Once again the ACLU back peddles and shows just how much the love double standards.
The latest battle of religion in the public square is unfolding in Dearborn, Michigan, a city with one of the highest Muslim populations in the country. At the University of Michiganâ€™s local campus, administrators have recently refitted several school bathrooms to include small footbaths in the cornerâ€“an accommodation for Muslim students who must perform ritual washing as part of their daily observance. The issue has more than a few of the usual suspects trying to explain their way out of their usual positions on the separation of church and state.
The Detroit chapter of the ACLU has scrambled to find a way to recuse itself from the matter, claiming that the footbaths qualify as secular since they could be used by non-Muslims, and therefore donâ€™t cross the groupâ€™s usual bright church-state line. Further, the ACLU explains, the universityâ€™s decision to take on the $25,000 expense was motivated primarily â€œby health and safetyâ€ because some students didnâ€™t like washing their hands in the sinks after others students had washed their feet. If that hadnâ€™t been the case, the group says this religious accommodation would surely have merited greater investigation and criticism.
Uh-huh. This is the same ACLU chapter that in 2005 objected to a high-school wrestling coach saying a prayer with his team before meets, calling the action â€œinherently coercive.â€ And the ACLU of Michigan is already on the defensive for its non-action this time. In a letter explaining its silence regarding university footbaths, the ACLU notes that it â€œhas often come to the defense of other religions when the state has attempted to interfere with their religious expression.â€ The letter even includes a list of cases in which the group has defended Christian clients. Too bad none of the examples prove much of a parallel to the current recusal over state recognition of a religious practice.