Here in Indianapolis, there are plans to expand the Airport. A new terminal is going to be built. As part of the plans is the provision for a Taxi Cab waiting area where the cabs will be positioned until they are summoned by a call button. Near this waiting area will be some public toilets. Currently, there is the plan to install two foot baths (one each in the men’s and women’s restrooms. The foot baths are intended for use by the Muslim taxi drivers (a sizable fraction of all the taxi drivers) in their preparation for the required daily prayers. The cost is about $800 to 1,200 dollars total. There are also plans to build a non-denominational chapel inside the terminal as well.
The Terminal is controlled by an Airport Authority that has a board of directors composed of Government officials. The construction and operation of the terminal will not use taxpayers money but is financed from the fees the Authority charges the Airlines.
The construction of the chapel is non-controversial but the foot baths have raise the hackles of some Christian folks. Most of the comments that I’ve seen run along the lines of ‘this is a Christian Nation and we should kowtow to these foreigners’. Some have argued that this accommodation is unconstitutional.
I’m of two minds on the topic. I think that strictly speaking that both the chapel and the foot baths are unconstitutional actions (fails the Lemon Test). On the other hand, this seems like a completely reasonable and compassionate accommodation.
What do you guys think?