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View Full Version : No public school graduation ceremony at megachurch: Judge



BAMAPHIN 22
06-01-2010, 06:39 PM
According to Associated Press, U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall found First Cathedral, a non-denominational megachurch First Cathedral, so "overwrought with religious symbols," including large crosses on the building's roof, over the main entrance and behind an indoor stage, that it could be viewed as ...


"coercing students to enter a church and 'support or participate in religion' but can also be viewed as coercing the violation of one's own religious beliefs.

In her ruling issued Monday, which concluded that the graduations must be moved to avoid an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, she wrote:


A reasonable observer attending the 2010 Enfield graduations would perceive the message that Enfield endorsed the readily perceptible religious views of First Cathedral based upon the character of that forum which Enfield schools selected.

Five schools had originally used the church, built expressly to reach out in evangelism by inviting public events at its massive facilities, according the church's web site. After complaints, three schools moved to secular locations and the Enfield schools were about to do the same this year.
However, a Christian legal group, American Center for Law and Justice stepped up to say it would defend the District in case of any challenges to using the church again. Sure enough, a challenge came from two students and three parents, brought to court by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union.


http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2010/06/graduation-megachurch-christian-constitution/1?loc=interstitialskip

Dolphan7
06-02-2010, 02:20 PM
In my opinion, there isn't anything unconstitutional about having a graduation ceremony in a church facility. Just as there isn't anything unconstitutional about a church meeting in a public school on Sundays.

Tetragrammaton
06-02-2010, 04:41 PM
The same thing happened in my county. Junior year, someone challenged the graduation's taking place in a church. The judge ruled that it was too late to change it, but that it must be changed for future years, mine being the first. It ended up happening in our gym. See, in a lot of small towns, there are not that many big auditoriums other than churches, so more often than not it is just a matter of convenience.

Dolphan7
06-02-2010, 05:15 PM
The same thing happened in my county. Junior year, someone challenged the graduation's taking place in a church. The judge ruled that it was too late to change it, but that it must be changed for future years, mine being the first. It ended up happening in our gym. See, in a lot of small towns, there are not that many big auditoriums other than churches, so more often than not it is just a matter of convenience.Exactly. Sometimes it just makes good common sense, and it is more than likely a simple business transaction as I am sure the church doesn't just allow groups to use their facilities for free. Very common for churches to "rent" their space out.

But sadly the Christophobes are on high alert in this country.

aesop
06-03-2010, 11:27 AM
Exactly. Sometimes it just makes good common sense, and it is more than likely a simple business transaction as I am sure the church doesn't just allow groups to use their facilities for free. Very common for churches to "rent" their space out.

But sadly the Christophobes are on high alert in this country.Would you have a problem if your children's High School graduation took place at a mosque with a giant crescent moon in the background? I don't think it's so much the "Christophobes" (here we go again with the Christian paranoia that everyone is out to get them even though they are the overwhelming majority) as much as the principle.

Tetragrammaton
06-03-2010, 11:36 AM
Would you have a problem if your children's High School graduation took place at a mosque with a giant crescent moon in the background? I don't think it's so much the "Christophobes" (here we go again with the Christian paranoia that everyone is out to get them even though they are the overwhelming majority) as much as the principle.

At a certain point practicality comes into play. This atheist would have much rather graduated in the megachurch than the school gymnasium.

Dolphan7
06-03-2010, 01:31 PM
Would you have a problem if your children's High School graduation took place at a mosque with a giant crescent moon in the background? I don't think it's so much the "Christophobes" (here we go again with the Christian paranoia that everyone is out to get them even though they are the overwhelming majority) as much as the principle.I asked myself that very thing in anticipation of such a question. And it really doesn't matter, in fact there is a large Jewish church here in Tucson that hosts HS events regularly. Mosque, Temple, Synagogue, Church.....doesn't matter.

Now....if there were people standing at the door handing out religious materials and encouraging people to join the church or telling them they need Jesus, Allah, Buddha....or if there was an event planned like a sermon or a teaching....then I would agree that would not be appropriate.

aesop
06-04-2010, 04:27 PM
It all comes down to separation of church and state and to what extent it should be enforced. If they allow "In God We Trust" to be printed on our currency, I don't see why they wouldn't allow public schools to hold a graduation at a church for convenience. It's a matter of how far they are allowed to take it and where the line is drawn. It's a grey area.

Dolphan7
06-04-2010, 06:52 PM
It all comes down to separation of church and state and to what extent it should be enforced. If they allow "In God We Trust" to be printed on our currency, I don't see why they wouldn't allow public schools to hold a graduation at a church for convenience. It's a matter of how far they are allowed to take it and where the line is drawn. It's a grey area.I agree it is a gray area. This country survived very well for the last two hundred plus years. Now all the sudden there is this increased separation of church and state movement, which I think has been overblown...and over used....and is simply a mechanism to achieve something more than it is portended. I believe there is a growing number of Atheists in this country who are very sensitive to things of religion, and would seek to remove all aspects of it....especially in places where it has thrived in a co-existent relationship with the public/government since our inception.