BYE AMERICA: Federal Government Subsidizes Halal Food in Public Schools
“Federal Government Subsidizes Halal Food in Public Schools,” by Johanna Markind, PJ Media, August 28, 2015:
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.
The Halal Programs
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.