Monday, April 30, 2007

First Amendment for Christians too?

The following is quoted from the website of the Association of College Unions International:

Ohio Union Smudging ceremony

On Jan. 30, the Ohio Union at The Ohio State University closed its doors for the last time, but not before faculty, staff, and students gathered in the main lounge for a smudging ceremony, facilitated by the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio.

“Native American elders have taught that before something can be healed, it must be cleansed of negative energy and then purified with offerings of thanks,” said Heather McGinnis, assistant director of the union.

“The smudging ceremony was used as a way to purify the Ohio Union of negative energy as preparation is made for deconstruction of the current space and the future construction of the new building.”

During the ceremony, sage was burned to replace bad feelings with good ones and send up prayers with the smoke. A bowl containing sage was taken to each person and they fanned themselves with the smoke.

“Native American songs were sung during the entire ceremony. The audience was instructed to turn towards the different directions—north, south, east, west, sky, and ground,” McGinnis said. “A prayer of reflection was said and each person was given the opportunity to reflect on their own personal experiences in the building.” Around 200 people gathered to pay tribute to the union.

“Thanks to the Smudging Ceremony, the Ohio Union, empty as it may look, is now filled with positive energy and even more positive memories,” McGinnis said.

Where was the ACLU on this one? They made a point of protesting an event in which Christian groups wanted to bless a Columbus City school prior to the start of the school year. This event was to take place on Sunday, when school was not in session, but still the ACLU argued that it violated constitutional protections.

At Hilliard City Schools, Muslim students are permitted to leave class for prayer on the school grounds during Ramadan.

Why is it I am feeling oppressed?

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