I was an expert witness for the plaintiffs in this case — seems like many years ago now. I have wanted to write about it but it just doesn’t end. From AgapePress, with thanks to Cindy:
(AgapePress) – A federal appeals court is being asked to reconsider its ruling that allows public schools to teach junior high students how to “become Muslims.” The Thomas More Law Center, a national public-interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is asking the entire Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on what can be done in public schools with regard to teaching Islam and other religions.
Several parents sued California’s Byron Union School District for requiring their 7th-grade children to participate in a three-week class activity in which they not only had to study important Islamic figures and wear traditional Muslim attire, but were also required to observe the “five pillars” of the Islamic faith, adopt Muslim names, recite a portion of a Muslim prayer, and even stage their own “jihad” or “holy war.” The plaintiffs’ attorney, the Thomas More Law Center’s Ed White, believes the school district violated the parents’ and children’s constitutional rights to free exercise of religion.
Earlier, White had asked a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit to overturn a previous San Francisco federal district court’s ruling that the Byron Union School District did not violate the U.S. Constitution. However, the Ninth Circuit panel of judges upheld the lower court’s determination in a brief, unpublished memorandum decision.
In that ruling, however, the panel overlooked and failed to rule on the plaintiff’s claims that their free exercise and parental rights had been violated. The Thomas More Law Center has asked the three-judge panel to reconsider their decision and to issue a ruling on the claims not previously addressed. The Law Center has also asked all 24 active judges on the Ninth Circuit to consider and rule on the case….
White has filed a petition for a rehearing of the case before the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Chief counsel Richard Thompson says the appellate court needs to clarify in a published opinion just how far public schools can go in teaching about religion.