Monday, March 2, 2009

Properly Understanding the Times

Properly Understanding the Times by Guy Rodgers

Dear Friends ,
As a student of the colonial period and the Founding Fathers, one of the traits I learned that was common to most of them, and reflected in their writings, was their ability to recognize the long-term ramifications of even seemingly innocuous actions. In other words, they were able to "read" beyond the concrete actions, such as actions taken by Great Britain, determine the driving force behind the actions, and extrapolate into the future what would happen if those actions were not addressed and, if necessary, confronted.

They could do so because they were astute students of history and human nature. They understood that people act consistently with what they believe, and thus, if you understand what someone believes, you can reasonably predict what they will do over time in different situations.

Looking backward, you can also analyze human action in history, and from that extrapolate forward to predict what will occur in the future based on that analysis. George Santayana penned a famous phrase that captures this understanding: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It is in this vein that we will truly "understand the times" with respect to the growing worldwide spread of radical Islam. The news story below reports the challenges several public school districts are facing in order to accommodate Muslim prayer demands in their schools.

It's not just that they want to pray in school. Anyone has the right to do that. They want private places set aside for them to pray. Are these "seemingly innocuous" cases of Muslims asking for the right to practice their faith? Or a glimpse of greater demands to come? Read the article, then click here to view a short video that shows how Islam spreads from the "seemingly innocuous" actions to the eventual intimidation, terrorizing and ultimate domination of societies. And as you view the video, remind yourself of Santayana's words.

Muslim boy looking for a place to pray Thursday, February 19, 2009 BY ANDREA ALEXANDER WAYNE -- Rola Awwad wants a private space for her 10-year-old son at Albert Payson Terhune Elementary School to exercise his right to Muslim prayer.

CARMINE GALASSO / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Adam Awwad, 10, praying at the Circassian Benevolent Association in Wayne after being driven there from school by his mother. The school district had offered to let him pray at recess -- either outside or in a classroom while classmates are there. And that, says Awwad, is "unacceptable." All students are constitutionally guaranteed the right to pray during the school day as long as it doesn't interfere with learning. But Wayne is struggling with what accommodations to make if a Muslim student requests privacy for prayer. The answer in other North Jersey districts ranges from providing access to the principal's office, to providing a spare room. But school administrators in suburban Wayne have been weighing the question since fall, when Awwad asked the principal to allow her son, Adam, a few minutes of privacy each afternoon to pray. The district says it's concerned about allowing a young pupil to be unsupervised, even for a short time, and Awwad said her request was met with resistance. "Why can't he be on his own for five minutes praying?" said Awwad, a Palestinian who moved to the United States from Jordan 11 years ago. She said it's important to her that her children go to public school and make diverse friends. But she also wants them to be able to practice their religion. "All I want from the school is to let my son pray in a private place in a small room, say his prayer and go back to class," she said. Muslims pray five times a day to reaffirm their faith and submit to follow divine commandments. The prayer is said during prescribed times; in the fall, when the clocks roll back at the end of daylight savings time, the afternoon prayer must be said during the school day, Awwad explained. Federal guidelines say schools can't prevent students from praying during school hours, but schools can't sponsor religious activities or lead students in prayer. But the guidelines don't provide specifics on how schools should handle requests like Awwad's. And because that's left to the discretion of school administrators, North Jersey districts have responded with a hodgepodge of approaches. In Passaic, an elementary school student is allowed to pray privately in a classroom storage closet, Superintendent Robert Holster said. A middle school principal in Cliffside Park allows a student to pray in her office, Superintendent Michael Romagnino said. If an elementary school child wanted a private place to pray, the superintendent said he would ask the principal to make an accommodation in an available office. And Teaneck High School sets aside a room where Muslim students are allowed to go and say their prayers, said district spokesman Dave Bicofsky. Wayne's district does not even have a consistent approach among its schools, The Record found in interviews with parents and the administration. Awwad said when she first made her request, she was advised to pick up Adam at lunch and take him out of school to say prayers, which she has done for the last several months. When she pressed to have him allowed to pray in the building, the district offered to let Adam pray outside during lunch, or in the classroom during recess when the weather was bad. But another elementary school principal in the district had offered to let a student pray in an office. School board Attorney John Croot said the district thought it had made an "acceptable accommodation" when it offered to let Muslim students pray outside during lunch, or inside in a classroom in days of bad weather. He said the district is trying to strike a balance between constitutional principles. For school officials, the issue is complicated by the degree of religious practice: For instance, federal guidelines specifically mention a student's right to quietly read the Bible during lunch. But the guidelines are not clear on what a district should do when the expression of religion is more demonstrative, as it is in Adam's case. "Then you are talking about a public school district," Croot said. "You have to carefully weigh the constitutional issues. It's a balance between the free exercise of religion and the concept of the separation of church and state. It's a public school district and you have to consider those constitutional issues." Croot said he sought guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and was advised the district should have a consistent approach. Awwad told the district in a letter that its latest accommodation "is unacceptable." Her son would have to put his prayer mat and touch his forehead on the damp ground if he prayed outside. And she said Adam was worried that other students would ridicule him if he prayed in the classroom. Croot said "nothing has been foreclosed yet. We are still in discussions. We have indicated one possible accommodation that would have been acceptable, but there may be other accommodations that we could reach."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- ACT for America P.O. Box 12765 Pensacola, FL 32591

No comments:

Post a Comment