Shocka! The ACLU has expressly stated that it will not sue the University of Michigan over its installation of Muslim foot basins in public restrooms with public dollars. I note that the present talking points seem not to include what (as I posted on Right Reason) my state representative told me: that the "foot washing stations" were not going to be installed with public dollars. Perhaps that story wouldn't fly because the money is coming out of the university's general fund. The new version of the excuse is that they aren't really religious. These guys should get their spin straight.
Anyway, here's the argument: The Muslims were using the sinks at U of M to wash their feet, which made a big mess of water splashing on the floor and put foot germs in the hand sinks. This created health concerns and maintenance problems, so really, the religious ceremonial foot basins are being installed for health reasons, so really they're not religious.
My favorite quotation from the story, from ACLU representative Kary Moss of the Detroit ACLU: "We view it as an attempt to deal with a problem, not an attempt to make it easier for Muslims to pray."
This argument reminds me of an old Peanuts cartoon I read when I was a kid. A new boy moves into Charlie Brown's neighborhood and tells everyone that his name is 5. His last name is some four-digit number like 3274 (for example). 5 to Charlie Brown: "My dad did this because he says our society is getting too number oriented. Everything is a number; everybody has a number." Charlie Brown: "I see. So this is his way of protesting?" 5: "No, this is his way of giving in."
Kary Moss also says that building permanent religious lavers into public bathrooms with public funds is just like providing police crowd control for a religious march. Yeah, it's just like that.
Let's do a thought experiment: Imagine that a bunch of devout Baptist students started holding large baptismal services for multiple people at once, clad in flowing white robes, in a state university swimming pool. This gets in the way of the swim team, and the robes create worries about the pool's cleanliness and headaches for pool maintenance, what with white cotton threads getting tangled up in the filters and all. So the university builds them a baptistry to do baptisms in. But they were going to use the swimming pool for baptismal services anyway, and this was creating health, crowding, and maintenance issues, so it's being done for health and maintenance reasons. And of course, the ACLU would never sue over that.