“SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!!!” It is a familiar refrain over the past half century. Few things will rile a gaggle of progressives faster than the perceived intermingling of Christianity and the public square. Just try saying, “God bless you” to a sneezer at a Post Office in California or the Northeast.
Despite the fact that the words “separation of church and state” appear nowhere in our nation’s laws or founding documents, progressives continue to guard vigilantly against any perceived encroachment. But why? Ostensibly, it is because the mingling of religion and the government will inevitably lead to a theocracy. Or so they say.
The elementary school district 68 in Skokie, Illinois has recently announced that they will be adding a school holiday for Eid ul Adha, one of the major Muslim holidays. District 68 has also recently announced that in order to make room for new holiday additions to the school year, it is contemplating dropping Veterans Day, Presidents Day, and Pulaski Day (a day to commemorate Casmir Pulaski, a Polish general in our War for Independence). Why the addition?
District 68 Superintendent Frances McTague says, “This was the first year I’ve been approached by a parent as to why we take two Jewish days off and no Muslim days off.” A singular parent’s question has prompted Superintendent McTague to scuttle holidays which celebrate our nation’s heroes, military and political.
At Parkdale High School in Riverdale, MD, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has worked with members of the Muslim Student Association to gain permission for Muslim students to pray during the school day on school grounds. On January 14th, students were directed to a specific location where they were encouraged to pray Dhuhr (afternoon) prayer in jam’ah from 12:45pm to 1pm. The students are now excused from their classes 10 minutes early in order to prepare for their prayers.
Lest we forget, in 1960 Madalyn Murray O’Hair sued the Baltimore MD school system on behalf of her son, William J. Murray, who was forced to participate in prayers in schools. Consequently, prayer was forbidden in Maryland schools, which eventually spread nation-wide a couple years later. Prayer has been forbidden since. Just a couple of years ago, a Baltimore school was censured for organizing an optional Christian prayer meeting over the weekend, for children who would be taking the Maryland School Assessment the following week. At the time, Baltimore City Public Schools issued the following statement: “It is not appropriate for public institutions of education to promote any particular religious practice.” I guess Parkdale didn’t get the memo…
Aside from the obvious logical logjam, what gives? How can progressives rant about the Establishment Clause with nary a whisper during a midday Maryland muezzin? A few answers present themselves. Perhaps they’re simply intimidated. The amount of political pressure a group like CAIR can focus on an organization is enough to force second-thoughts. They have managed to brand opposition to Islamic encroachment as “Islamophobia” while opposition to Christian encroachment is what all the kids are doing on a Saturday night. It takes no guts to oppose Christianity, while a Discount Double-Check with your life insurance agent is highly encouraged before criticizing Islam.
Is it possible that progressives aren’t aware of the special treatment being shown to Muslims in this situation and others? Highly unlikely. It is difficult for a football coach to take the Lord’s name in vain without getting slapped with a lawsuit from some bottom-dwelling atheist. The ACLU, American Atheists, Freedom From Religion Foundation, et al have their brackish roots deep into most corners of this country and they are more litigious than a personal injury lawyer on the set of Jackass. No, simple oversight is not a logical explanation for their strategic silence in the face of state-supported Islam.
The answer lies in the philosophical foundation of the worldviews involved.
Progressivism and Islam have always been fascinated with each other. They admire each other because they share a foundational platform. Ultimately, the root of each ideology is the ability to control their populations. Progressivism does so through government propaganda and regulations. Islam does so through religious propaganda and ecclesiastical edicts. They are both mutations of fascism and their common inspiration encourages them to play footsie when they meet. The fact that they both abhor, disavow, and mutilate the God of the Bible for their own ends is simply gravy.
They are united before a common enemy and so they are willing to look the other way when confronted with objectionable displays from the other side. It explains why groups like Queers for Palestine and the Al-Fatiha Foundation are still in business. It also explains silence from progressives when Muslim children are allowed to receive special treatment and pray during the school day on school grounds.
Besides, at heart Islam is not really a religion. It is a fascist totalitarianism which parades behind the guise of religion to take advantage of the advantages afforded to religions in the Western world to wrest control from the libertarian infidels. And that is something which warms the heart of the most pugnacious progressive.
Image: Playful boy in courtyard of the Great Umayyed Mosque of Damascus, Syria; author: James Gordon from Los Angeles, California, USA; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license