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DC Govt. Investigating Discrimination Against Muslims at Catholic U - Fox News Confirms

Fox News reports that: "The Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights confirmed that it is investigating allegations that Catholic University violated the human rights of Muslim students by not allowing them to form a Muslim student group"

PRLog - Oct. 27, 2011 - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Fox News reports that: "The Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights confirmed that it is investigating allegations that Catholic University violated the human rights of Muslim students by not allowing them to form a Muslim student group and by not providing them rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers."

"A spokesperson for the Office of Human Rights told Fox News they had received a 60-page complaint against the private university. The investigation, they said, could take as long as six months. The complaint was filed by John Banzhaf, an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School.": http://nation.foxnews.com/war-religion/2011/10/27/muslims-say-crosses-catholic-university-violate-human-rights#ixzz1c0rUXGQD

The issue has also aroused a great deal of concern among conservative spokespersons and Catholic organizations:

IS CATHOLIC U TOO CATHOLIC? :http://www.theblaze.com/blog/2011/10/26/muslims-at-cathol...

RUSH LIMBAUGH: http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2011/10/26/quick_hits_page

CATHOLIC CULTURE: http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?s...

SEAN HANNITY: http://forums.hannity.com/showthread.php?p=96501111

CARDINAL NEWMAN SOCIETY: http://blog.cardinalnewmansociety.org/2011/10/26/catholic-university-accused-of-discriminating-against-muslims/

To Banzhaf, it appears to be part of a larger issue occurring in many different areas: To what extent must a religious organization obey secular laws?:

* A bus line operated by a private company, primarily to provide service between two Hasidic Jewish communities in Brooklyn, NY, and reportedly governed by a board of rabbis, has been ordered to stop separating male and female passengers; a practice required by its orthodox religious views.

* The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] has found that a decision by Belmont Abbey College -- a very religious Catholic college run by monks -- not to provide contraceptive pills under its health care coverage was discriminatory because it denied a benefit only to women. The policy was held to constitute illegal sex discrimination, despite the long standing and very strong religious beliefs opposing contraception by the Catholic church and its followers, and despite the fact that state (but not federal) law provided an exemption for religious organizations.

* As John Garvey has complained, new health insurance regulations designed to prevent discrimination “will require Catholic University to offer its students sterilization procedures and prescription contraceptives, including pills that act after fertilization to induce abortions. If we comply, as the law requires, we will be helping our students do things that we teach them, in our classes and in our sacraments, are sinful – sometimes gravely so."

* The U.S. Supreme Court is wrestling with the extent to which church law or secular controls regarding the hiring of a teacher who teaches both secular and religious courses.

The general rule, says Banzhaf, is that religious organizations must, with rare exceptions, abide by anti-discrimination and other similar laws, citing the principle that everyone must "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's."

Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
2000 H Street, NW, Suite S402
Washington, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418

# # #

John F. Banzhaf III is a Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University Law School [http://banzhaf.net/] where he is best known for his work regarding smoking, obesity [http://banzhaf.net/obesitylinks.html], etc.

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