Monday, June 7, 2010

Graduation, Churches & the Summer Sun

(Writer's note: Well school is out and summer is here, and I need a break. So-o-o-o I will be sharing posts made on technorati here from time to time. I still plan to post weekly. So make sure you come by. The following article was first published as "Graduation Venues Heating Up Controversy" on technorati.)

We all survived graduation in the sweltering near 100 degree heat at our football stadium. Until about three years ago, we used to hold it at Potter's House until it became too expensive.

But even if we could have passed around the ol' collection plate and rustled up enough donations to head back over to the very nice, air conditioned Potter's House, apparently the ACLU and a federal judge would have tried to stop that.
Something about separation of church and state. Oh, did I forget to mention Potter's House is one of those megachurches? 

A school district in Connecticut  had a big brouhaha showdown over wanting to hold graduation in a megachurch there. After a U.S. District judged issued a preliminary injunction saying it was unconstitutional for the Enfield School District to hold its commencement ceremonies at The First Cathedral, the school board voted not to appeal the ruling.

Like so many other high schools across the country, megachurches offer great air conditioned spaces that can accommodate everyone from Uncle Bob to Cousin Jake and even the neighbors down the street. Not only can they accommodate huge crowds, they even have enough parking spaces for them, and, as an added bonus, they even have state of the art video feeds to view your graduate up close and personal. What's not to like about that?

The superintendent of Windsor Schools told Fox News that the board voted not to appeal the injunction because "the board felt that if it remained with the Cathedral and faced the ACLU, the cost to the taxpayers would be significant and the board could not justify that cost."

With temperatures expected to soar into the triple digits here, administrators at Southlake Carroll Senior High School opted to move their graduation ceremonies to the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium with its cool 78 degree indoor temperature. Still, all that fuss in Connecticut got me wondering if moving the Southlake Carroll graduation bothered the sensibilities of parents or kiddos who are Philadelphia Eagles fans, or maybe that little move violated some sort of NFL thingy. 

When my daughter graduated a number of years ago at Potter's House, I don't recall even remotely thinking her high school was endorsing any religion. We were too busy doing the dance of joy to pay much attention to the venue.
I wonder if that judge would have changed her mind if she had had to sit on the 50 yard line in near 100 degree heat, in her black robe.

Just wondering.

1 comment:

Teacher Mom said...

When I graduated from HS many years ago, the ceremony was held in a church. I recall thinking it felt totally inappropriate and it bothered me. Even though I was raised Christian, I have many Jewish friends...and I know that it was uncomfortable for them to be receiving diplomas next to a huge cross and Jesus depictions everywhere. While there was a similarly sized synagogue in the neighborhood, no one approached the rabbi about having the ceremony there. Hum.

I get this decision and think that it showed sensitivity to religious minorities. Definitely, comfort is important for a long ceremony, but there must be some sort of place to go that is not a church. Plus, it is not very hot in CT in June. I'm in an adjoining state and it is not like being in the South in June (where you def need AC).