Justice Dept. Sues School for Not Letting Muslim Teacher go to Mecca

Justice Dept. Sues School for Not Letting Muslim Teacher go to Mecca

December 16th, 2010


The  federal government sued a suburban Chicago school district  Monday for  denying a Muslim middle school teacher unpaid leave to make a  pilgrimage  to Mecca that is a central part of her religion.

In a civil rights case, the department said  the school district in  Berkeley, Ill., denied the request of Safoorah  Khan on grounds that her  requested leave was unrelated to her  professional duties and was not  set forth in the contract between the  school district and the teachers  union. In doing so the school district  violated the Civil Rights Act of  1964 by failing to reasonably  accommodate her religious practices, the  government said.

Khan wanted to perform the Hajj, the  pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi  Arabia which every adult Muslim is supposed  to make at least once in a  lifetime if they are physically and  financially able to. Millions go  each year.

Khan started as a middle school teacher for Berkeley School District 87 — about 15 miles west of Chicago — in   2007. In 2008, she asked for almost three weeks of unpaid leave to   perform the Hajj. After the district twice denied her request, Khan   wrote the board that “based on her religious beliefs, she could not   justify delaying performing hajj,” and resigned shortly thereafter,   according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago.
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The ACLU’s Communist, Atheist Roots

The ACLU’s Communist, Atheist Roots

December 16th, 2010

Dr. Paul Kengor, FloydReports.com

The ACLU seems unusually active right now. What  gives? Maybe it’s   the Christmas season, which always seems to spring the  ACLU into high   gear, making it more miserable than usual.

I tried to ignore the latest round of ACLU legal  challenges against   religious Americans, but they became too much. The  surge has been   remarkably ecumenical, not singling out Protestant or  Catholic   interests.

First, I got an email from Mat Staver’s group,  Liberty Counsel,   highlighting a bunch of ACLU lawsuits. Then I read a  page-one,   top-of-the-fold headline in the National Catholic Register,    “Catholic Hospitals Under New Attack by ACLU,” regarding an ACLU    request to compel Catholic hospitals to do abortions. Next was an email    from a colleague at Coral Ridge Ministries, forwarding a Washington Times article. Then came another email from yet another Christian group on lawsuits somewhere in Florida. And on and on.

That was just a sampling of this year’s Christmas  cheer, courtesy of   the American Civil Liberties Union. At least the ACLU  always finds a   way to unite Protestants and Catholics.

In the interest of faith and charity, I’d like to  add my own   ecumenical offering—a history lesson. It concerns some  fascinating   material I recently published on the ACLU’s early founders,  especially   three core figures: Roger Baldwin, Harry Ward, and Corliss  Lamont. I   can only provide a snapshot here, but you’ll get the picture.

First, Roger Baldwin: Baldwin was the founder of the  ACLU, so far to   the Left that he was hounded by the Justice Department  of the   progressive’s progressive, Woodrow Wilson. Perhaps it was a faith    thing. Wilson was a progressive, but he was also a devout Christian,    and Roger Baldwin was anything but that.

Baldwin was an atheist. He was also a onetime Communist, who, among other ignoble gestures, wrote a horrible 1928 book called Liberty Under the Soviets….

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Science of man-made life can proceed: White House playing God

Science of
man-made life can proceed: White House
Dec 16
11:10 AM US/Eastern
The White House on Thursday said
the controversial field of synthetic biology, or manipulating the DNA of
organisms to forge new life forms, poses limited risks and should be allowed to
An expert panel convened by President Barack Obama advised vigilance and
self-regulation as scientists seeks ways to create new organisms that could
spark useful innovations in clean energy, pollution control and medicine.
The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues “concluded
that synthetic biology is capable of significant but limited achievements posing
limited risks,” it said in its first report.
“Future developments may raise further objections, but the Commission found
no reason to endorse additional federal regulations or a moratorium on work in
this field at this time.”
The panel was created by Obama last year. Its first order of business was to
consider the issue of synthetic biology after the J. Craig Venter Institute
announced in May it had developed the first self-replicating bacteria cell
controlled by a synthetic genome.
Critics said the discovery was tantamount to “playing God,” creating
organisms without adequate understanding the ramifications, and upsetting the
natural order.
Announcing the creation of the “first synthetic cell,” lead researcher Craig
Venter said at the time it “certainly changed my views of the definitions of
life and how life works.”
But the commission said Venter’s team had not actually created life, since
the work mainly involved altering an already existing life form.
“Thoughtful deliberation about the meaning of this achievement was impossible
in the hours that elapsed between the breaking news and the initial round of
commentaries that ensued,” it said in its report.
“Of note, many scientists observe that this achievement is not tantamount to
‘creating life’ in a scientific sense because the research required a
functioning, naturally occurring host cell to accept the synthesized genome.”