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Monday, September 18

Is it any wonder that most wars have been fought over religious beliefs?

A college student in SUNY Binghamton (state school) is starving himself because he says the school failed to meet his religious (Rastafarian) dietary requirements.

Glover said a dietician from the Sodexho food service vendor met numerous times with Akaberi, then recommended they would do several things, such as drawing up menus of 100 percent organic foods, detailing methods of food preparation, and using specially selected pots, pans, knives, spoons and forks. The company also called for training a chef to prepare an agreed-upon menu for Akaberi, making organic food items available in a dormitory cafe as late as 1 a.m. "All this would kick in upon response on this proposal from him, but he has not responded as yet," Glover said.

Akaberi said he found the university's proposal unacceptable. "This all looks great on paper, but the reality is much different," he said, noting that a chef wasn't available in a dormitory cafe during recent visits. "They expect more of me than any other student. The expense of the meal plan is supposed to be justified by convenience and peace of mind that comes with constant meal availability," he said citing the $1,660 per semester cost of the meal plan.
"They expect more of me than any other student."
It also appears that he expects more from the school's caterers than any other student.

I am all for religious freedom in this country. I understand that many people have special dietary requirements. The cost of the school's meal plan is $1660 per semester. I assume that kids who just eat whatever is made for them pay the same price and that price also subsidizes those students who have special needs. The other students have constant meal availability and this student claims that he doesn't- his special chef wasn't there when he was hungry a few times. He is threatening to die for his beliefs. How do we determine if this person is not full of crap? Or should we dare to question anyone's religious beliefs even when they become difficult for the rest of a community?

This student reports that "he cannot eat non-organic foods or those cooked on metallic surfaces." The school apparently made an effort to comply with his requirements. It appears that he's the only student with these specific requirements. What if dozens of other students decide that they have special "religious" requirements just to be ball breakers? How will that financially affect non-fussy students in a state funded university?

How far should we as tax paying Americans who support freedom of religion and freedom from religion, bend over backwards to accommodate certain religious requirements?

I'm just asking. I don't know.

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