Home/Rod Dreher/Don’t blame Muslims for Catholic U. suit

Don’t blame Muslims for Catholic U. suit

A group of Muslims studying at the private Catholic University of America are petitioning the DC Office of Human Rights to investigate the university for not providing them a prayer room free of all Christian symbolism.

Oh wait, except that there’s no evidence that any actual Muslims are offended. Instead, a George Washington University law professor, John Banzhaf, has taken it upon himself to do so on behalf of Muslim students, who have never filed a complaint about this with anybody. Don’t blame Muslim students for this; blame the litigation-mad, publicity-seeking John Banzhaf. But if there ever were to be a student complaint, I would say this: if you want to study in a place devoid of religious symbolism, don’t choose to attend a private Catholic university. I would say the same thing to Catholic students who sued a Muslim college to compel them to provide a prayer space devoid of Islamic accoutrements.

I agree with Baylor professor Frank Beckwith, who says on his Facebook page:

When you don’t share the theological tradition of the school that you attend (or at which you teach), that is the time for you, as an individual, to exercise respect and tolerance. As a Catholic at a Baptist university, that is my posture. You honor your host by not expecting him to meet your needs at perhaps the expense of his own conscience.

That’s a great point, but let’s not forget that this whole thing was brought about not by Muslim students, but by a cranky law professor trying to make a name for himself. The web is filling up with outrage stories that Muslims are trying to bully Catholic University into accommodating them by suppressing its own Christian identity. Banzhaf is going to bring all kinds of opprobrium down on innocent Muslims, and contribute to religious discord in this country. Great job, jackass. With friends like you, American Muslims don’t need enemies.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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