All entering freshmen and transfer students at the University of North Carolina this fall have been given a summer reading assignment. It's the Koran. I'm not kidding. An announcement from the university says the required discussion will be led by faculty and staff.
The announcement says: "Westerners for centuries have been alternately puzzled, attracted, concerned, and curious about the great religious traditions of Islam. These feelings have been especially intense since the tragic events of September 11." The announcement says the selections from the Koran are "comparable in many ways to the Psalms of David and other classics of world literature." Except that the Psalms are part of the Word of God. So, why aren't students studying the Psalms?
Accompanying the book is a CD with someone reading the Koran in Arabic. Should students be expected to know Arabic?
This is ridiculous and outrageous. Will the ACLU and Americans United for Church-State Separation file suit? After all, this is a publicly-funded university. What in the world are we doing to ourselves? I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.