Commentary by James H. Shott
The United States has been under assault for years by the Political Correctness nannies, who regularly complain about what they see as intolerance and discrimination. And good Americans, being the fair-minded souls that they are, have given in to this onslaught to a far more than reasonable degree, accepting “solutions” that are themselves intolerant and discriminatory in response. And as a result, the country is awash in senseless policies and practices that frequently trample on common sense and individual freedoms in order to make a relative few people feel better.
Case-in-point number 1: Vanderbilt University has notified four Christian student groups that they are on “provisional status” and are in danger of being thrown off campus. What horrible wrong have these young Christians committed? Fighting or drunkenness? No. Cheating on tests? No. What, then?
Vanderbilt charges the groups are out of compliance with the school’s nondiscrimination policy. Those organizations logically want leaders that share the group’s beliefs, goals and values, but the university says that is intolerant and discriminatory.
Presumably, the school’s administration thinks that a Christian group should be led by a Jew, Buddhist, Muslim or atheist, or that a women’s group should be led by a man, or a Democrat group should be led by a Republican, or a Muslim group should be led by a Christian or a Jew.
The idiocy of such a policy ought to be self-evident, but in today’s upside-down world, apparently it is not.
Case-in-point number 2: Muslim students at Catholic University of America (CU) claim that their human rights have been violated by the school because it did not provide them rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers, and this allegation is now being investigated by the Office of Human Rights.
The complaint alleges that Muslim students “must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism … which many Muslim students find inappropriate.” How could a Catholic institution be so intolerant of others and so arrogant as to fill its campus with Catholic symbols?
The attorney who filed the complaint said not providing special prayer rooms “may not be illegal, but it suggests they are acting improperly and probably with malice.” Muslims “do have to pray five times a day, they have to look around for empty classrooms and to be sitting there trying to do Muslim prayers with a big cross looking down or a picture of Jesus or a picture of the Pope is not very conducive to their religion.”
But isn’t religion about one’s relationship to a supreme entity and religious beliefs? Isn’t the prayer itself more important than the surroundings in which it is offered?
The president of an organization that promotes Catholic identity responded that “one wouldn’t expect a Jewish institution to be responsible for providing liturgical opportunities for other faiths and I wouldn’t expect a Catholic institution to do that,” he said.
That sounds sensible, doesn’t it?
The attorney’s admission that CU is not breaking the law tells us something about his motives. We may presume that the Muslim students want to attend a university based in Catholicism, a religion about as different from theirs as one could be, because of its high educational quality. But they apparently expect the institution to accede to their desires to change it to their liking.
More pertinent is why the federal government should have anything to say about how a successful and respected private institution adorns its rooms, and why it should potentially be able to alter how it operates.
Another complaint filed by this attorney charges that “eliminating all mixed-gender dormitories on campus, and henceforth forcing students who live on campus to reside in single-sex segregated residences, constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex against female students, since students will be assigned to dormitories solely on the basis of their sex, and many will be denied their residence of choice solely because of, and on the basis of, their sex." Does the attorney believe this policy discriminates only against female students? Is that position itself also discriminatory, and should that attorney therefore be sanctioned?
Case-in-point number 3: An Illinois middle school math lab instructor in her first year on the job asked for a three-week unpaid leave to take a religious trip just before exam time. The school district denied the request because the teacher was the department’s only instructor, and also stated that the contract under which she was employed did not provide for such leave. The instructor, a Muslim, filed a complaint against her employer claiming religious discrimination for refusing her time off for a trip to Mecca.
The Justice Department has forced the school district to pay the teacher $75,000 and implement a sensitivity training course throughout the district.
These examples illustrate that the inmates have taken over the asylum. Government and other nannies labor mightily to alter the realities of life to assuage the easily offended who expect everything to suit them, always. People must learn that despite the efforts of the nannies, life isn’t perfect and no one can make it so. They need to adjust to reality and figure out how to succeed despite the occasional bumps in the road.
Cross-posted from Observations