Monday, August 23, 2010

High School Wrestling and Football: Christianity versus Islam in Michgan

Last year I posted a blog about Gerald Marszalek, the 35 year veteran wrestling coach of Fordson High School, in Dearborn, Michigan, who was fired by his Muslim principal over a religious intolerance issue. Marszalek is a Christian and one of his volunteer coaches was a Christian. During the summer at a private wresting camp, this volunteer coach led a Muslim student to Christ. The Muslim principal told Coach Marszalek to ban this volunteer coach from his wrestling program. But this was impossible (as well as unlawful in a public school) because the volunteer coach’s son was a star on the wrestling team. So the Michigan Athletic Hall of Fame coach was fired.

This “old” story took on new significance last week when Fordson High School made pretty much all of the national news media outlets. I first saw the story in USAToday. Why? Because the school made the decision to move all of its football practices to run from 11:00 pm – 4:00 am. And why on earth would they do this? Because it is the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims are required to fast during the daylight hours. Since Dearborn, Michigan is 30% Muslim (which was still a minority number the last time I checked), this public school has chosen to accommodate this particular religion.

I wonder if public schools would consider accommodating Christian sentiments during our holy week leading up to Easter, or if that would be considered unconstitutional and a violation of the separation of church and state. I wouldn’t count on it, but don’t worry, watchdog groups like the ACLU are in Dearborn ready to challenge the new football practice schedule…actually, I’m still looking for that newspaper article. I won’t hold my breath…

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