Yet another reason to split the 9th Circuit — at the Carquinez Bridge.
Michelle Malkin has the latest on what is allowed (Islam) and not allowed (Christianity) in our public schools (at least here on the Left Coast):
A Contra Costa County school was educating seventh-graders about Islam, not indoctrinating them, in role-playing sessions in which students used Muslim names and recited language from prayers, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.
What infuriates the most is the Orwellian language used to justify Islam in our schools
“The Islam program activities were not overt religious exercises that raise Establishment Clause concerns,” the three-judge panel said, referring to the First Amendment ban on government sanctioning a religion.
During the history course at Excelsior School in the fall of 2001, the teacher, using an instructional guide, told the students they would adopt roles as Muslims for three weeks to help them learn what Muslims believe.
She encouraged them to use Muslim names, recited prayers in class and made them give up something for a day, such as television or candy, to simulate fasting during Ramadan. The final exam asked students for a critique of elements of Muslim culture. . . .
The court cited its 1994 ruling rejecting a suit by evangelical Christian parents in Woodland (Yolo County) who objected to elementary school children reading texts that contained tales and role-playing exercises about witches. In that case, the court said classroom activities related to the texts, which included casting a make-believe spell, were secular instruction rather than religious rituals.
Casting a make-believe spell is not a ritual?
In whose parallel universe?
Did this worldly history class teach baptisms? Just asking.
Ace of Spades suggests:
Let’s just stop saying “separation of church and state” and call it “separation of Christianity and state,” because that’s all this clause seems to mean.
Jeff Goldstein notes the selective consistency of our beloved 9th Circuit:
What does bother me about this ruling, however, is this: this same Circuit Court ruled that reciting the Pledge, when it includes the phrase “under God,” is a coercive exercise, and is therefore unconstitutional—despite having an opt-out option. Which is to say, that the 9th Circuit ruled that the Pledge is unconstitutional even though nobody was being forced to recite it.
Here, however, the coercion standard has shifted, it seems—and the opt out clause in this instance apparently satisfied the Court.
Ann Althouse, as always, shares common sense:
If you wouldn’t do an exercise like this for all the religions, you shouldn’t do it for any of them. Asking children to say prayers that they do not believe could be very offensive to those who actually believe the religion. And finding out that the school made your child recite prayers other than yours is infuriating.
The 9th Circuit says the following is permissable (PDF available):
Salaat (prayer) Owing to the sensitive nature of imitating another’s form of prayer, your group will not be asked to directly simulate this activity. However, you should show understanding of the meaning of several religious sayings that illustrate Islamic beliefs. Therefore, each member should analyze at least one verse from The Qur’an and memorize five proverbs listed on the POPULAR PROVERBS handout. If called on, each member should be able to explain the verse or recite a proverb and explain what either means in our culture.
And we can’t even say Merry Christmas.