Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Being "offended" does not constitute an "establishment" of religion
Catholic World Report ^ | June 25, 2014 | Dr. John A. Sparks

Posted on 06/25/2014 1:46:28 PM PDT by NYer

(CNS photo)

The Elmbrook School District operates two public high schools in suburban Wisconsin. Finding that its own gymnasiums were cramped, hot, and uncomfortable, and at the request of students, it decided to move joint graduation ceremonies to a local Protestant church which offered air conditioning, more space, and greater comfort for attendees.

Not surprisingly, the rented sanctuary contained a prominently displayed cross, religious banners, hymnals, and Bibles. Neither the church’s staff nor members of the church’s congregation participated in the graduation. However, some students and parents complained that exposure to the religious symbols and materials was itself offensive and constituted an unconstitutional establishment of religion. The group sued the school district. The case went to the Seventh Circuit, first to a three-judge panel and then to the full court. Amazingly, the Seventh Circuit Court found for the parents and students, holding that conducting the graduation in a church building was tantamount to the establishing of religion.

The school district sought a U.S. Supreme Court review, especially in light of the high court’s own recent decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway which allowed prayer before a local government’s meetings. The Supreme Court, however, refused to review the Seventh Circuit decision, thus leaving the ruling to stand. Is this the result the First Amendment was designed to produce? An amendment that prohibits the government from “establishing religion?”

Justice Antonin Scalia said “no” and wrote a hard-hitting seven-page dissent to the court’s one sentence refusal to hear the appeal. Scalia first points out that in Elmbrook “it is beyond dispute that no religious exercise whatever occurred” at the graduation event. The complaining students and parents were not objecting to ceremonial content. Instead, they said that they “felt uncomfortable, upset, offended, unwelcome and/or angry because of the religious setting.”  But is “being offended” by a one-time religious venue for a public school graduation really equivalent to the government establishing a church?  Scalia refers to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s sensible and historically correct statement in the Town of Greece v. Galloway case: “[A]n Establishment Clause violation is not made out any time a person experiences a sense of affront from the expression of contrary religious views.”  Scalia reminds his colleagues that a “religious establishment” against which the First Amendment warns is a governmentally mandated and tax-supported church.

Concluding that holding a high school graduation ceremony in a local church because of inadequate school facilities violates the First Amendment trivializes the intent of that anti-establishment language. Secondly, it raises “offensiveness” to the level of a constitutional right. Third, it moves closer and closer to the view that the First Amendment establishment clause requires “religion” and “government” to exist in separate hermetically sealed containers precisely at a time when America’s public institutions are in desperate need of the moral grounding which religious foundations provide.

This one line refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Seventh Circuit’s errant decision will not receive the media attention that the other full-fledged opinions will receive, but it shows that the court is still sadly confused about what constitutes religious establishment.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: education; graduation; wi

1 posted on 06/25/2014 1:46:28 PM PDT by NYer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; tiki; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 06/25/2014 1:46:53 PM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Good Lord!!!! wait, can I say that?


3 posted on 06/25/2014 1:50:52 PM PDT by VaRepublican (I would propagate taglines but I don't know how. But bloggers do.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

I sometimes wonder if my response to these sorts of stories is best categorized as “fiddling while rome burns”.

I used to say that if it were not so serious it would be funny but I’ve gotten to the point where I think it’s funny anyway.

It’s like watching history happen before your very eyes.


4 posted on 06/25/2014 1:50:56 PM PDT by cuban leaf
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Next year, when they hold the graduation in an un-airconditioned gym or parking lot, include the names of the plaintiffs prominently in the program. Heck, do it every year in perpetuity.

“This misery brought to you by ...”


5 posted on 06/25/2014 1:51:09 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Told 'em not to science those burgers too hard. ~ Darksheare)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer; tx_eggman

Fine. Then keep your offended selves out of a privately funded property, and sweat your hairy ****** off.

There’s gratitude for ya.


6 posted on 06/25/2014 1:51:19 PM PDT by SpinnerWebb (IN-SAPORIBVS-SICVT-PVLLVM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Well, I’ll be flamed for this, but having the ceremony in the “religious part” (not sure what that is called in a Church) would result in Orthodox Jews, for example, not being able to attend the ceremony, in that the Torah forbids entry by Jewish people into the sanctuary of what Jews consider a false religion.

Now, would I have sued?

No, I would have explained to my very disappointed daughters (all of whom that reached such age being at the top of their class and gave a short speech) that they were out of luck and we’d go get their Diploma from the principal.


7 posted on 06/25/2014 1:53:53 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SpinnerWebb

I am familiar with school districts that rent their property out to religious organizations on the weekends. Is that a violation also?


8 posted on 06/25/2014 1:56:23 PM PDT by DeFault User
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: NYer

somehow exposing children to LGBT and sexual perversions doesn’t offend these people


9 posted on 06/25/2014 1:56:57 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca

A Jewish friend of mine, now deceased, attended my SIL’s funeral in a church. He even wore his yarmulke..............


10 posted on 06/25/2014 1:57:18 PM PDT by Red Badger (I've posted a total of 2,743 threads and 84,837 replies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: NYer

I just wonder if there is some line that can/will be crossed that would get real action from the right?


11 posted on 06/25/2014 1:58:17 PM PDT by Altura Ct.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Not only is the court wrong in the refusal to review the lower court’s ruling, it is STUPID. DUMB. MORONIC. IDIOTIC. ASSININE. I’m running out of adjectives. If the so-called “best” legal minds in the country can’t do any better than this, we are doomed.


12 posted on 06/25/2014 2:00:33 PM PDT by Steve_Seattle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
Accoding to What The Founding Fathers Believed About Homosexuality, YES!
13 posted on 06/25/2014 2:02:43 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Altura Ct.

Apparently not though I have sent emails on similar matters. Of course, they are ignored.


14 posted on 06/25/2014 2:03:50 PM PDT by ilovesarah2012
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca
"Well, I’ll be flamed for this, but having the ceremony in the “religious part” (not sure what that is called in a Church) would result in Orthodox Jews, for example, not being able to attend the ceremony, in that the Torah forbids entry by Jewish people into the sanctuary of what Jews consider a false religion."

You deserve to be flamed. This was not attending a religious ceremony. What is your view on US economic and military aid to Israel, a state specifically set up for the benefit of a particular religion? If you support such aid, you are a hypocrite of the worst sort.
15 posted on 06/25/2014 2:04:23 PM PDT by Steve_Seattle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: VaRepublican
Good Lord!!!! wait, can I say that?

It's the Church that will get you on that one -- it violates one of the commandments.

16 posted on 06/25/2014 2:05:22 PM PDT by freerepublicchat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca

Christians should not put their children in public schools. Government schools are child abuse.


17 posted on 06/25/2014 2:06:46 PM PDT by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyranni)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Our high school was right across the road from our church. Lots of our teachers were members of the church and we often went to the church so we could take final exams in the AC.


18 posted on 06/25/2014 2:07:43 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

“A Jewish friend of mine, now deceased, attended my SIL’s funeral in a church. He even wore his yarmulke.”

Then he was not Orthodox or decided to ignore the Torah.


19 posted on 06/25/2014 2:07:52 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca
Isn't this strict interpretation part of the overall problem with the worlds religions? not flaming, just asking.
20 posted on 06/25/2014 2:09:02 PM PDT by VaRepublican (I would propagate taglines but I don't know how. But bloggers do.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Steve_Seattle

“You deserve to be flamed. This was not attending a religious ceremony.”

The Torah forbids entry to the sanctuary of a non-Jewish religion, even if ceremonies are not to be performed.

The Law is the Law; I didn’t write it. If the Law offends you, take in up with the Author.


21 posted on 06/25/2014 2:09:44 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: VaRepublican

The Torah is the Torah.

Take up your complaints with the Author.


22 posted on 06/25/2014 2:10:44 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca
Then he was not Orthodox or decided to ignore the Torah.

I don't know if he was or wasn't.................

23 posted on 06/25/2014 2:11:25 PM PDT by Red Badger (I've posted a total of 2,743 threads and 84,837 replies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca

BTW, could you point me to the scripture?...........Thanks...............


24 posted on 06/25/2014 2:12:22 PM PDT by Red Badger (I've posted a total of 2,743 threads and 84,837 replies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca
The Best man at my Wedding held in an American Baptist Church was Orthodox Jewish.
25 posted on 06/25/2014 2:14:55 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca

You didn’t answer the question about American aid to Israel. Are Christian tax dollars too filthy for Orthodox Jews to accept? I didn’t think so.


26 posted on 06/25/2014 2:15:48 PM PDT by Steve_Seattle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca
The Torah forbids entry to the sanctuary of a non-Jewish religion, even if ceremonies are not to be performed.

Chapter and verse, please?

27 posted on 06/25/2014 2:17:03 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: NYer
Those offended could refuse to participate, and just give their diplomas back, eh?
28 posted on 06/25/2014 2:24:40 PM PDT by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Its unimaginable to me that anyone would be so offended by the venue of a HS graduation that they would take it all the way to the supreme court. IMO they were not offended, this suit was the result of hatred of Christianity.


29 posted on 06/25/2014 2:36:33 PM PDT by Brooklyn Attitude (Things are only going to get worse.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Backing up a step, with much of the curriculum being taught in today’s public screwels, one may have a good argument that such in and of itself is in violation of the establishment clause.


30 posted on 06/25/2014 2:44:56 PM PDT by Carthego delenda est
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou_shalt_have_no_other_gods_before_me

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avodah_Zarah


31 posted on 06/25/2014 2:52:08 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Steve_Seattle

You point is idiotic on so many levels it doesn’t deserve a response.


32 posted on 06/25/2014 2:53:38 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: PapaBear3625

Exodus 20:3

More fully explained in the links above.


33 posted on 06/25/2014 2:54:21 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: PapaBear3625; Red Badger

http://www.torah.org/learning/livinglaw/5766/yisro.html


34 posted on 06/25/2014 2:55:50 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

Then he was a very badly informed Orthodox Jew.


35 posted on 06/25/2014 2:58:41 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca

He was my best friend.


36 posted on 06/25/2014 3:00:44 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

I am sure he was a very good friend, and that is why he decided to violate the Law.


37 posted on 06/25/2014 3:15:19 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca

His Father the local Rabi was at the Cake & Punch celebration afterwords, in the church basement.


38 posted on 06/25/2014 3:29:35 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Steve_Seattle
You didn’t answer the question about American aid to Israel. Are Christian tax dollars too filthy for Orthodox Jews to accept? I didn’t think so.

Accepting funding from the gentiles is acceptable.

Isaiah 60

10 “Foreigners will rebuild your walls,
and their kings will serve you.
Though in anger I struck you,
in favor I will show you compassion.
11 Your gates will always stand open,
they will never be shut, day or night,
so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations—
their kings led in triumphal procession.
12 For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish;
it will be utterly ruined.

39 posted on 06/25/2014 4:02:41 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

“His Father the local Rabi was at the Cake & Punch celebration afterwords, in the church basement.”

This sounds right; non-sanctuary parts of a Church are not prohibited.

This same issue comes up with voting, actually.


40 posted on 06/25/2014 4:39:44 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca

Fwiw, if that’s your rules, that’s your rules. Doesn’t bother me.


41 posted on 06/25/2014 4:57:33 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Told 'em not to science those burgers too hard. ~ Darksheare)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Why don’t we just stop having High school graduation, give the parents their money back and tell them they can take their kids to a private school of their choice.


42 posted on 06/25/2014 6:06:54 PM PDT by Monorprise
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

“somehow exposing children to LGBT and sexual perversions doesn’t offend these people”

It does however greatly offend me and any and all other God fearing Christians.

When are we going to demand that the Federal Education system stops imposing its Sodomite region upon our kids?


43 posted on 06/25/2014 6:08:15 PM PDT by Monorprise
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Monorprise

Amazingly it takes one atheist parent to complain to get anything religious removed from a school. While nearly all parents working together to get perversion out are ignored.


44 posted on 06/25/2014 6:10:21 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

“Amazingly it takes one atheist parent to complain to get anything religious removed from a school. While nearly all parents working together to get perversion out are ignored.”

We need organization, legal teams, and fair ‘courts’.

We should nonetheless make the case and make a high profile of it too. Sodomy is literally against the teachings of our religion and by having those symbols and Words taught in our Government school it is no less an establishment of State religion against us than the School holding graduation in the present of religious symbols.


45 posted on 06/25/2014 6:16:15 PM PDT by Monorprise
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: Jewbacca

Thanks!.............


46 posted on 06/26/2014 6:07:28 AM PDT by Red Badger (I've posted a total of 2,743 threads and 84,837 replies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson