‘Many public schools have become a hot bed of Islamic propaganda…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) When Caleigh Wood, now 20 years old, was a junior at La Plata High School in Maryland, her teacher disparaged her Christian faith and demanded that she write the Islamic creed.
Wood believes the school violated her First Amendment rights, and after being defeated in lower courts she has appealed her case to the Supreme Court.
Wood refused to write the creed, citing the Christian tenet that proclaiming belief in a God other than the true God and a messenger other than Jesus Christ is sinful.
She asked to be excused from the assignment, but the school would not respect her faith.
She offered to complete an alternative assignment, but the school would not acquiesce.
Her teacher also belittled Christianity without evidence, saying “most Muslims’ faith is stronger than the average Christian.”
The “anti-Christian assignment” and propaganda led the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) to file a federal lawsuit in January 2016 on the basis that the school had violated her First Amendment right “not to be forced to profess faith in another religion,” according to a press release.
Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel, represents Wood in the lawsuit.
“Under the guise of teaching history or social studies, public schools across America are promoting the religion of Islam in ways that would never be tolerated for Christianity or any other religion. I’m not aware of any school which has forced a Muslim student to write the Lord’s Prayer or John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’”
Both the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Wood and in favor of the High School’s anti-Christian curriculum.
Thompson appealed to the Supreme Court and asked it to determine two questions: “Whether the Establishment Clause permits a public school to make preferential statements about one religion over another,” and “Whether a public school may require a student to assert religious beliefs and recount a prayer that offends the student’s religious convictions as part of a homework assignment.”
The appeals court argued that the assignment about the shahada—the Islamic creed—was merely factual.
Students “were not required to memorize the shahada, to recite it, or even to write the complete statement of faith,” Fourth Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan wrote in the decision.
“School authorities, not the courts, are charged with the responsibility of deciding what speech is appropriate in the classroom,” Keenan wrote, Stars and Stripes reported. “Academic freedom would not long survive in an environment in which courts micromanage school curricula and parse singular statements made by teachers.”
But the teacher’s statements against Christianity and in favor of Islam were not isolated. She gave a PowerPoint presentation in favor of Islam that contained these statements:
“Islam at heart is a peaceful religion.”
Jihad is a “personal struggle in devotion to Islam, especially involving spiritual discipline.”
“To Muslims, Allah is the same God that is worshiped in Christianity and Judaism.”
“Men are the managers of the affairs of women” and “Righteous women are therefore obedient.”
The teacher made claims that are more than factual.
La Plata High School’s “content specialist” admitted as much, calling the statement about Muslims having stronger faith than Christians “inappropriate.”
The school said it has removed the PowerPoint slide from its curriculum.
“Many public schools have become a hot bed of Islamic propaganda,” Thompson said. “Teaching Islam in schools has gone far beyond a basic history lesson. Prompted by zealous Islamic activism and emboldened by confusing court decisions, schools are now bending over backwards to promote Islam while at the same time denigrate Christianity. We are asking the Supreme Court to provide the necessary legal guidance to resolve the insidious discrimination against Christians in our public schools.”