BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Parents of students at a Michigan Catholic school are outraged after school officials dedicated a prayer room for Muslim and other non-Catholic students who attend.
About a dozen parents recently voiced their opposition to a prayer room at Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills that’s been in place for years to accommodate the school’s non-Catholic students.
“When the question was ‘Is there a place that I can pray?’ the answer that evolved was yes,” John Birney, school president, told WXYZ. “We have this ‘sacred space’ available to you if you want it.”
One parent who emailed WXYZ called the prayer room “unconscionable” at a Catholic school, and claims the sacred space “undermined” her child’s religious education, while others have contacted Brother Rice officials with similar complaints.
“My quick response is, all Catholic schools have as part of their admissions that they don’t discriminate based on race, creed, color,” Birney said.
“I respect your opinion,” he said to objecting parents, “I need to talk to experts in the field before we finalize what we choose to do.”
For now, it seems Birney is content to keep the prayer room that’s currently used by a handful of students at the all-boys school.
“We have somewhere in the vicinity of five or 10 of the boys who want to do this on a regular basis, but I also just found out we have a Tibetan Buddhist in our school who also uses the room,” Birney told WJBK. “So, Sometimes, this focus on, ‘It’s Muslim,’ I guess the way I would view it, we’re a Catholic school; we continue to teach the Catholic faith and continue to celebrate our faith but we have other faiths here.”
And while some parents have complained about the room on social media and contacted school officials to voice their grievances, others seem to think the non-Catholic prayer room is a good idea.
“The people that are going to Brother Rice, they’re already accepting the fact that we have to live in this world together as Christians, Muslims, whatever; and if they’re around Brother Rice and see people that will walk the talk and are good people, and it’s not all about them, it helps everyone,” parent John Everley told WJBK.
“I see parents; they’re worried,” he said. “They see things out there but, the worst thing is to separate and assume the worst about everyone.”
There have been no complaints about the prayer room from students, according to media reports. Read More