One of my more contentious battles on Twitter came in late 2014, after a dad in Maryland received a no trespassing order from La Plata High School in Maryland. The dad, John Wood, “challenged a history class assignment that had students list the benefits of Islam,” according to a news account.
The reporter lied. Seriously. There was nothing in the assignment about the “benefits” of Islam. The assignment was about the tenets of Islam, and it’s something we should be expecting and even demanding our schools teach.
This is not a double standard. Atheists are frequently accused of crying foul whenever schools try to promote Christianity, but looking the other way when those same schools teach about other religions. But the argument is disingenuous, because there’s a huge difference between a public school promoting a religion and that same school teaching about a religion.
Reasonable people, atheists and theists alike, do not object to public schools teaching about religion.
Martin Luther at work.
A public school curriculum that teaches about the history of Judaism would be perfectly within its rights to expect its students to learn the 10 Commandments, and I don’t know of a single atheist group that would object. A school that teaches about Christianity would, of necessity, include information about the claim that Jesus was raised from the dead three days after his crucifixion. Again, I don’t know of a single atheist group that would object to a public school teaching about those religions.
For a school to teach about the Five Pillars of Islam would be equally uncontroversial.
At least, it would be if parents did not go out and actively oppose the education of their children.
But that’s what John and Melissa Wood of Maryland have done. Last month, they sued La Plata High School over their daughter’s homework assignment, claiming that it indoctrinated their daughter and tricked her into becoming a Muslim by reciting the “Shahada,” the Islamic Creed that states “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
The stupidity of the lawsuit is evident from several facts. Read More