The Rev. Franklin Graham is urging parents to vigilantly defend religious freedom after a Maryland public high school forced a 16-year-old student to take classes that promoted Islam over Christianity and acknowledge the Muslim prophet Mohammed as her spiritual leader.
According to a report from the Daily Mail, John Wood, a former Marine, and his wife Melissa Wood, recently filed a civil rights complaint against La Plata High School, alleging their daughter - identified only as C.W. - was forced to spend two weeks studying Islam in a modern history class. In turn, the class covered just one day of Christianity, and did not mention the Bible or the Ten Commandments.
Court documents reveal that as part of the class, the 11th grader "had to profess the Shahada by claiming ''There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.'''
Students were also required to memorize and recite the Five Pillars of Islam and were subjected to disparaging teachings about Christianity. The lawsuit claims that those who refused to engage in the course would receive a failing grade.
When John Wood, who served eight years in the Marine Corps and was deployed in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, attempted to confront the board regarding the class, he was reportedly escorted from school property.
"Such discriminatory treatment of Christianity is an unconstitutional promotion of one religion over another," President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center Richard Thompson said.
"The course also taught false statements such as Allah is the same God worshiped by Christians and Islam is a 'religion of peace'...A school cannot achieve diversity by punishing and alienating students who hold Judeo-Christian beliefs, while bolstering the doctrines and teachings of other religions."
Thompson added, "Parents must be ever vigilant to the Islamic indoctrination of their children under the guise of teaching history and multiculturalism. This is happening in public schools across the country. And they must take action to stop it."
Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, has urged parents to be vigilant in standing up for Biblical principles and defending religious freedom.
"No wonder this Marine veteran and his wife were outraged!" the 64-year-old evangelist wrote in a Facebook post last week. "I think this class definitely deserves a failing grade! This family has filed a lawsuit to hopefully put a stop to it. As parents, as grandparents, and as citizens we have got to be on guard against the undermining of biblical truths and our religious freedoms. The Bible tells us, 'Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong' (1 Corinthians 16:13)."
"The particular unit in question is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith and how it, along with politics, culture, economics and geography, contributed to the development of the Middle East. Other religions are introduced when they influence or impact a particular historical era or geographic region. For example, when reviewing the Renaissance and Reformation, students study the concepts and role of Christianity. When learning about the development of China and India, students examine Hinduism and Buddhism."