I am a big fan of the First Amendment. I have argued against the Smithsonian’s decision to remove a controversial video showing ants crawling over a crucifix. I have argued on behalf of Muslims who wanted to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero in Manhattan. I have even defended the rights of members of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest at military funerals in the name of a God who hates. But I have finally found a religious liberty case I cannot get behind….
Given the facts and the law as I understand them, however, I believe that Khan and the Justice Department are overreaching here. Nineteen days is a long time to leave schoolchildren (who also have rights) without a teacher, particularly at the end of a semester. And while it is troubling to hear that the district did not even negotiate with Khan ”” a charge to which district officials refused to respond ”” it is hard to see how this request could have been reasonably accommodated.