Sunday, October 30, 2011

Papist Oppressors Strike Again

I'm just curious. What part of Catholic University did they not understand? Basking in the glory of his earlier complaint against Catholic University of America for sexual discrimination after the school banned co-ed dormitories, vexatious litigator John Banzhaf filed a complaint with the Washington D.C. Office of Human Rights on behalf of Muslim students offended by crucifixes and statues of Jesus and Mary.

For those of you not conversant in Latin, the school's emblem (shown) reads: "Keep those Muslims down," or something like that. Banzhaf is a lawyer and a law instructor at neighboring George Washington University Law School. It's unclear what his beef is with Catholic University, but he seems to prefer it as a target of his wrath. It is also unclear whether or not he represents any actual Muslims attending Catholic University. In a real lawsuit, he could not file on his own behalf, but the bureaucratic meanderings of "human rights" commissions are not saddled with any such restrictions. As a human being, he automatically has standing to file a complaint.

Banzhaf claims that the Muslim students are offended because they have to meditate in the school's chapel, and at the cathedral that shines over the entire campus. That cathedral is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. "It shouldn't be too difficult somewhere on the campus for the university to set aside a small room where Muslims can pray without having to stare up and be looked down upon by a cross of Jesus," says Banzhaf. Gee, it also shouldn't be difficult for Muslims to find other universities which don't have "Catholic" in their name.

I sent my younger daughter to California Lutheran University, largely because it had a good curriculum, was semi-affordable and local, and, well, Lutheran. Had she chosen Catholic University, I would have expected her not to be offended by Catholic iconography. Even less would I have expected her to nail 95 Theses on the door of the cathedral. We already did that, we made our point, and besides, it would be just plain rude. I would also think it rude of her to demand that a special place be set aside on campus for her and her fellow religionists to contemplate Luther's sermon on grace or recite Luther's small catechism sans crucifixes.

But somehow Banzhaf thinks that Catholic University should strip the walls of Catholic iconography, cover up the crosses which adorn the larger buildings, and set up special rooms with footbaths and alcoves to worship Allah. At least he didn't object to the crescent moon embedded in the university's coat of arms. Never mind that there are three Muslim centers within two miles of the university. Banzhaf wants Catholic University to be more like Harvard, where secularism reins supreme. Of course he knows that Harvard was founded originally to train Anglican pastors and missionaries. And he also knows that if you work hard enough at it, you can alter the very foundations of a university.

It is important to note that Catholic University is a private school. How a private school can be regulated by state school standards is anyone's guess. The only argument that holds any water at all is that the school, like almost every other major private university in the nation, seeks and accepts funding from multiple sources including the federal government. So what? It doesn't impose religious demands on people who could choose hundreds of other schools to attend. Planned Parenthood finessed that issue fairly successfully by claiming any federal funds received are used for purposes other than abortion. Catholic University has the same argument available to it: Federal funds are used only for secular instruction, and the religious portions are funded by private and Church resources.

The federal funds argument doesn't work very well for Banzhaf. He doesn't want religion removed from the school, he simply wants a Catholic university to impose special privileges and spaces for a different religion. He appears to want to use secular reasoning and secular institutions to advance religion. Or so it seems. In actuality, he simply wants to harm a school dedicated to the Christian faith by using Muslims as his stalking-horses. The ultimate goal is to get God out of the universities entirely, or alternatively to impose Islam as a co-equal religion in private religious institutions.

Catholic University has so far avoided the full-blown secularization of some other Catholic universities such as Notre Dame, or Protestant schools such as Wesleyan. The school accepts qualified students with little consideration of their religion (it does give preference for those planning to enter the Catholic priesthood). More importantly, it does not refuse admission to anyone based on religion. The school clearly has a religious flavor throughout the campus, but it's hard to see how Muslims should be any more offended by the atmosphere than I would be during a visit to the Vatican.

At least one Muslim student at the university doesn't think that Banzhaf speaks for him. Wiaam Al Salmi praises the school for its diversity and tolerance, saying: "The community here is very respectful of other religions and I feel free to openly practice mine. Even though it's a Catholic school, a lot of its teachings are very similar to Islam. It teaches respect, community service, love worship, etc. which are things that Islam also teaches." I'm guessing that Banzhaf (and more than a few ayatollahs and imams) would say that Al Salmi is living proof that Catholicism is already working its nefarious plot on him.

I'm guessing that most of you reading this article are asking yourselves "is this complaint ridiculous or what?" I'm also willing to bet you came to that conclusion in about thirty seconds without a lot of agonizing over subtleties. But you and I are not dealing with the D.C. Office of Human Rights. Rather than simply rejecting the complaint on its face as it should have, the office has taken the complaint seriously and says it needs at least sixty days to think the whole thing over. I am praying (yes, praying) that for once a school will stand its ground and take this issue all the way to the Supreme Court if the idiots at the Human Rights office make a finding in favor of Banzhaf and his Judas goats.

16 comments:

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
We have come to embrace the double standard.
If you are Muslim and want to go to college you make a choice. I know of no College that forces any one to attend.
On the other side in Muslim countries it can be a death sentence for owning a Bible.
In our country you would not be safe walking through some areas of Detroit for one. What is wrong with Detroit you ask, it has one of the largest Muslim ghettos in an American city.
This is lunacy and the courts should refuse to even consider the subject.

AndrewPrice said...

This is just too stupid for words. Of course, the problem is that colleges tend to eventually cave in to this stuff. I still recall Georgetown (Jesuit university) removing crucifixes from the classroom in the 1990s because they "didn't want to offend" anyone. It's a Christian school. You know what to expect. Give me a break.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: Detroit is violent, period. No place is safe. But if you want to pick a better example, just wander off to little old Ann Arbor. A university town, it is also a large enclave for Muslims. The crime rate has shot through the roof in those portions of the town, particularly "hate" crimes.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: And Georgetown is just down the street from Catholic University. I heard that Georgetown restored some of the religious symbols, but I'm not sure how reliable that source is. In any event, the Christian religion is under attack, and too often it seems ready to surrender rather than fight.

T-Rav said...

This is disgusting. Frankly, I think the mealy-mouthed milquetoasts who talk about how Jesus was tolerant of others, and would have wanted to act in love and not give offense, are as much to blame for this state of affairs as anyone. Someone ought to quote to them that Scripture where He says He came to divide the world as with a sword, or however it goes exactly. It would no doubt give them a heart attack.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: The traditional mainstream Protestant denominations have caved in almost entirely to multiculturalism and revisionist theology. The Catholics have fared a bit better, but for a long while the Evangelicals were the only ones espousing "muscular Christianity." Even some of them are weakening, joining Al Gore and the Wiccans in earth worship. Christians are dying for their faith in oppressive nations, but American Christians seem to have become just too comfortable with "do-it-yourself" theology and accommodationism. I hope Catholic University will stand up and breathe some life back into the church of the Christian Martyrs.

BevfromNYC said...

I've only read the first paragraph so far. but can't stop laughing! Oh, wait, this isn't a joke. Muslims complaining about the statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus at a Catholic University...I can't wait to read the rest.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, that's the sad state of religion today. Neither the Methodists, nor the Lutherans, certainly not the Anglicans, nor anyone else is able to stand up effectively for the Gospel, infected as they are by notions of social or environmental justice, pacifism, relativism, etc. I find it hilarious (in a depressing sort of way) that half the time these congregations denounce the Catholics more vehemently than they will Islam or any non-Christian religion. Sigh.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Stop while you're ahead. It only get worse, and more farcical.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: There is some hope for the Lutherans. After the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod refused to participate in one of those kumbaya, interfaith, don't-blame-the-Muslims gatherings at Yankee Stadium following 9-11, I made my choice and moved my membership out of the ELCA. Lutheran Bishop Preuss warned the congregations about this back in the 60s. "In the name of ecumenism, being 'relevant,' and increasing membership by consolidating churches, we are in danger of becoming a folk religion."

USArtguy said...

I'm curious: has any so-called human rights commission been granted the force of law? That is, like OSHA or the the EPA or the IRS for that matter, all have "rules and regulations" which aren't necessarily actual "law", but have the force of law (or to put it another way, the same authority as laws passed by congress). Are their decisions binding? If so, how are they enforced?

LawHawkRFD said...

USArtguy: Commissions have the force of law if they have been created by a legislature. In this case, the DC City Council set it up. I haven't read their enabling legislation, so I can't tell you how this one works specifically. But in many cases, a decision of the commission (council) can be appealed to the City Council which created it. In other cases, it's straight to the courthouse. This particular "office" is a creature of the District of Columbia (the city) and not a federal/Congressional body. All of its decisions are reviewable by the City Council and the mayor. If the commission is upheld on appeal, the law is enforced just like any other city ordinance, with civil and occasional criminal sanctions.

patti said...

when i originally read their complaint, my reaction was "were they not paying attention?!" but of course, it goes deeper than that. those that are "offended" want to strip us of ours, but we're not allowed to touch theirs.

those who can't see that are blind.

rlaWTX said...

while astonishing in its stupidity, it is not too surprising...
a couple of semi-related stories:
**as you may recall I work for a PCUSA church. an admin in another church was recounting the oddness she had come across and told the story of a couple who were looking for a church for their wedding. One of their requests was that the church remove or cover up the cross in the sanctuary because it made it look too "churchy". luckily, the church said no.
** a local Episcopal church had a split when the denomination had their left turn in ordination standards several years ago. The original building is still the "mainline" denomination. Their brand new lighted sign has a line that bugs me half out of my mind: "The Episcopal Church - fighting 'simple' theology since 1789". What the heck?????

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: As this thing progresses, it seems that more Muslim students at the university are emerging to talk about how well they've been treated. This litigation clown seems to be on his own so far. Until he can pick up at least one "disaffected Muslim youth" at the school, he can't take this to a court and has to settle for a highly-politicized bureaucracy to do his dirty work.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: Don't forget that the Episcopal church ran a series of expensive TV ads seeking new members which said "we don't throw the book at you." The book, of course, was the Bible--considered irrelevant by enlightened Anglicans.

In England, they're faring even worse. The historic St. Paul's Cathedral in London has been occupied by the British contingent of the Occupy movement. The cathedral hierarchy is in complete disarray. Half want the police to remove the demonstrators, the other half are holding hands with them, demanding "social justice." That's what happens when you remove Christ from a formerly Christian church.

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