Attack on Catholic identity at Catholic University of America

From Todd Starnes of Fox News.

Muslims say crosses at Catholic University Violate “Human Rights”

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. [Lemme get this straight.  They enroll in a Catholic University… and it isn’t a surprise that it is “Catholic” given that it is called “Catholic University of America”.  Then they complain that there are Catholic symbols everywhere!]
The investigation alleges that Muslim students “must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism – e.g., a wooden crucifix, paintings of Jesus, pictures of priests and theologians which many Muslim students find inappropriate.”  [Perhaps they should enroll at Islamic University of America?]

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 a six months. [Could they have had a little help writing the complaint?]

The complaint was filed by John Banzhaf, an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School. [Ahhh,,,,] Banzhaf has been involved in previous litigation against the school involving the same-sex residence halls. He also alleged in his complaint involving Muslim students that women at the university were being discriminated against. You can read more on those allegations by clicking here.



I wonder whether Catholic students at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia have rooms with crucifixes for their Masses.

Does Banzhaf has a thing about Catholics and Catholic teaching?  First he goes after CUA on behalf of homosexuals and now on behalf of Muslims.  Raises questions, no?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. wmeyer says:

    I’m guessing that Banzhaf is probably an ACLU member.

  2. contrarian says:

    I’m actually surprised that Muslim students would want to be part of a complaint like this. If it truly is the case that these students have pursued these charges, I’m left scratching my head. It’s one thing if a know-nothing like Banzhaf would want to be part of such a ridiculous thing. But I should think the Muslim students should know better.

  3. Frank H says:

    Check out the Wikipedia entry on Banzhaf. He has taken up such causes as forcing tv stations to run ads against smoking, passive smoke, obesity, “potty parity”…good grief. The poster boy for abdication of personal responsibility!

  4. Papabile says:

    LOL. Once again, my alma mater makes the news.

    This is not surprising at all. The one thing Catholic University does well is being ham-handed when it comes to implementing it’s own policies.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this was some bureaucratic decision by the Office of Student Life to not recognize them because they didn’t fulfill some technicality. Then, when the students requested prayer rooms (probably through student life, and not Campus Ministry), they were probably told to pound sand because they were not a recognized group. Then, when they went to the Press, the press shop shoots out an inanity that they can refuse to recognize non-Catholic organizations because they are Catholic….. forgetting they have a Jewish student group, and thus inviting a lawsuit.

    Yeah, the muslim complaints are ridiculous, but without even knowing all the facts, I am more than inclined to blame CUA and the Administration for causing this.

  5. TomG says:

    Why should Muslim students know better? There are plenty of people like Banzhaf in this country who are happy to encourage them. The problem is, shekels bring shackels. CUA is a recipient of government aid in many forms, a conscious choice they have made. If their identity is really, really important to them, they would go the way of Hillsdale College. Anything short of that – they are unprotected. And Banzhaf is hardly a know-nothing: he knows exactly what he is doing.

  6. kat says:

    I find it frustrating–and frightening–that the issue is being “taken up” by anyone in authority at all.

    Perhaps it’s time, while we still have a chance, to build “priest holes” in our homes and other buildings, for when open persecution does come…

    Read “The autobiography of a hunted priest” and then don’t think that it could NEVER happen here in these “free” United States.

    May God have mercy on us.

  7. Dan says:

    It’s my understanding that the previous complaint about same-sex dorms has nothing to do with housing homosexuals, but rather having separate dorms for men and women.

  8. irishgirl says:

    Why are Moslem students at a ‘Catholic’ university to begin with?
    Aren’t there any universities for them back in their home countries?
    Why come here?

  9. Supertradmum says:

    Mass is outlawed in Saudi Arabia, Oman and other Islamic countries. This type of law suit against Christians is done on purpose to make us into dhimmies and change the culture into Islamic culture. Such people want the Islamization of the United States.

  10. priests wife says:

    …and our tiny little Byzantine Catholic mission that doesn’t even give my husband a stipend has to take a collection for this ‘Catholic’ University— so that Muslims can go to school there (?)

  11. Fr Martin Fox says:

    CUA should allow a Muslim student association. I’m sure they can find a “clean room” (with no crucifixes) that can be used for meetings and prayer. That is more than sufficient accommodation; no reasonable person is going to insist every crucifix come down; and if the group were to seek that, well, that’s a good fight to have. Let’s have it sooner rather than later.

  12. Lucas says:

    My brother and sister in law went there, and both were friends with Muslims, and none of them had any problems with doing their prayers.

    One went there because, I think, her dad was a teacher there and she got in for free, another because the Nursing school is highly rated.

  13. Titus says:

    Good grief. I hope CUA finds itself a gunslinger who can get a bill of peace and Rule 11 sanctions against this crank.

  14. mrose says:

    Why should someone at a Catholic university go out of his way to provide them with a room devoid of religious articles? This is not about common courtesy or something like that; one religion is True and one is not, so we should remove items that reflect the true religion so that those who have a false religion can be more comfortable about their religion?

    This is a Catholic university! They have no “right” to form a Muslim student group – one may debate whether they should be permitted to do so, but certainly a Catholic institution should not hide away Catholic signs and articles so that others are more comfortable.

  15. MRoot says:

    Here is the article on this in the CUA student newspaper –
    I don’t know the details, but from this story it is unclear whether any Muslim students are actually involved in this lawsuit or is it just a creation of the lawyer suing.

  16. APX says:

    I’m so sick of this nonsense! Why are these types of of “human rights” complaints permitted, but I as a Catholic, am required to take some nonsense women’s studies class for my BAA in Justice requiring me to write some paper on how wonderful it is that women have the right to have abortions and have access to “the pill” and not permitted to write an alternative paper based on another area of women studies that doesn’t go against my religious beliefs? Why isn’t my school required to supply me with a room I can use for private prayer that’s appropriately furnished for my Catholic/Christian beliefs, but the Muslim students get their own room that is strictly for “Muslim Prayers Only”. My school doesn’t even have any on Campus resources for Catholics aside from a “non-denominational” chaplain with rainbow flags adorned in her office.

    Mass is outlawed in Saudi Arabia, Oman and other Islamic countries. This type of law suit against Christians is done on purpose to make us into dhimmies and change the culture into Islamic culture. Such people want the Islamization of the United States.
    Ah, it’s not just the US. It’s here in Canada too, and if the birth rates vs mortality rate ratio stays as it is, it’s only going to get worse. Right now the immigration gates are wide open in Canada in order to sustain the population.

  17. cuaguy says:

    As a current student, I feel it is important to point out that not only is there a newly formed Arab student group, but every Arab student that I have met has enjoyed CU, especially since we hold many of the same moral views. This is a made up frivoulous piece of crap that doesn’t actual involve any students…

  18. kat says:

    It’s the same all over the world. In case anyone missed it…in the “joy” of seeing Libya’s leader killed and a new leader in place: the new man said (parapharasing from news item I heard) “Muslim law is now the rule of the land; any laws that are opposed to Muslim law are revoked.”

    Hope everyone is thrilled that the terrible dictators are all being toppled…in favor of strict Muslim Rulers in each of the countries. Of course THEY are not “DICTATORS.” Yea right.

  19. My husband teaches at CUA. From what he understands, the students have nothing to do with it. It is simply Banzhaf looking for reasons to file suit against CUA.

    Wiaam Al Salmi, a Muslim student at CUA who recently started the Arab American Association, which had is first meeting this week, said, “The community here is very respectful of other religions and I feel free to openly practice it.”

    “Even though it’s a Catholic school, a lot of its teachings are very similar to Islam,” said Al Salmi. “It teaches respect, community service, love, worship etc. which are things that Islam also teaches.”

  20. Varda says:

    I remember Banzhaf from when I was a student at GWU. His great accomplishment at that time was to force the university to allow a pornographic film festival in the student center. He is the main reason alumni fund raising appeals from GWU go straight into the trash. He is a disgrace to the university.

  21. Tony Layne says:

    I suppose Banzhaf has tenure, which means it would be next to impossible to fire him? (Which, of course, would lead him to file another lawsuit ….) Surely there must be some way to get that kind of nuisance off the CUA staff!

  22. Rob Cartusciello says:

    It is telling that John Banzhaf begins his press release on the lawsuit with the following paragraph:

    In the wake of the first-ever criminal indictment of a Catholic Bishop and a Catholic Diocese for failure to report suspected child abuse, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, has been charged with violations of the Human Rights Act for allegedly discriminating illegally against both Muslims and women at Catholic University in the District of Columbia.

  23. Fr Martin Fox says:

    MRose asks:

    “Why should someone at a Catholic university go out of his way to provide them with a room devoid of religious articles? This is not about common courtesy or something like that; one religion is True and one is not, so we should remove items that reflect the true religion so that those who have a false religion can be more comfortable about their religion?”

    I’m assuming that not every single room on the campus has religious articles; perhaps I’m wrong. So it isn’t a question of removing items, but just saying, “here’s a room.” If, indeed, every single room in the entire campus has religious articles on the walls, then by all means, folks who use the room will have to deal with that.

    “This is a Catholic university! They have no ‘right’ to form a Muslim student group – one may debate whether they should be permitted to do so, but certainly a Catholic institution should not hide away Catholic signs and articles so that others are more comfortable.”

    I agree; it’s not a question of rights; it’s a question of our values as Catholics, including the value of hospitality. If a Catholic university admits Muslim students, it is unreasonable, I think, to say they can’t have a group that organizes various events. It is unreasonable not to expect they will want to pray. It is, I think, discourteous to provide no accommodation for that.

    But if, indeed, the policy is no accommodation, then prospective students belonging to other religions should be told that up front: “You are allowed to attend here, but we do not accommodate you practicing your religion.”

  24. Varda says:

    Tony Layne – he is a law professor at George Washington University – not Catholic U.

  25. KAS says:

    Every Muslim I know would NOT want a CATHOLIC education, so why go to a Catholic institution if not to have the opportunity to try and force some aspect of Sharia Law onto a CATHOLIC school?

    Why are CATHOLICS so dumb about the goals of other groups and religions?

    I would expect no less of any Muslim but to find an excuse or some US law to use to force some aspect of compliance with Sharia on any non-muslim group. Every law in this country designed to prevent discrimination WILL and IS being used by Muslims to bring about bits of Sharia law as precedent for future lawsuits.

    The Muslims should go attend a secular school if the CATHOLIC identity of the CATHOLIC school bothers them.

  26. Supertradmum says:

    Dear Father Fox,
    Why do we have to be hospitable to a religion which is obviously and has been for twelve centuries, hateful of Catholics, priests, nuns, The Eucharist, etc.? I cannot drive, be alone without a male escort, go to Mass, go without a head covering, wear slacks, or vote in several Islamic countries. Yet, I can be divorced without my consent, raped by a husband, or shot in an honor killing. There is no hospitality for Catholics in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia, etc. I think you are confusing hospitality with the Truth. None of the students who are Muslim have to be at Catholic University. They chose to go there and now, in typical Islamic form, in a move which has been orchestrated by those of that religion for many years, by making the host nation feel guilty, they are demanding rights which they do not necessarily have. Dhimmitude is the word, and it is what finally caused millions of Catholics to leave Lebanon, Iraq, and other Islamic nations and go elsewhere, as the rights of Christians were pushed away by appeasement to sharia law. This is spiritual warfare and it is serious. Hospitality, no offence, is nothing compared to this attack on Catholicism.

  27. buffaloknit says:

    I would like to point out yet another troubling layer to this story-one which I think is easy to miss (no one else has commented on this, so far). Fr. Z pointed out the ridiculousness inherent in being surprised that a Catholic university is in fact Catholic. Here is a problem with this observation: for at least two generations now, Catholic universities-and elementary and secondary schools as well-have-in one way or another-sold out, taken federal and state funds and done everything possible to shed their Catholic identity (I am generalizing, I know). For this reason, it is NOT surprising that Americans-and students from around the world who study American college guidebooks and whatnot-have come to believe that Catholic universities are really not any different from any other school. This is the real tragedy here-if you ask me: the general public has come to expect something other than real Catholicism from a Catholic school. Fortunately, the matter of “Catholic identity” is something Catholics “on the street” can control, or can actively attempt to change. I am actually confident than in 2 generations, the entire Catholic-identity situation could change for the better. My younger brother attended a “Catholic” university which gives me license to describe how far, far superior the Boilermaker Catholic community experience in West Lafayette, IN (Purdue!) is to his “Catholic” college experience. Boiler Up!!!

    Also: the problems with “student associations” more than likely, have to do with money-and university red tape, and nothing else. Purdue’s student organizations got ZERO dollars from the university and tax payer of Indiana(-as it should be! Fundraising for a college group is a wonderful character building exercise and teaches some valuable life-skills! So is starting one!). “Official”university organizations have a variety of rules to follow as far as discriminating among members (the “women in science” club must allow men-for example). Where do student associations get funds at CUA? My minimal experience with private universities is that they pay for and support every student activity regardless of merit (how this is supposed to build character-I don’t know). Other commenters said there was an Arab American group. Does CUA allow religious groups? Does CUA require groups to be open to the entire university community, and therefore non-Muslims? Perhaps CUA doesn’t recognize religious groups “officially”, so that they don’t have to give those groups money. That may be the reason there is no Muslim student group. I don’t know the answer to this, and if a CUA student/staff/faculty does, I’d love to know more about this!

  28. heway says:

    I wasn’t going to respond to this until someone said every Muslim they knew would not want to attend a Catholic university. My Muslim friends are physicians, teachers, housewives. They are mostly from Pakistan. When one of them delivered twin girls, her parents came to the US to visit. The grandmother asked me if I would take her to a Catholic church were they celebrated the Mass in Latin. In the early 90’s there was no such place that I knew of. This woman and many like her, was educated by catholic nuns in Pakistan. They have great admiration for the Blessed Mother (as the mother of a great prophet) and visit her birthplace as a shrine. These people also respect a Catholic institution whether it is a hospital or a university. The neonatoloist upon having a very severely sick newborn, would ask all those present at the NICU, to pray to our God to guide him as he worked on the child. Although he may be mistaken, he liked to think that we all believe in the same God the father of all mankind.
    Does CUA provide for Jewish organizations ?
    This whole fuss is about the Geo. Washington professor and the ACLU – not Muslim students.

  29. Maltese says:

    I’m going to take this a step further and offer the hope that we sue Catholic churches, and force them to build attached rooms to allow Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist prayers. The Vatican actually dedicated the ancient and beautiful St. Paul Outside the Walls for ecumenical services (women priests can now offer Anglican services in a Catholic worship space; bout time!) to the worship of non-Catholics. In this vein, we need to stop this nonsense of keeping all of our chapels Cathedrals and Basilicas purely Catholic!

  30. Ezra says:

    All the people frothing about Islam might want to note that the person bringing this complaint isn’t Muslim, and there’s no evidence that Muslim students are involved in the complaint. Muslims and other minorities are frequently used by secularists as grounds for attacking religious expression – witness the annual secularist attempts to downplay the Christianity of Christmas on the grounds it might “offend” other religions. As for the person asking why Muslim students can’t go to universities in their own countries… well, this may come as a shock, but there are American Muslims. We can preserve our Catholic identity without aping the rhetoric of the Know Nothings.


    It’s inaccurate to claim that Mass is outlawed in Oman; Oman had a couple of Catholic churches last time I investigated. The situation in Saudi Arabia is, as you described, awful, especially given that there are at least a million Catholics working there.

  31. samgr says:

    I must have missed the lesson where we’re not supposed to extend Christian charity to non-Christians. Then again, I’m a descendant of survivors of all sides in the 30 Years War, as well as the Irish Famine and Penal Laws and anti-Semitism, and I’ve known American Muslims whose ancestors came from Turkey, Egypt, Albania and Morocco, so I might have an exaggerated notion of charity.

  32. acardnal says:

    You are right to mention Saudi Arabia. Not only are there no Catholic universities or churches or overt clergy, but there are no Christian churches of any flavor allowed by law!

  33. frjim4321 says:

    I don’t know if all the facts of the case are known yet. If all we have is a report from Fox News that’s hardly enough data upon which to base any kind of knowledgeable opinion.

    In general there wouldn’t be anything wrong with setting aside a room for prayer – it is indeed common courtesy as others have said.

    Meanwhile a question – does CUA accept any government funds for any programs? That might effect their status under the law with respect to questions of this nature.

  34. Supertradmum says:

    Some apologies for the Oman reference…I was going on information from friends of mine who worked there for an oil company, but were Catholics from Holland. They could not find a Mass when they were there, but I do not know where they were with regard to the churches. I assumed that Mass was not a regular occurrence as a priest had to get a church visa to say Mass and prayer meetings in houses were forbidden. As to Masses being available, I think there are still restrictions, but outlawed is not exactly the correct word; limited would be truthful…

  35. mike cliffson says:

    @supetradmum : Echo. The lefties hatred of the church makes them ally with their own future eliminators, as in many places.
    @Fr Fox , other priests, adminstrators of church or secular property: beware a phenomenon Ive experienced
    For Muslims who make the running, once Muslims have ever prayed in a designated area , even the Parish rooms, THAT area is FOREVER MUSLIM soil,By allah’s will.There is no gratitude, hardly evn much to allah, more triuphastic glorying in his might, just sumission even from Dhimmis . This is more than a tenet of faith, it’s part of a rigid impenetrable mendset.
    You are NOT communicating generosity, nor hospitality,rather your own submission.
    All material help and corpoaral acts of mercy should obviously be shown, because we’re christians, and even that will be misread as above.
    A number of European priests and their parishes have been burnt badly this way.MSM never report on it.
    How can this be squared with Anglosaxon laws, even when lawfare is being waged as in this case.?
    It can’t, as far as I can see.

  36. ray from mn says:

    There is no reason whatsoever that any request by Mohammedans be accepted until 25 Christian universities are opened in Saudi Arabia with the permission to have public Christian liturgical practices, display Christian images, and perform Christian music and poetry.

  37. Supertradmum says:

    In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls Herod a “fox”, an extremely pejorative term. Is He lacking in charity by honestly stating a fact? Jesus challenges Herod, stating that He, the Son of God, will do what He wants to today, that is heal, deliver, preach, prophesy.

    We are losing our ability to label evil for what it is because we have to be tolerant or nice. If the Knights of St. John were nice to the Turks in 1565, southern Europe and Malta would possibly be Islamic today. Sorry, but we cannot always, nor do we always have to, be nice. Charity, love, yes, but only when also standing up for the Truth. The Islamic faith is false, so why encourage it at a Catholic university, The Catholic University, which should stand for Truth and clarity? We should be evangelizing, not accommodating, which is Catholic teaching, by the way.

  38. Supertradmum says:

    The Muslims will hate us more for giving in to them, seeing us as weak and stupid, which we would be….

  39. Athelstan says:

    Prof. Banzhaf, of course, has already initiated suit against CUA earlier this year over its new policy of phasing out coeducational residence halls, contending that it is a violation of DC’s Human Rights Act. As others have noted, he has made something of a career (when he is not teaching) of nuisance lawsuits, most famously against fast food restaurants. In short, he is a professional nuisance litigator, and CUA seems to be his latest target.

    As someone who is part of the CUA community, I do know Muslim students, mostly graduate, at the university. When the subject has come up, all have been appreciative of the (Catholic) religious environment, such as it is, finding that it puts them more at ease than would a purely secular institution. I can’t rule out that Mr. Banzhaf has found a student plaintiff here at CUA – if he wants any standing at all, he had better have – but if he has, that student will be far from representative of the Muslim population here – which is rather small, if fairly devout.

    I don’t mind allowing Muslim students to borrow a room for prayer if it is not being otherwise used, as Fr. Fox suggests. However, no crucifixes should come down from the wall, ever. And I think most Muslim students here would understand such a stance.

    Some here have questioned CUA’s receipt of federal funds, wondering if that doesn’t circumscribe our sectarian identity. I concede that the day may well be coming where Catholic institutions will have to make the hard choice of giving up such monies if they want to retain their identity (actually a quite easy choice for me, if it is put that way), but make no mistake: if Banzhaf gets his way, it will be a terrible, terrible precedent for Free Exercise and Freedom of Religion, and a serious blow to the Church in America.

  40. JohnMa says:

    This guy is suspended from practicing law in DC. Sounds like what he is doing is illegal.

  41. Fr Martin Fox says:

    Supertradmom asks:

    “Dear Father Fox,
    Why do we have to be hospitable to a religion which is obviously and has been for twelve centuries, hateful of Catholics, priests, nuns, The Eucharist, etc.?”

    Well, because I think our Lord truly meant it when he said:

    > Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    > You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…

    And when he gave the parable of the Good Samaritan in answer to the question, “and who is my neighbor” (whom I am to love)?

    The Lord did not make exceptions for Muslims, or for people who do the terrible things you cite. You might recall the terrible things the Jews were facing–and which Christians would soon face–and yet the Lord said these very things.

    So again, we do these things because they are the right thing to do, period.

  42. Fr Martin Fox says:


    Also, to be clear, I am not saying we have to be hospitable to a religion; but I assert we must be hospitable to people. And people bring their religious beliefs and practices with them.

    As I said already, Catholic U. doesn’t have to accommodate the religious practices of non-Catholic students, in my opinion. I think it would be lacking in hospitality to do so, since they make their home there, for some part of each year.

  43. rodin says:

    We must remember that the D. C. Office of Human Rights must constantly justify its existence at the expense of the 50 percent who pay taxes.

  44. AnAmericanMother says:

    Father Fox,

    So that whole business at Lepanto . . . that was a mistake? Pope St. Pius V was wrong to form the Holy League and work and pray for the defeat of the Islamic invaders? Jesus was wrong to tell his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy swords (or St. Luke just was mistaken or misinformed)?

    Seriously, isn’t there a distinction between individual response to personal persecution, and acquiescence in national or institutional destruction, amounting to suicide? And where is that line drawn?

  45. Fr Martin Fox says:


    A good question, but I fail to see how this applies to whether Muslim students should be allowed to have a room, on a Catholic campus, in which to pray.

    If an army or navy invades, then we fight them off, regardless of what religion they profess. What part of what I said called that into question?

  46. sophiamarie3 says:

    I was a student at CUA and I had a Muslim classmate/friend from Dubai, she loved the school as did I. Of course this case is absolutely absurd and an attempt to hinder the civil liberties of Americans with a sense of morality. Its really time these angry and self-righteous liberals played a new card, this one has become quite boring.

  47. AnAmericanMother says:

    It’s not so much what you said, as what you didn’t say. You may have noticed, for example, that Islamic invaders/terrorists do not wear uniforms or operate as a conventional military force. And they do not necessarily (at least not at first) employ violence.

    The distinction I’m trying to make is: what do we do when an “army” of jihadists invades stealthily, under cover of “hospitality” and litigation, and attempts to impose Islamic triumphalism and Sharia law?

    It may well be that the students in this case are completely innocent, and are not seeking to establish a beachhead of Sharia inside a Catholic institution. It may be that this litigator-for-hire is simply seeking publicity and damages, and whatever Muslim student is the named plaintiff is simply a shill. But the fact remains that any area used for Islamic prayer will later be claimed as part of the ummah.

    The next step is the establishment of a mosque, particularly at a site representing a triumph of Islam over the infidel — e.g. Hagia Sophia, the Cathedral at Cordoba, the Temple in Jerusalem, Ground Zero, Shanksville PA . . . .

    What limitations are placed on our response to this stealth invasion?

  48. Ezra says:

    Where’s Thomas Nast when you need him?

  49. PatrickJude says:

    As a Catholic in Malaysia (a Muslim country) and educated in a Mission School (to be read as Catholic funded and founded also) the government aid this schools with special grants from sin tax (read lottery/gambling tax, alcohol tax and tobacco tax) we are therefore obliged to have a Muslim prayer room built for Muslim students enrolled there. There was a former education minister (who is now one of Malaysia’s celebrated opposition leader.. Hailed and “wined and dined by most western government) who tried to enforce a ruling to remove all crucifix and statues of Saints in aforementioned schools but luckily (to me that is) he was sacked in what most people claim as trumped up charges of sodomy (he was acquited, but I hold my reservation on that acquittal due to lack of evidence as there is strong circumstantial evidence against that man) by the then Prime Minister.

    Having said that, of course it’s impossible to request for a Chapel or a prayer room in a Government run school but nothing stops Christians and Catholics to form a Christian or Catholic student association or Legion of Mary preasidia in Government Schools with a meeting room dedicated for such associations.. so far… But unfortunately, that will change if the trend of the voters for “change” swing for the opposition leader favours (though he claims he is now a moderate Muslim.. To which I say, yeah right) we will see a government which will persecute the people of other faiths ( as a footnote, this guy, by the name Anwar Ibrahim is also allied to the country’s radical Islamic party and it annoys me that the western world hails him greatly…. prolly for his promise of Malaysia’s oil if he wins)

  50. stephenkrogh says:


    Are you being sarcastic? It is difficult for me to tell.

  51. Bob says:

    May I recommend Berkley, Stanford or Harvard where they would be welcome if not cherished.

  52. AnAmericanMother says:

    Ezra, Nast would have had a field day – he would have a fatwa proclaimed on him before you could say “Danish cartoonist”.
    But he is much too politically incorrect to be published today. He was an equal-opportunity basher, and didn’t confine his attentions to the Catholics — he wasn’t really keen on anybody who wasn’t a New England/Atlantic States Yankee. Some really ferocious work was directed at the South — the mirror image of Adalbert Volck, a lesser-known, also German-born cartoonist who savagely attacked the North and particularly Lincoln. Actually, both Nash and Volck were from Bavaria, not exactly a bastion of protestantism.
    Much of Nast’s anti-Catholicism was born not out of religious intolerance per se, but from his alarm at the spate of Irish immigration and its effect on the politics of the U.S. And then of course there’s the traditional rivalry between the Germans and the Irish. When my husband’s grandparents got married in New Jersey in the early teens, there was almost a gang war. Both sides were Catholic, but he was Irish and she was German. They were still talking about it when we started courting in the early ’70s — when his mother married a Methodist preacher’s son during WWII, it was far less controversial.

  53. Jason Keener says:

    As Catholics, we know through the supernatural gift of faith that the Son of God established the Catholic Faith as the only true religion. It would be a sin and a false act of hospitality, I think, for members of a Catholic University to specifically provide rooms to Muslims so that they may carry out their false religious practices. Morally, one may never assist others in worshipping God in a way that we know is false and evil. It is true that CUA should tolerate the Muslim students and their praying on campus to some extent; however, CUA may never positively assist Muslims in the carrying out of their religious errors.

  54. paenitentia says:

    The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights recently adjudicated a similar case originating in Italy (where parents filed suit against the Italian state on the grounds that the presence of crucifixes inside the classroom violated their child’s rights). It is worth reading the decision, and note that this is overturning the same court’s previous holding:

  55. mibethda says:

    Several comments have suggested that CUA may have some difficulty in defending this claim since it accepts Federal funding. The assumption seems to be that acceptance of public money automatically renders a private entity liable to comply with governmental policies which they otherwise would not have to comply with but for the acceptance of the funding. This is an oversimplified understanding of the principle involved. A governmental entity may require compliance with certain policies as a condition for the acceptance of such funding – in which case the compliance can be mandated upon principles in the nature of contract even though the governmental entity would otherwise not have the power to require compliance. It appears – though the sources are not entirely clear – that this complaint is brought solely under the District’s Human Rights Act. Unless the school has received funding from the District – not the Federal Government or a State government – and unless that funding was contingent upon the school’s agreement to comply with the Human Rights Act or other District law, the funding principle should not affect the determination of whether the school is subject to the Human Rights Act in this instance.
    Nonetheless, the concern raised by those who have posted comments upon this point are valid in general since governmental funding these days usually comes with strings attached – and among those strings are ones requiring compliance with regulations with which the recipiant would otherwise not have to comply. This is a lesson which many Catholic institutions of all types still seem oblivious.

  56. Sofia Guerra says:

    I have a solution! The Muslim students could transfer to Georgetown! The Jebbies LOVE taking down Catholic symbols there!!! In fact maybe Tom Reese, SJ could be their group advisor! What a shame, CUA finally puts up crucifixes and starts to try to have somewhat of a Cahtolic identity and now it’s TOO Catholic.
    ROFL, you just can’t make this up!
    BTW, I agree with Athelstan … I know the CUA community very well…this whole thing sounds like something very wrong here..but then again Mr. John Banzhaf, an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School is involved so beware! (locals in the District understand what I mean)
    Father Fox: nice sentiments, please restrain yourself from commenting on my attempt at humor, you obviously believe yourself way too self-important…this is called real-life and us poor pathetic sinners just can’t measure up to your standards. Please pray for me in between you chastising all of us like ignorant children.
    Shaking head still can’t believe that some of the clergy just don’t “get it”. No insult to you, Father Zuhlsdorf, you “get it”. Not criticizing Father Fox’s priesthood, for that I would give my life. Criticizing his humanity, which seems not to favor all those who choose to defend their Catholic Faith.

  57. Hidden One says:

    Wait, Prof. Banzhaf is suing a university with a law school attached? Do I understand this correctly?

    It strikes me that there are probably easier targets.

  58. Denita says:

    You know, it’s weird. Muslims whine, they get news; Black groups (not all, mind you) whine, they get news; Gays whine, same thing. People complain about their “civil rights.” But do Catholics have civil rights? The press don’t think so. And it’s still OK to make fun of Catholics, too. If we’re so “politically correct,” why are Catholics, some other Christians, and the mentally ill still targets for prejudice, etc?

  59. Joanne says:

    Rush Limbaugh was talking about this yesterday and of course pointing out the absurdity of it. I guess what I’m not getting is whether a request was even made to the school re: forming a group and being given a prayer space without Catholic symbols. Not that I think it’s the Muslim students’ *right* to have these things; of course it is not at a private school. (I thought also that Muslims believed that Christ was a prophet or a holy man or something – which makes me wonder why they would be offended, uncomfortable, etc, seeing representations of Him and His mother.) I’m just wondering, though – if there were no student complaints, it’s like this situation went immediately from zero to lawsuit.

  60. Fr Martin Fox says:


    I’m not sure what I did to deserve your condescending comments about me.

    Since you don’t find my proposals “real-life” enough, may I infer you think CUA should not allow Muslims to (a) have a group; and (b) pray on campus?

  61. Supertradmum says:

    Father Fox,

    I guess the main difference in our approach is that I believe we are at war with the Islamic faith, as that religion has declared war on Christianity and Judaism for centuries. I have read and taught the Koran many times and one cannot deny this hatred and desired destruction. As to Christ sayings, I shall pray for those Muslims that I meet, for their conversion, wishing them well and wanting their salvation, but I shall not, in our still open society, be silent about their real intentions.

  62. Fr Martin Fox says:


    I have no quarrel with anything you just said. But how is there a conflict between what you just said, and CUA allowing Muslim students to have a club and pray?

  63. Supertradmum says:


    Muslims are iconoclasts, that is, they do not believe in any images of anything which is considered holy or sacred. That is why they killed some people in Europe over the cartoons of Mohammed,including a Catholic priest in Turkey.

    The figures of Jesus, who for some Muslims is a holy prophet, and for Mary, who is considered the mother of the prophet, are blasphemous. But, the Christ Crucified is a hated image, as that is the symbol of Catholicism and Christianity-the God-Man dying on the Cross for our sins, and therefore, an uncomfortable image. These things should not be removed. Remember when Georgetown covered the Cross for Obama’s speech? Horrific. If CU caves on this one, I am worried about the future of Catholicism, as the administration would be giving in to further persecution.

  64. Supertradmum says:

    Father Fox,

    I appreciate you conversation on this matter. To love those who hate you is what I try to do everyday, as I am in daily contact with several people who hate the Church and Christ as I am living in the midst of the militant, strong homosexual culture where I am. It is very interesting how one can love, yet be firm on Catholic points. However, I would not back down on my religious symbols which I wear, Benedictine medal and Scapular medal, if they said they were offended. By the fact that I am a practicing Catholic, I offend many people, without opening my mouth, just by being. The being of Catholics is why there are martyrs. People hate the good,hate the grace and hate the Church.
    Catholic University is the leading Catholic institution in our country. It symbolizes to all of us the right and privilege to be a Catholic openly and proudly in our country. No one has the right to then ask that institution to remove or provide anti-Catholic space. One cannot yield if one truly believes. The very fact that the religion of Islam is false is another issue as well. Why do those who believe in the one, holy and Catholic Church have to bow to falsehood out of courtesy? If the Crucifix offends, that is the entire point of keeping It there-May I quote our dear Pope on St, Paul?
    “Why”, the Pope asked, “did St. Paul make the word Cross such a fundamental part of his preaching? The answer”, he said, “is not difficult: the Cross reveals ‘the power of God’ which is different from human power; it reveals, in fact, His love”.
    For the Apostle “the crucified Christ is wisdom because He truly shows Who God is: the power of love which goes even unto the Cross to save man. God uses means and instruments that to human beings seem to be mere weakness. The crucified Christ reveals, on the one hand, the weakness of man and, on the other, the true power of God, in other words the gratuitousness of love; and precisely this complete gratuitousness of love is true wisdom”
    I would not remove the Cross, nor grant space because someone is uncomfortable with the Cross. It is religious suicide and I am not ashamed of the Gospel…

  65. Denis says:

    Banzhaf calls him self the “father of potty parity.” That, and the baby guy in California pretty much summarize the impact of original sin on a democratic culture.

  66. cuaguy says:

    Father Fox, In reference to your earlier comment about someplace without a crucifix on the wall, I honestly cannot think of any, outside of the residence halls. Even then, there is at least one in the public areas.

    I am probably one of the few students here at CUA who says something when there is no crucifix on the wall in classrooms. Earlier this year, I qbiced one of my classrooms and it was replaced, and then over the summer, I qbiced the fact that the Happel Room didn’t have one 4 or 5 times, and it finally has one as well…

  67. Denis says:

    Father Fox,

    It’s one thing to say that Muslims should have a room. It’s quite another to say that they are offended by the crucifix and other Catholic symbols, and that they have a constitutionally protected right to remove them from a room at the university.

    If Catholicism is so offensive to these people, why are they going to a Catholic University?

    If it’s now American law that someone can demand, in a private institution, the removal of religious symbols because of hurt feelings…that’s a pandora’s box that isn’t going to be pleasant for us Catholics. What if someone should walk into your church and feel offended by what they see there?

    By the way, does your parish enforce potty parity? If not, why not?

  68. Supertradmum says:

    sorry Father, I meant to say “your” conversation, which I truly appreciation. It is very early here, and I got up to hear the results of the World Series…trivial in the midst of all of this, I realize.

  69. Fr Martin Fox says:


    Father Fox,

    It’s one thing to say that Muslims should have a room. It’s quite another to say that they are offended by the crucifix and other Catholic symbols, and that they have a constitutionally protected right to remove them from a room at the university.

    Yes, I agree, and that’s what I said. Why are you arguing with me?

    I have no idea if we have potty parity.

  70. Supertradmum says:

    Father Fox,

    If we give space without the cross, are we not giving in to falsehood, if not heresy, depending on one’s view of Islam? And, are we not as Catholics supposed to convert and not encourage falsity? Giving space, a room without a Crucifix is the same as taking one down off the wall. We preach tolerance, but not the encouragement of false religions. I remind you of the Syllabus of Errors, by the great Saint Pius IX–stated as the heresies these each are:

    5. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.

    16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. — Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” Nov. 9, 1846.

    17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. — Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

  71. Fr Martin Fox says:


    If you have Muslim students, I don’t know how you expect them not to pray. That’s why I said, earlier, that the university could just not enroll Muslim students at all.

    Or, CUA could say, if you come here, we demand you convert.

  72. Supertradmum says:

    Well, not demand, but invite and not encourage their own beliefs, but I think we agree. CU must be private, really private.

  73. Phillip says:

    On a related note, I will be reporting Fr. Z to the Internet Police for not providing a section on this blog free of anything which will offend non-Catholics. Where is the tolerance?! I demand a “Help me find the direction of Mecca” tool, right next to the Tips For Making A Good Confession.

  74. mike cliffson says:

    @Fr Fox :
    Supertradmum DID talk about welcoming a religion or not, and you took her up on lack of charity to practicioners of that religion.

    Would you learn the local language as a missionary?For Islam, ( individual moslems may well be another matter) what you communicate in fact is not what you expect to communicate in any case. In this case you expect to reflect God’s love TO individuals praying TOGETHER. For that faith community, as a faith, shared mindset, call it what you will, that is NOT what you have done.

    Just try it and see.

    Well, when all the returns are in, have you really loved your neighbour, as himself , possibly more different from you than you imagine, or merely indulged yourself in feelgood behaviour that leaves him further in darkness than ever, has encouraged the spread of darkness, and given away catholic property for noncatholic ends ? Please believe me , this is not meant as an accusation.

  75. Andrew says:

    Fr. Martin Fox:

    You quote some Scripture in your comments: Allow me to quote something also:

    “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before my Father …”

    This is how I picture it:

    Me: Lord, I hid you before these men out of courtesy to them, because your presence was offensive to them.

    The Voice: When did I teach you to hide me and to be ashamed of me in order to be “courteous” to others?

    Me: When you said to love all men.

    The Voice: If you truly loved them you would have been a witness to them of my love, instead of hiding me away and being ashamed of my sacrifice with which I redeemed them.

    Me: But for them it was nicer to have you out of sight. Your presence was disturbing the courteous relationship we had.

    The voice: Well, have it your way. I am leaving. You see this door on the right? See the sign that reads “enter Paradise here”? That’s where I live. You take this other door on the left. And don’t forget: be courteous and don’t mention my name.

  76. amenamen says:

    Cathedral? Where?

    In the link to the Fox News story by Todd Starnes, Professor Banzhaf is quoted as saying that the (unidentified) Moslem students were “particularly offended” because they had to meditate in the school’s chapels “and at the CATHEDRAL that looms over the entire campus – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.”

    The National Shrine is a “shrine” and in 1990 it was elevated to the status of a “minor basilica.” But it is not a “cathedral.” If Professor Banzhaf wants to see a cathedral, he should drive back across Washington, DC, to the campus of GWU. From there, he can easily walk to St. Matthew’s Cathedral.

  77. Fr Martin Fox says:


    When did I talk about hiding Christ? Please quote me.

  78. Andrew says:

    Fr Martin Fox:

    Where did I say that you talked about hiding Christ? Please quote me.

  79. teomatteo says:

    From where i sit here in Metro-Detroit we have had this same thing come up at a public university. If the CUA is going to accomodate their prayer room without a crucifix then they should just go ahead and install foot washing basins for their ritual cleansing. Oh… is there a clarion on campus… that gotta go too?

  80. Fr Martin Fox says:


    So let me get this straight, just so I understand you.

    My statement was, if there is a room that has no crucifix (does every room in your house have a crucifix? If so, admirable), then it’s OK to let the group have it. If there’s not, then sorry, they use what’s available.

    Since you make clear that’s some sort of sell out, I infer you mean that the group should either: (a) not be allowed to use any room; or (b) should be directed to a room WITH a crucifix, even if there’s one without available.

    Exactly how do you think the administration should behave toward Muslim students it accepted? Should it not accept Muslim students? Should it say in it’s handbook, Muslim students are not allowed to pray on campus, other than Christian prayers? They cannot meet anywhere without supervision? Since my statement in favor of letting there be a Muslim student group that can meet and pray somewhere is so terrible, what, precisely, do you think should be done?

    Perhaps we could have the cafeteria include pork in all food items at all meals?

  81. Fr Martin Fox says:


    You addressed the following essay to my by name:

    Fr. Martin Fox: You quote some Scripture in your comments: Allow me to quote something also: “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before my Father …”

    This is how I picture it: Me: Lord, I hid you before these men out of courtesy to them, because your presence was offensive to them. The Voice: When did I teach you to hide me and to be ashamed of me in order to be “courteous” to others?

    It was, I think, a reasonable inference that you were applying that essay to me. Do I understand you to be disclaiming any intention to do so? If so, glad to clarify that and sorry for any misunderstanding.

  82. irishgirl says:

    teomatteo: do you mean to say ‘CARILLON’ on campus’? A carillon has bells, and Moslems don’t like bells.
    Denita:I’m with you on the ‘whining’. The Blacks, the Jews, the homosexuals. They all whine and everyone jumps. But when Catholics and other Christians speak up, we are called bigoted and ‘not charitable’. My foot!
    Catholics should get a spine and STAND UP FOR ONCE!

  83. SimonDodd says:

    Why isn’t the solution simply for CUA to expel the troublemakers, um, students? Unless they’re seeking damages, that should moot the case.

    paenitentia said:
    “The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights recently adjudicated a similar case originating in Italy (where parents filed suit against the Italian state on the grounds that the presence of crucifixes inside the classroom violated their child’s rights). It is worth reading the decision, and note that this is overturning the same court’s previous holding.”

    That case was decided under European law not American law, and when Justices of our Supreme Court cite foreign law as “worth reading”, a great number of people on and off the court (me included) get very grumpy.

  84. mibethda says:

    Simon: The one thing CUA must not do is to expel or otherwise take adverse action against the students. If any student has joined or assisted in the complaint that Banzhaf filed, and if adverse action is taken against him, then the school will have handed him – and Banzhaf – the basis for a claim of retaliatory action which it would be very difficult for a claimant to lose (even if the original claim lacks merit).

  85. catholicmidwest says:

    Nice. I think Dr. Bahnhaf should also be required to live in a same sex residence hall too, as a condition of his employment, he loves the idea so much. I think he should have at least 2 roommates too. Again, he wants it, let him have it. He’s so full of statements about what everyone else should be doing, but it’s just talk, talk, talk. Hypocrite.

  86. Gail F says:

    It is quite clear that Muslim students are NOT involved in this lawsuit. Several people have pointed out that it’s not possible from the stories out now to know what reason the Muslim students were denied permission to form a group — it could be all sorts of reasons. A perfectly respectable reason would be that Islam says that Christianity is false. But we don’t know whether that is the actual reason or whether it was something administrative, etc. Fr. Fox has reasonably said that if they ask for a room to pray it would be hospitable to let them have one. It seems that they have been praying in whatever room was available, which is one solution, but as they have to pray five times a day letting them use a vacant room would be a nice thing to do. This is of course not the same thing as building them a mosque (ridiculous) or allowing them to pray in a Catholic chapel (blasphemous). As far as removing crucifixes or statues, no Muslims seem to have asked for this and it would be stupid to do.

    I don’t see any rights violated here at all. That professor seems to be a professional suit-bringer, with religion being his particular hobby-horse. He ought to be stopped by the courts, which should not let people abuse the court system this way.

    A private university should be able to ban any sort of activity or group it wants to ban, and students who disagree have not lost any rights. They are always free to go elsewhere and start private clubs that hold meetings in private businesses or other places. That is what people who are not students do.

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