Muslims Sue To Remove Crosses At Catholic University?

The story that’s circulating is that “Muslims at a Catholic University are offended the university doesn’t allow them to take down or cover crosses before they pray and claim their human rights are being violated because the university does not provide a special room for Muslims to pray in.”

Or so says Townhall’s Katie Pavlich and a score of other commentators who say that Muslims are suing Catholic University.

Only it isn’t true.

What has really happened is that infamous lawyer John Banzhaf the third has leached onto the body politic once more. Mind you, it’s the third—a number which is greater than one and therefore a number which shows that the Darwinian “Survival of the fittest” does not imply survival of the desirable.

Don’t know Banzhaf? This poster child of narcissism and embarrassment of the legal system is a key reason the profession is held in such low regard. He boasts on his own website that he “files (or threatens) suits about as often as most people change clothes.” His proudest achievement, one he never tires of repeating, is creating a series of vanity license plates containing (in shorthand) a vulgar expression so stupid that it would scarcely amuse a thirteen-year-old. CUA

Banzhaf is one of the perpetually concerned. Especially about toilets. One of his main areas of activities is sniffing around toilets and then filing or threatening to file lawsuits to ensure that these places of relief are labeled in what he considers the proper fashion, or that there are more toilets for women than men.

One of his enemies is Catholic University, a private religious institution. It bothers Banzhaf greatly that CU has “sex-segregated” dormitories. He called this “illegal sex-discrimination” and publicly threatened then filed a complaint.

This farcical performance was not enough for Banzhaf. While Catholic University was back on its heels, or so he presumed, he hit them again. In a poorly-written press release, one so badly constructed that it should give pause to any client seeking Banzhaf’s counsel, he tells the world that he has filed another complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights.

He proudly announces his complaint is 60 pages, thus using mere weight to intimate nefariousness. The basis of his complaint is that the university discriminates “against Muslim students by denying them the same equal access to its facilities.”

Banzhaf is not clear who he is attacking and at one point invokes Georgetown, a university he acknowledges that allows (or will soon allow) Muslims space to pray. In the same sentence which begins with Georgetown, he charges that

usually, or at least frequently, these Muslim students at CUA find that they must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism — e.g., a wooden crucifix, paintings of Jesus, pictures of priests and theologians, etc. — which many Muslim students find inappropriate and not especially conducive to praying according to their very different religious beliefs. Furthermore, some Muslim students find they must do their meditation 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” — hardly a place where students of a very different religion are likely to feel very comfortable.

Not only is it not clear who is Banzhaf’s target, this quotation is full proof that his legal reasoning is opaque, muddled, and senseless. This display of legal skill is so awful that it is safe to presume that any court of law will send Banzhaf packing.

Ah, but the Office of Human Rights is not a court of law. It is an EU-style entity under the control of the President, and its rules and activities apply only to that tiny blot of land in which our rulers live. It will be enough to tell you that this is an office which announces proudly, “The DC Office of Human Rights Announces Significant Victory for Transgender Community.” The significant victory which our taxes made possible? Passing a requirement “that single-occupancy restrooms must have gender-neutral signs.”

Complaints to the OHR are not lawsuits in the normal sense. Instead, any person might file a claim that asserting they are being put upon. OHR will send a threating letter inviting the accused to “Mediation.” If this fails or if the accused rejects mediation, the OHR investigates the complaint by interrogating witnesses and so forth. There is no jury.

The OHR first seeks a voluntary solution. If none is forthcoming, the OHR will issues fines which “may include compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.” If the accused rejects this, the suit enters the normal legal system as a proper lawsuit in the DC Court of Appeals.

Banzhaf thus specializes in legal end-arounds, using an almost unknown quirk of the system. Even though the OHR rulings apply only to DC denizens, this technique is a way to gain precedents (of a sort). It is just the sort of sneaky, unfair, and underhanded ploy we have come to expect from members of this once-honorable profession.

Update See this by HotAir: it’s not Muslims, it’s Banzhaf.

22 Comments

  1. It is not enough to say that a person or entity has been or will be fined, but what is more interesting and frequently unknown is into which coffer the fine flows.

  2. Is there any way to demonstrate or disprove the proposition that there are more “Banzhafs” now than previously in our society (as another index of decline)? First we would need to define a “Banzhaf.” Not simple I suppose.

  3. A bad third doesn’t necessarily imply a bad first or second. Every once in a while a bad apple falls from the tree.

    Noblesse,

    Good question but I doubt the CU affair would ever have occurred when I was younger. It certainly seems that idiotic lawsuits are becoming more prevalent. I think we can thank the hippies for all of this heightened activism. Maybe life will return to normal once we’re all dead and gone.Then again, maybe it’s just plain greed.

    Checkout: http://overlawyered.com/2011/10/nobody-held-a-gun-to-their-head-and-made-them-enroll-at-a-school-called-catholic-university/

  4. DAV,

    Loser Pays might indeed be a good fix. But not in cases like these. Banzhaf’s actions are not law suits: they are complaints to an almost unknown bureaucratic agency charged with ferreting out what it sees as discrimination in Washington DC and nowhere else.

  5. Briggs,

    I knew that :). It’s an advertisement stunt by Banzhaf. If fishing expedition suits weren’t the norm maybe the Banzhaf’s of the world would be less inclined to pursue lost causes and even less inclined to advertise bad legal mindset. He teaches at GWU. Let’s hope his students don’t pick up this mindset. What are the chances of that last sentence coming true?

  6. Setting the legal beagle aside this nonsense does raise a legitimate question. What in the wide wide world of sports are non-Catholics of any stripe doing at Catholic University? Does Oral Roberts University admit non-Christians? Does the Islamic American University admit non-Muslims?

    I’ve never studied comparative religion in a formal setting, but it seems to me anathema for a university founded by a religious group to invite or even allow heretics into their midst.

    Next thing you know, they will be letting conservatives attend and teach at our hollowed public institutions of higher learning.

  7. Halflife,

    Maybe because they want an education? My landlord is a Jew but is quite proud of his Catholic University class ring. Shows it off whenever he can. Clinton went to Georgetown which is run by Jesuits. I don’t think he’s a Catholic.

  8. . . No te busque pero te encontre, aunque se que en mi inconsciente siempre te espere. Se que mi nido no es tu cama y estoy muy lejos de tu almohada. Tus besos no los tengo, pero como los sueno! Ahora que sabes lo que pienso, me diras algo o te quedaras en silencio. Oh? quien sera el dueno de tus pensamientos!. Gustas mas poemas, te invito a mi nueva pagina, lo tengo que poner asi aca: . florentinoenamoradopuntocom.

  9. Here are some other possibilities.

    Our powerless graduate students would ask a faculty to convey their complaints to the Chair on their behalf. That those students haven’t complained to the authority doesn’t
    mean there aren’t any problems and that the students are happy with everything. And, oftentimes, the chairperson just wasn’t aware of the problems, many of which can be easily resolved.

    Not everything is political.

    Having said the above, maybe the CU President simply didn’t pay attention to those Muslim students for whatever reason. I would think CU could easily make accommodation for those students as they have done for students of other religions on campus. What better way to show that it’s a great university by extending their thoughtfulness toward students of various religions.

    Plus, if CU wants the tuition money from the Muslim students, CU probably wants treat them right. Perhaps this is not a big deal, but the media wants to make it a huge one. Perhaps filing a serious complaint is the only way to get the authority to take actions. Or perhaps our law should encourage mediation not law suits.

    Who knows exactly what’s going on? HotAir? Unlike Mr. Briggs, I have no faith in reports by HotAir at all. Darn, have I used the word “faith” correctly? ^_^

  10. JH,

    Describe “powerless.” You used “faith” in the sense of trust and not in the sense I explained, which is justified true belief.

    All,

    There is some misunderstanding. Banzhaf has not claiming that any actual students have complained. The opposite appears to be the case. See the Anchoress.

  11. JH,

    You claim that graduate students have no authority over decisions which affect their fate (at school)?

  12. Are you saying that you felt that you had authority over all decisions that affected your fate when you were a graduate student?

  13. JH,

    So you admit that graduate students have authority over some of the decisions which affect their fate?

  14. Mr. Briggs,

    What’s to admit? Why? Our students are to follow all departmental policies stated in our graduate student handbook. No, students have no authority to make policies. Not every policy is clearly spelled out, e.g., the one on teaching assignment (TA). The students may complain about their TA, but they don’t have the authority to change it. However, our Chair does.

    And seriously, “complaining directly to the authority” is not a common behavior in the culture many students come from.

    They have the authority to decide to work hard to pass the qualifying exams and finish their dissertations though.

    I am puzzled… what is your point?

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