Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A ceremony in church is not necessarily a church ceremony

Santayana said that "fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim." Surely that characterizes much of the contemporary litigation about church/state relations. Apparently there are those whose beliefs are endangered by merely being in a room with religious symbols. The Journal Sentinel reports
A federal judge refused to order the Elmbrook School District to move its graduation ceremonies this weekend from the large church where it has been holding high school commencements for nearly a decade. ....

Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed its lawsuit against the Elmbrook district in late April, following the district's refusal to move the ceremonies to a secular site as requested by the group. The organization filed the lawsuit on behalf of nine unnamed current and former students, parents and taxpayers in the district.

School officials and their attorneys defended their choice of Elmbrook Church as the site of graduation ceremonies for Brookfield Central and East high schools, saying the church's 3,200-person capacity facility was chosen for its convenience and comfort. Ceremonies are secular, despite the presence of Christian iconography, including a large cross that hovers over the dais where graduates receive their diplomas, they argued. ....

"A ceremony in the church does not necessarily constitute a church ceremony," Clevert said from the bench.
Judge allows Elmbrook graduation ceremony in church - JSOnline

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