The facts for this blog, but not the conclusions, come from an article in the Detroit News on 18 June. The University of Michigan at Dearborn proposed to spend $25,000 on footbaths at the local campus, for Muslim students to use before their five-times-daily prayers. The reason for that was that “students might injure themselves, washing their feet in bathroom sinks.”
There was significant local opposition to this proposal, on the grounds that a public university shouldn’t be spending money for the benefit of one religion only. The Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that the money for this would have to be raised privately if the ACLU filed suit to stop the project. (CAIR did not flat-out offer to raise or provide the money.)
The ACLU, however, gave the project a clean bill of health, if you’ll pardon the pun. The Detroit branch of the ACLU (perhaps the most compliant branch that CAIR could find) issued a statement that this was a “cleanliness issue” and that there was “no intent to promote religion.”
Unless some organization which understands the First Amendment better than the ACLU stops this project with a law suit, $25,000 of the tax-payers’ money will be used to build these footbaths. At least, since they belong to the public, anyone should be able to use them, even students who wear classy, pigskin shoes.