I certainly have my disagreements with Michael Ruse on questions related to science and religion, but sometimes he really comes through:
There are days when, I swear to God, I am all set to enroll under the banner of Richard Dawkins and anathematize all religions and those who subscribe to them. I take a lot of criticism from my fellow atheists, including my fellow Brainstormers, for arguing that science and religion are compatible. I still think that, but increasingly I cannot for the life of me see why any decent human being would want to be religious, and increasingly I think one should be ashamed to be religious.
Goodness! What brought that on?
There are a lot of Muslim kids in the (secular) public schools. Their religion puts on them the obligation to say prayers several times during the day, especially Fridays. You cannot just save it all up for the evening. So where are they going to say their prayers? The obvious answer is in an assembly room or some such place, between classes or over the lunch break. This in itself might make you a bit tense, but as I say, live and let live. I don’t think you would want to allow religious leaders to come in and run things, but if the kids want to do it, why not? It is much the same as the kids getting together to play a pickup game of basketball. I don’t want to pray or play basketball, but that’s just me.
But, get this. It turns out that girls who are menstruating are not allowed to articipate in the prayers. They must sit at the back and watch. This is not a social demand. This is a religious demand.
It is also absolutely outrageous. Let me spell it out. Girls with their periods are not sinful. They are not sick. They are not weak. That anyone would think otherwise in this day and age boggles the mind. It boggles the mind even more that respectable members of the Toronto District School Board should think this treatment of females is something that should be tolerated on school grounds, at any time.
The rest of the post is worth reading as well. I can find things to quibble with, but overall it’s pretty good.