catholic universityA group of Muslim students at the Catholic University of America has filed discrimination charges against the school for not providing adequate prayer rooms for them to perform their daily ritualistic prayers.

From the school's site The Tower:

The official allegations claim that CUA "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."

Holy cow! How dare a Catholic school have Catholic symbols on display in the classrooms! The shock! The outrage! The inhumanity!

Or something.

Here’s a fun fact: No one forced people practicing Islam to attend a Catholic university. The school’s website declares that CUA is the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States. It is a private school that requires undergraduate students to take courses in theology and philosophy to meet graduation requirements.

The loveliest thing about America is our freedom to pretty much do or say whatever we want, so long as it doesn’t affect the freedoms of others. We can (peacefully) protest, we can buy our favorite brands, we can choose to follow a religion (or not), and we get to pick which college to attend.

It’s great that these students have used their freedom in America to follow the religion of their choice. No one is telling them that they can’t be Muslim. But they have chosen to attend a Catholic school, which means that they need to be respectful of Catholicism.

The Catholic University of America has every right to display symbols of their religion, and should not be required to provide Islamic prayer rooms. Islamic prayer rooms are not Catholic, and therefore incongruous with the mission statement of the school, which explicitly states its commitment to “being a comprehensive Catholic and American institution of higher learning, faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed on by the Church.” 

If prayer rooms devoid of Christian symbols like icky crosses were that important to these students, they should have chosen a different school to attend.

 

Image via gore fiendus/Flickr