Your Tax Dollars Funding Islam
(PJ Media) - In recent years, three American public school districts have provided taxpayer-supported lunches meeting Muslim students’ dietary standards. They have not similarly provided lunches satisfying any other students’ religious standards. The halal foods purchased with public funds are costlier than comparable non-halal foods.
This is problematic under the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses. Even if a school district endeavors to provide all students with food satisfying each one’s religious requirements, it would arguably entangle the government in religious observance and so violate the separation of “church” and state.
If a school district goes out of its way to provide food satisfying the religious requirements of only some students, but not others, it risks illegally giving them unequal advantages and elevating their religion over others. This is especially so given that the school food is paid for at least partly with public funds, although the schools have been reluctant to reveal how much tax money is involved.
Public schools in Dearborn, Michigan, first began offering halal lunches in 2001. That winter, the school district invited “proposals from halal food distributors to provide food at several of its 28 public schools,” and began a pilot program. Presently, according to David Mustonen, director of community and public relations for Dearborn Public Schools: “All schools have a halal option five days a week.”
Dearborn Heights’ Crestwood School District started a halal food pilot program in 2013-14. Last year, Crawford High School in San Diego operated a pilot program offering a halal lunch option twice a week.
Legislators in both New York City and New York state have proposed mandating public schools to serve halal food. In February 2014, New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a resolution requiring New York City schools “to provide a halal lunch menu option.” Three separate bills have been introduced in the New York State Assembly during the current (2015-16) term that would require public schools in big cities to offer halal lunch options. One of them requires that the food be provided to Muslim students “at no cost.”
Media stories about lobbying efforts to serve halal food in New York City and San Diego public schools largely framed the issue as one of poor Muslim children going hungry because government-funded public schools failed to provide food satisfying their religious requirements (e.g., for San Diego: here, here, and here; for New York City: here and here).
The articles presumed parents could not or would not provide lunches, or argued that unheated packaged lunches were insufficient to enable children to learn effectively.Read More . . . .