A double standard both sides can agree on?

In an editorial titled "No special rights for Muslim students," the Examiner questions why George Mason University and other schools are providing religious accommodations for Muslim students which are not being provided Christian or Jewish groups. As Mark Tapscott pointed out in the email,

GMU's decision is especially puzzling because the school has a bit of a conservative reputation since, for example, former Attorney General Ed Meese is on its board.
I might be wrong, but I think that there might be a bit of an unholy alliance of collusion between religious conservatives and ACLU types on this one. Once Muslim activists are allowed religious uses heretofore not allowed Christians, the latter can avail themselves of an Equal Protection claim, knowing that in the long run, "special religious rights" for Muslims will be unlikely to survive court scrutiny.

For now, of course, there is a glaring double standard, as the Examiner notes:

....Church and state remain firmly separated on campuses where the majority of students are Christian, Jewish or of no faith, but administrators toss the principle right out the window to satisfy a minority of Muslim students. Many college officials are granting prerogatives to Muslim students in the United States and Canada that are not permitted to other groups. For instance, the Ontario Human Rights Commission regards failure to make special accommodations for Muslim students, including inserting "Islamic perspectives" into secular curriculums like nursing and finance, as a form of "Islamophobia." Expect similar political correct demands soon on American campuses.

This Orwellian, some-religions-are-more-equal-than-others approach is both hypocritical and discriminatory. The Constitution, to say nothing of basic fairness, demands that the same rules regarding the public expression of religious faith be applied equally to everybody. And for once wouldn't it be refreshing to see a college president show some real backbone when faced with unreasonable demands from activist minority students seeking exclusive privileges?

I doubt that anyone will show any backbone. Administrators will continue to deny accommodations to Christian groups while granting them to Muslims, until the courts step in. Meanwhile, the ACLU -- and Christian and Jewish religious conservatives -- have nothing to lose by letting it happen.

That there are very different goals (advancing identity politics on the one hand, and advancing taxpayer assisted "religion in the public square" on the other) is largely irrelevant now.

Long term, I think religious conservatives will be utilizing identity politics to their own ends, and the left will probably go along with it.

Hey why not?

The deliberate fragmentation of society might become mutually acceptable to both sides.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds thinks the reason for the double standard is fear (if schools are providing religious accommodations for Muslim students out of fear that they'll be blown up if they don't).

Sooner or later, you know, fundamentalist Christians are going to pick up on this lesson, engage in similar behavior, and make similar demands. Because, apparently, it works fine.
I guess that would also result in equal fragmentation for both sides.

posted by Eric on 05.14.07 at 08:22 AM


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