Some things just naturally go together: coffee and cream, boys and girls, cowboys and Indians, ham and eggs, salt and pepper. But say “Islam,” and nobody thinks “women’s rights.” The U.S. Department of Interior is trying to change that, and taxpayers are paying for it. An hour’s drive southwest of Syracuse, N.Y., the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls is the latest Obama administration venue for promoting “the religion of peace.”
With 401 national parks and historic sites maintained by the National Park Service, the Women’s Rights National Historic Park probably isn’t at the top of the must-see list for vacationers who have yet to experience Yosemite, Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. Anyone who drops by expecting to see the focus on the Suffragettes and the ratification of the 19th Amendment will be sorely disappointed.
The park’s online website offers five videos to guide visitors through the exhibits. There’s one about the role of black women in the Suffragette movement, one about lesbians and transgendered women, and three about Islam in the United States. The Islam story is told by groups of students from the AnNur Islamic School in Schenectady, N.Y. An intern from the park visited the school to record the student narrative. “People think that Islam oppresses women and there’s no equality,” says one student, identified only as Khadiza. “But they’re wrong. There’s equity.” This may be passionate evangelism, but it’s not much at history.
Another young woman, Alaa, says: “Islam gave women a whole bunch of rights that Western women acquired later in the 19th and 20th centuries, and we’ve had these rights since the 7th century A.D. and it’s just not acknowledged worldwide.”
The National Park Service insists that no tax dollars were used to produce the videos, that they were paid for by Friends of Women’s Rights National Historic Park, a nonprofit group. If so, that much is good. But the hosting and promoting at the Women’s Rights National Historic Park is paid for by the U.S. government. Given the way that litigious atheists invoke the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” — to uproot war memorial crosses, ban Bible readings and throw rocks every time someone says a simple “God bless you” on public property, it’s not clear why the government should be promoting Islam.
National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst tells Fox News that the videos are “part of the park’s ongoing effort to share the story of the women’s rights movement and that the fight for human and civil rights — including the right to freedom of worship — are struggles that continue to this day.” Mr. Litterst wouldn’t say whether the Park Service has produced videos “to share the story” of Christianity and Judaism. (We’ll take a wild guess and say that it hasn’t.)
The Interior Department isn’t acting alone. In 2010, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. told the al Jazeera network that President Obama personally challenged him to use the space agency to explore American-Islamic relations. “He wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and engineering.” But we’ll say that it’s not the role of the U.S. government to make foreign governments, even Islamic governments, “feel good” about themselves — particularly when many of those governments should feel very bad, indeed, about themselves and their treatment of women.