Beliefnet
Lynn v. Sekulow

Jay,

More
than a week has gone by since a district court judge in Connecticut ruled that
a public high school could not hold its two high schools’ graduation ceremonies
in a cathedral, yet I haven’t heard any complaints from you!

Americans
United, along with the ACLU of Connecticut, filed the lawsuit on May 5 on
behalf of two graduating seniors and their parents. This decision is a huge victory
protecting the constitutional rights of all students. Our legal team worked
very hard to secure this win.

Of
course, I know you don’t agree. The American Center for Law and Justice
represented the school district, Enfield Public Schools, in their quest to retain First Cathedral as its graduation spot, despite the fact that this venue made several students feel
uncomfortable and sent the message to students that one particular faith was
preferred over others.

I
wonder if you would have defended the school if the graduation was being held
at a mosque, synagogue or Hindu temple? Do you think the Enfield Public School
District would have dared insist that students should receive their diploma in
a venue replete with these other religions’ symbols and iconography?

Of
course not! Yet, the Enfield school board thought having the graduation
ceremonies at this Christian venue was no big deal.

What
is even more puzzling is that the cathedral wasn’t even the best venue. There
were many other secular venues available that had all the benefits of the
cathedral and that were closer in distance to Enfield.

Thankfully,
Judge Janet Hall saw this for what it was – an obvious constitutional violation.

“Upon
attending graduation ceremonies, a reasonable observer would conclude that the
Board’s April 13, 2010 decision to use First Cathedral sends the message that
the Board embraces the religious values, symbols, and ideas present within the
Cathedral,” Hall wrote.

“By
choosing to hold graduations at First Cathedral,” she continued, “Enfield
Schools sends the message that it is closely linked with First Cathedral and
its religious mission, that it favors the religious over the irreligious, and
that it prefers Christians over those that subscribe to other faiths, or no
faith at all.”

Since
the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the school’s expedited
appeal on the preliminary injunction ruling, next week’s graduation ceremonies
will go on at the school, not at the First Cathedral.

The
court’s ruling will ensure that no student or parent has to choose between
missing their own graduation and being subjected to a religious environment of
a faith to which they do not subscribe.

I
hope this decision lets other public schools know that holding important events
at religious venues is never constitutionally acceptable.

To subscribe to “Lynn v. Sekulow” click
here.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus