faith’s fine lines.

what a week. the previous seven days were overrun by sickness, brief hospital stints, recovery, near-fatal exams, and getting my laughter back. what a week. i’m proud to have survived it, and thankful that spring break will be showing its glowing self soon. fishing and target shooting with my dad in the boondocks, a mission experience with my switch kids, and seeing some old friends are sure to refresh me for what is left of this semester. then, of course, the two papers i also have to knock out will snap me back to academic reality. oh well. sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.
i have a deep and important favor to ask of y’all. my presentation over public schools’ accommodation of religious practices for my church/state class is swiftly approaching, and i’m dying to hear some outside opinions on a few issues i’m examining. i would love, love, love to hear your thoughts, so please share them with me in a comment if you get a spare moment!

  • some public schools with significant muslim populations are now providing rooms for students to perform their obligatory prayers in and are being excused from class periods to do so. is this at all a promotion of religion, or is this accommodation acceptable?
  • the university of michigan’s deerborn campus has pledged $25,000 of student fee dollars to construct foot-washing stations in bathrooms for muslim students who must perform this ritual cleansing before prayer. walking a fine line, or promoting safety and sanitation for those who would otherwise be forced to wash their feet in sinks?
  • christmas programs are a longstanding tradition in many schools, filled with both secular symbols and faith-based carols. should kwanza and hanukkah programs also be held? is a “christmas” concert or program a violation of the establishment clause?
  • the head scarf, or hijab, that many girls in islam are required to wear has become a hot-button issue with public american schools. an elementary student in muskogee, oklahoma, was suspended several years ago for violating her school’s head covering policy with her hijab, and her plight was eventually supported by the federal government. should religious wear be exempt from these policies?
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2 Comments

Filed under college life, politics

2 responses to “faith’s fine lines.

  1. JSD

    My opinions probably won’t match those of others you ask, but here they are.-I think it is an acceptable accommodation. Christians would expect the exact same or more if they had similar belief requirements. The schools already provide for children to get out of schools for any religious requirements as it is, so this makes the time required out of class shorter and less distracting than if they were to do it in class, the halls, or were to leave school each time.-I think this is partly a sanitation thing, but I don’t know if I agree with the school using students funds to provide it because there would be a similar problem if they were to do something for any other religious affiliation using the funds of those who aren’t a member of that religion. If anything, the Muslim Student Association, or something similar, should have gotten permission to created and raised their own money for such a concession. I think that is walking the line very closely…-the school that I attended had such programs and we had children who did not participate due to religious beliefs. This is a hard one to comment on without being biased simply because I really enjoy Christmas events. I think that if they are able to do one that is completely secular and all-inclusive then it shouldn’t be a problem. While Christians obviously celebrate Christmas for a particular reason, that is not the case for many. If they made it more of a “Holiday” event that encompasses all beliefs and traditions, that may be more appropriate for a public school, even though the thought of diluting their Christian beliefs for the masses surely makes many Christians cringe. -I do believe that religious wear should be exempt. Once again, Christians would expect anything that was required by their religion to be able to be exempt and the same should be extended to other religions. It isn’t distracting unless the children make it so, so it shouldn’t be a problem.Once again, these are all very much my opinions. Please don’t hate me. haha. :)

  2. taylor

    oh sebastien, it would take a whole lot to make me not love you! thank you for your thoughts, dear! =)

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