In an era when Boy Scouts of America are lauded for the work they’ve faithfully done over many years to build up a fine organization but then attacked for not being different and for not changing their traditions to accommodate openly gay leaders, now the D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR) is in the process of reviewing allegations against Catholic University of America (CUA).
The allegations are in regard to its policy of being Catholic and therefore using discrimination against other religions, specifically, in this case, Islam. It is claimed that Catholic University
“does not provide space – as other universities do – for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion.”
Isn’t that just such a shame? The writer of this article is not Catholic and does not care for all the symbols surrounding Catholicism, but there is no way it is justified to go to one of the fancy churches or universities and ask the Catholics to take down their sacred trimmings simply because they aren’t part of another religion. In fact, it is hard for this examiner to understand why Muslims choose to attend a Catholic University.
The reason given is that Muslim students say they feel “safe” and “comfortable.” They want in on the benefits that CUA has built up and provides under its Catholic religion, but Muslims want the religious school to change and be more inclusive to suit their beliefs. In other words, it’s a great place if only it weren’t so Catholic.
John F. Banzhaf III is the law professor initiating the claims against CUA. He asserts that students of other religions are able to enjoy special accommodations but not Muslims.
In Spokane, Washington’s Gonzaga, for example, there is a Muslim Students Association that has infiltrated the nearby university, but there is no formal Muslim association sponsored by Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Jesuit Georgetown University also has chosen to include a Muslim student group, a notion which Banzhaf has glommed onto:
“Denying Muslim students the opportunity to form a student group on campus could hardly be based upon any fundamental Catholic doctrine since Georgetown University not only has such a Muslim student group, but also provides its Muslim students with a separate prayer room and even a Muslim chaplain.”
No fundamental Catholic doctrine? Is that what’s necessary for a private university to be able to reserve space at their campus to use as they see fit?
- Click here for DC Human Rights Act of 1997.
Victor Nakas, University Vice President of Public Affairs at CUA, commented:
“Catholic University is committed to the religious freedom and dignity of all members of its community. This includes the dozens of Muslims who come to the University for its academic excellence as well as its demonstrated history of outreach and dialogue to people of all faiths.”
Couldn’t reasonably ask for any more than that.
Notre Dame: Catholicism not the only religion on campus “Notre Dame’s Catholic identity can make it difficult for non-Catholics to find a place to express their faith. Traditionally only Roman Catholic worship services are held on campus on Sundays. … Often the most inquisitive are the parents of non-Catholic students, some of whom have initial concerns that their children will be forced to go to Catholic Mass (they’re not). ‘They know that their kids are coming to a place where it might be harder for them to express their faith, but really there’s a lot going on, a lot for them.'” Santoni, assistant director for peer ministry, said.
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