Tolerance of different faiths is a vital part of the foundation of American freedom. We do not have a national religion and thus, allow virtually all religions to exist side by side. But we also have reasonable limits on how people worship, meaning that one religion cannot claim exemption when their practices infringe or threaten the rights of others. Such is the argument in Michigan where students who follow the Sikh faith have been granted permission to carry into schools the small dagger known as the Kirpan.
For the record, the Kirpan is a symbolic knife and usually not sharpened and in that state it is about as dangerous as a butter knife. The initial ban was ordered after a 4th grader was found to be carrying the dull knife and parents raised questions. Since that time, members of the Sikh presented their case to the school board and the ban has been lifted, allowing for the Kirpans to be carried into classrooms.
Many school districts around the country mandate that students enter buildings each day through metal detectors designed to protect all students from guns and knives. In order to guarantee security for all, will Sikh students who bring their Kirpans to class will be asked to show that the knives are not sharpened? How else can the school be certain that a non-Skih student has not brought a weapon into the building under the cloak of religious freedom?
As an odd sidebar to this story, there are Michigan schools that have stood up and banned cupcakes.