reduce their stress from worry about breaking religious laws, create less friction between Muslim students and other students, and promote better learning, then prayer rooms should be allowed. In this case, the end results justify the means, despite the interpretations of Amendment I of the US Constitution that claim otherwise.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Not all public schools in America have Muslim prayer rooms but there are schools that do, such as some in Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, California, Arizona and even Canada. Those schools offer separate Muslim prayer room accommodations within the school day for Muslim students to recite prayers.
As opposed to Christian and students of other religious affiliations, Muslim students are being accommodated in ways that Christian students and others are not. Christian students can participate in before and after school Bible studies and other activities, but they are not allowed to participate in them during the school day. In contrast, there are even schools that now provide ritualistic foot baths for Muslim students before their prayer times. These special accommodations for one religion over another are unconstitutional.
There is a steady leaning today towards assisting these Muslim students and their families in every way possible without real consideration for others who are part of American culture and need validation of their place in it. Supporting and accommodating another culture over your own is not acceptable as it affirms that somehow a foreign country’s religious and foreign state laws (Sharia) are more important than your own.
Our country’s traditions are Judeo-Christian. The majority of the founders were Christian, and the holidays that have been adopted since the founding were based on Christian beliefs. We are a Christian nation, and though there is not a state religion or state church in our country, those that have come into the country from Muslim nations do not have the right to advocate incorporation of another faith and law (Sharia) within communities and school systems.
Those that are in our country as immigrants from the Middle East need to assimilate into a community rather than ask for special favors and accommodations, but it seems that assimilation has now given way to multiculturalism and all the associated one-way perks that go with that mindset. Their religion is allowed to gain acceptance, priority and authority while the founding beliefs of America are downplayed and given little credence.
Instead of adapting culturally and assimilating into our country and respecting its Christian principles, immigrant interlopers want special accommodations for their state religion and nation state Sharia law. Rather than tolerating our Christian-Judeo roots, they use the Constitution and freedom of religion as a means to manipulate our system to their benefit, whether it’s a prayer room, concessions with Sharia law, specially designed education classes or other requests, they will persist with long term goals of domination.
There also appear to be no concerns with Muslim prayer room and foot bath activities through watchdog legal groups like the ACLU and others, which are usually right at a school’s doorstep if they believe Christian students are given any kind of prayer time on school property or at school events. So, even they who serve to protect American civil liberties are acquiescing to Islam.
Public schools should not be allowed to have Muslim prayer rooms. School policies should be neutral concerning religion and no student should be treated differently based on religious beliefs, but it does appear that Muslim students are being given concessions with Islam and that violates America’s commitment to religious liberty. Without expectations of assimilation and enforcement of American laws, the demands for Muslim prayer accommodations will continue.
Myrtle Beach, SC Correspondent-While I am a FIRM believer in separation of church and state, we also have a freedom of religion in this country. Notice I said freedom of RELIGION not freedom of Christianity.
We are a Christian nation in many ways, which is fine, but Christianity is not the “national religion.” We don’t have one, and we offer the freedom to practice all religions. So, I would argue that any religion should be welcomed and accommodated.
Let me be clear on this though…NO religion should be given more accommodations than another. You can’t allow one without allowing another. And these accommodations should be made WITHOUT disturbing school hours. Meaning…You can’t go to your Muslim prayer room during chemistry because you always pray at 1 pm; you have to participate in your prayer groups before or after hours like everyone else.
However, back to my original statement; we really should not allow ANY religion in public schools because they are a Government entity. If we want to avoid the issues that arise, ban them ALL. Period. But, personally, I’m ok with it, but only for all religions; we can’t pick and choose which religions are ok to practice and which aren’t.
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-One of the foundations of our country is the separation of church and state. If a local Baptist church came forward wanting to establish a prayer chapel in a local middle school, there wouldn’t necessarily be a hue and cry, because the idea would be so ludicrous that it would simply be dismissed out of hand. Many schools around the country have student prayer groups of various kinds that meet outside school hours, but other than in very few places, the church/state wall has held firm when it comes to religion during the school day.
The Muslim faith requires prayer at certain times of the day, and employers with appreciable numbers of Muslim employees have often established prayer rooms or made similar concessions for their employees. Thus the case is being made that Muslim students in public schools should be accorded the same courtesy. That sounds simple enough, but it rams right directly up against that church and state division and, I believe, should be squashed flat.
While Christianity doesn’t demand prayer at specified times of the day, it does have holidays (holy days…that’s where the word originated), and those are no longer days off in the public-school system. Public figures like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have holidays, but Easter and Christmas don’t.
This is more of the minority attempting to glean special extra-legal privileges from the majority, and it must not be allowed. I have no prejudice against Muslims whatsoever, and in fact most Muslims of my acquaintance think the idea of prayer rooms in schools is simply silly. We have much bigger fish to fry in this country right now, and this issue needs to be put to rest quickly.
Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-Schools are facilities used for educating and learning. Hence, all the activities performed in public schools should educate or provide awareness to its students. I do not believe that these institutions should be converted into a ‘house of prayer.’ Schools should not have prayer rooms, whether for Muslims, Jews, Christians, or the likes.
Muslims have what is known as Salah times. This simply refers to the time they allot to pray each day-a requisite of 5 times daily and also the Friday prayer. Each prayer, according to the way of Muslims, should not be offered before or after it’s stipulated time. It should be done according to their customs. If a Muslim child wants to pray at school, by all means, but that child should not be given a specific room to do so. The schools should not be forced to bend to their customs. We all have different belief systems and we need to learn how to coexist.
Does it even matter where prayer is offered? I believe that prayer should be offered up anywhere, whether a child is seated on a lawn, in the cafeteria, or wherever. The ‘where’ should not subtract or decrease the gravity and importance of a prayer. That’s just what I believe.
If schools do begin to create rooms for prayer, I’m afraid parents would actually think their children are attending a Mosque and not a learning facility. Say no to prayer rooms, PERIOD!