Antonin Scalia

Scalia: Holding Public School Graduations in Church May Offend Some, But So Does 'the Playing in Public of Rock Music'


Credit: C-Span

The U.S. Supreme Court declined yesterday to take up the case of Elmbrook School District v. John Doe. At issue was a Milwaukee public school district's practice of holding high school graduation ceremonies in a local church. According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, that decision violated the First Amendment's stricture against the establishment of religion. "An unacceptable amount of religious endorsement and coercion occurred when the District held important civil ceremonies in the proselytizing environment of Elmbrook Church," the 7th Circuit ruled. Because the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the district's appeal, that decision by the 7th Circuit will stand.

There was, however, a dissent. Although the Supreme Court denies most cases without comment, Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, took the rare step in this case of filing a written opinion dissenting from the Court's denial. In it, Scalia made clear his sympathies were on the side of the school district and that he saw little evidence of a constitutional violation. "Some there are—many, perhaps—who are offended by public displays of religion," Scalia wrote. "I can understand that attitude: It parallels my own toward the playing in public of rock music or Stravinsky." But, he declared, "my own aversion cannot be imposed by law because of the First Amendment."

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  1. That is because a church is a building. If a local church is the best building available to have it, why not? If they are running a mass and expecting everyone to participate, that is a problem. But I think everyone’s delicate feelings can survive stepping into a church. If you don’t believe in the religion, it is just a building. So what do you care what it is used for otherwise?

    1. You might want to read the Appeals Court’s opinion. The question of “best” available is an important part of the argument. There were in fact other facilities available.

      1. Says the court. Maybe the school board disagreed. Unless you can show me their decision was irrational, the court has no business deciding what is the “best facility”. The board gets deference on that.

        1. Unless you can show me their decision was irrational

          Even beyond that… I couldn’t care less if the school board was irrational. Unless they are trying to establish a school religion or suppress the free exercise of their students’ religions, then I couldn’t care less.

        2. Oh for the love of mother theresa’s tampons. For time immemorial, since before the beginning of the Republic, this is exactly the type of disagreement where it is in fact the business of the courts to decide. A school board, paid for by taxpayers under the threat of government coercion, is not some magical institution free from scrutiny and accountability. Who knows what Zeus would have decided? But it is definitely a question that the court system could, should and did decide. If this magical school board of yours wants to have ceremonies in a church, let it privatize itself and give up using threats of violence to fund its deference.

          1. They have lots of accountability. They are called elections. And you clearly don’t know much about history if you think every decision they make is subject to de novo judicial review or that they haven’t been churches haven’t doubled as sites for state functions since the country was founded.

            Sorry, but smug is not a substitute for an argument.

    2. If you look at the original case, the ceremony wasn’t just “in a church” the members of the church were using the ceremony to proselytize to both the students and the audience members.

      1. So kids and parents went to a ceremony which was not religious in nature, and a couple of third parties talked to some of the kids about Jesus? The horror.

        1. Okay, so in 2016 lets hold all the election polling at democrat party headquarters and have people milling about telling their kids how only evil people don’t vote for democrats. I mean it’s just a building, right? So a couple of third parties talked to some kids about Democrats. The horror.

          1. Except that is a direct violation of election law.

          2. In most public schools that is known as Wednesday. Beyond that, it is a free country. Who cares what the members of the church were doing. That is their right. I know you hate the idea that anyone you don’t like having free speech, but until we get that dictatorship of the proletariat you seem to want so bad, that is just the way things are.

      2. As someone who went to school in this district, and who attended multiple graduation ceremonies at said church, I can tell you the only proselytization was by a few of the graduating students… also there was a giant cross that couldn’t be taken down.

  2. Too bad there was nothing in the First Amendment separating school and state.

    1. Or a lot of things & state?…..gious.html . That really is the problem with church-state cases: not the church stuff, the other stuff. A country could even have a church established to the degree of, say, the Church of England, but if the other stuff (schools, etc.) were disestablished, the intrusion by the church would be minimal, so that only the most fanatic would be offended.

      I’d settle for having the gov’t schools established to only the same degree as the Church of England, i.e. a proportional level of funding, and no compulsory attendance to either the established school or its equivalent.

  3. My voting place is in a *Protestant* meeting house – I’m offended!

  4. I can, and have, left a restaurant where the music was too loud or inappropriate. Were I one to object to going inside a church, in general or because it wasn’t “my” denomination, I would be upset to have to miss graduation because a secular venue was not available.
    While there are certainly too many easily offended people in this world, Scalia too cavalierly dismisses the difference between the music played in the elevator in a government building and receiving one’s diploma with Jesus on the Cross looking over one’s shoulder.

    1. You object to the beliefs and practices. What does the building have to do with it?

      Suppose you are some inner city school and you have lousy facilities and the only place to hold the graduation is some rundown gym without air conditioning or decent parking. So a local church offers their big nice facility with AC and plenty of parking. Sounds great until the local atheist gadfly sues.

      And you guys wonder why people dislike atheists so much. If you are so thin skinned you can’t walk into a building because people you don’t like own it, you are an asshole.

      1. Hypothetical nonsense ain’t an argument. Scan the goddamned opinion, please. Or has gawd revealed the truth to you alone, again.

        1. It only seems like not an argument because you are too stupid to understand it. If the rule is that you can’t hold graduation ceremonies in churches, then you can’t do it even if a church is a better option. The fact that there were other facilities available in this case isn’t really the key point.

          You might try understanding how to read an opinion some time. Either having it in a church violates separation of church and state or it doesn’t. If it does, “our gym wasn’t as nice” isn’t going to change that or make it allowable.

        2. Not hypothetical at all. And the school stopped holding the ceremonies there in 2009.

          Seeking a better alternative, the student officers decided upon the Church, which was much larger than the gymnasium and had more comfortable seats, air conditioning and ample free parking.

          From the opinion.

      2. Sounds great until the local atheist gadfly sues.

        Anti-religionists give atheists a bad name.

      3. “You object to the beliefs and practices. What does the building have to do with it?”

        I don’t know – as an atheist, I’m always curious and love going into church buildings (just visited the beautiful Air Force Academy chapel). But I do know orthodox Jews who won’t enter a Christian church for any reason, even to attend their boss’s daughter’s wedding. I don’t understand religious intolerance, and I’m sure many atheists don’t easier, but it is out there.

        1. Maybe they don’t. I had brutalist buildings. I don’t like going into them. Since when does “I don’t feel comfortable” or “I don’t like this” make it a Constitutional right? The Constitution says “no state religion” not “no state function can be held in a building that makes someone uncomfortable”.

          1. I agree about the Constitution, but I would think that in this particular context – a ceremony which *all* the kids should be able to enjoy – it wouldn’t hurt to take into account, if practical, the views (or “irrational prejudices”) of those whose enjoyment would be impaired by a particular venue.

            In an occasion where pleasing the kids and their parents is actually a key objective, it’s OK to be a bit more sensitive to people’s feelings.

            1. And it’s not like “religion” doesn’t get special treatment in this country.

              1. That would depend on the religion – specifically, a religion which is in line with the government gets respected, while a religion which dissents from the government risks major hassles.

                But my point was about going out one’s way (never mind the courts) to make graduation a pleasant experience for everyone. You can’t avoid considering people’s feelings in that context, it shouldn’t be a matter of constitutional law, though.

            2. This should be a consideration *independent* of the risk of getting sued.

            3. So we should all sweat in a lousy building so some superstitious idiot can avoid going in a building they don’t like? It is a building for God’s sake.

              1. No, I said “take into account.” Sometimes you can’t avoid making some people uncomfortable, so you take your choice. If you can’t please everyone, so be it, make a decision. But yes, the enjoyment of all students should be a *factor* and you should look at how the defects of the gym weigh against the defects of other venues.

                And the “sweat in a lousy building” scenario goes to the personal enjoyment and feelings of the students and parents, which underlines my point about the purpose of such ceremonies.

                1. I think anyone who is uncomfortable being in a church or a mosque or a Jewish Temple for a secular ceremony is a superstitious idiot. It is just a form of animism. What makes you uncomfortable are the beliefs and practices. The building is just a building. Unless there is a service going on there, what is there to be uncomfortable about?

                  1. Stipukate that they *shouldnt* be offended, but if despite this they *are* offended, what’s wrong abiut trying to accomodate them if practicable? Like I said, subjective feelings count in this context.

                  2. My church meets in a 7th day adventist church. They dont need it on Sunday, so its a win-win. I have no problem being in it, despite having severe disagreements with what 7DAs believe. There beliefs dont somehow infect our services.

                  3. Wait – what?? You, the resident head cheerleader in faith of the HyR commentariat, fail to see the irony of calling anyone superstitious?? That’s rich!

                    superstitious: I do not think that word thinks what you think it means.

                    1. Pi Guy,

                      If you think believing in God is the only way someone can be superstitious, the word doesn’t quite mean what you think it does. But here is a hint, thinking that an inanimate objects like buildings have special significance such that you cannot enter them, meets the criteria.

                      It really astounds me how dumb most atheists are. They don’t even understand their own beliefs.

                    2. John,

                      Again, out of one side of your mouth you assert what assholes atheists are but, out of the other, you don’t see the how vindictive and offensive your statements are towards others.

                      And I’m not afraid to enter churches or any other religious place. I have not taken a position on the venue at all, John. I was simply noting how frothy-at-the-mouth you get whenever this sort of topic comes up.

                      However, I do know that being superstitious is the belief in the supernatural events and enitites. Now, you might argue that god is in every way natural and, since one cannot prove a negative, we haven’t the grounds on which to debate that. But, at the very least, I’d think you, of all people, should be careful about how you use that word.

                      No one here’s denying you your right to believe and practice your faith in whatever way you deem necessary and meaningful. Proselytize all you wish but please, John, ease up on the spittle-flecked invectives. You’re making it more difficult to like religious people.

              2. It is a building for God’s sake.

                Yes, that’s the problem (according to some courts).

                1. *slow clap*

      4. Lots of religious people are thin-skinned, too.

        1. And atheists on here take great delight in going after them over examples of when they are. Here we have a case of atheists being intolerant thin skinned assholes. They should be condemned just like theists are when they act like this.

          If atheists don’t like it, too fucking bad.

          1. You have acknowledged that not all atheists are anti-religionists, yet you continue to insult atheists by attributing the actions of anti-religionists to atheists. Must be a socon thing.

            1. See the related article above, “The Least-Liked Minority Group? Atheists.”

              1. Methinks this article shows exactly why atheists are so little-liked. All respect to yourself and sarc (who don’t seem to fit the MO), atheists are rarely heard of doing things like feeding the poor or any number of things that balance out the negative portrayals of most religious groups; they’re always in the public eye for either being thin-skinned assholes, outright oppressing religious folks, or conjuring up awful and inhumane utopias that hurt people in the here and now (e.g., Communism). Is that fair to your average atheist libertarian? No, but you have to admit that libertarians are a small subset of atheists around the world.

                1. I don’t consider collectivists to be atheists. They may call themselves atheists, but they’ve got religion alright. It’s called statism.

                2. always in the public eye

                  The loudest of any group tend to assholes.

                  My only gripe here is certain people dumping on atheists for an objection that is exactly – if not more – likely to be raised by religionists of a different persuasion than the building in question.

                3. Im Trou:
                  You lumping together of all atheist – except for the two you know – is no different than judging all urban youth on the basis of the actions of a couple of gang bangers. Simply put: you’re so fucking wrong.

                  Are some atheists pathetic, selfish, arrogant losers? Of course. But what is really evident, when you and John start going all apeshit on atheists en masse, is that adjectives like “oppressive,” “conjuring…inhumane utopias,” and “thin-skinned assholes,” is that those also clearly describe at least two people who profess to be above those sorts of thing precisely because of their faith.

                  I believe the word is projection.

            2. Then don’t look. And I am not a SOCON, you half wit. That being said, people insult religion all of the time on here. Yet, no one whines more when people kick around atheism than atheists.

              As far as I know there are no sacred cows on here. I will continue to insult and ridicule atheists and atheism just like they do religion. If you can’t take that, find a nicer board because this one has never billed itself as being very nice.

              1. I will continue to insult and ridicule atheists and atheism just like they do religion.

                You’ve already acknowledged that not all atheists are anti-religionists. The fact that you continue to conflate the two tells me that you are a dishonest socon.

                1. Sure. Not all theists are snake handlers either. But so what? That doesn’t make the snake handlers less worthy of scorn. If the criticisms here don’t apply to you, then don’t worry about them.

                  1. You argue that all atheists are anti-religionists because some are. It is the logical equivalent to arguing that all Christians are snake handlers because some are. If you don’t like my pointing out the logical flaws in your arguments, then quit making logically flawed arguments.

                    1. You argue that all atheists are anti-religionists because some are.

                      Ive never seen John argue that.

                      He says enough stupid stuff without having to make stuff up.

                    2. Ive never seen John argue that.

                      He most certainly implied it.

                    3. I never said that at all. You just think I did because you are thin skinned. Again, if the criticism doesn’t apply to you, don’t worry about it.

                      I never whine about Bo posting he five daily “stupid Christian” links. Why? Because I don’t care and I generally agree with him that the people in the links are stupid.

                    4. I get it. You understand the distinction between anti-religionists and atheists, but you are going to continue to use the term atheist to describe anyone who is hostile to religion. You’re intellectually dishonest. I just wanted to be clear. That’s all. I’m not insulted or butthurt or anything like that. I was just trying to be intellectually honest. Excuse the fuck out of me for pointing out your intellectual dishonesty, butthurt boy.

                    5. I do understand the difference. You are the one that thinks that this reflects on you. Not me.

                    6. Do you talk about lawyers as being unethical pieces of shit?

                      Do you talk about Mexicans as being lazy?

                      Do you talk about Blacks as being thieves?


                      Then why do you portray atheists as being hostile to religion?

                      If you know the stereotype is false, why do you perpetuate it?

                    7. Oh my, the pedantry. I’m pretty sure we’re all smart enough here to understand that when people use “atheist” as a shortcut for “anti-religionist,” nobody is impugning all atheists.

                      Just like when evangelical is used as a slur, fundie is used as a slur, or christian is used as a slur.

                      Can we end this page long pissing contest now? Shreek is starting to wonder whether the warm yellow liquid is really rain.

                    8. Sarcasmic, didn’t you spend an entire thread yesterday talking about how all lawyers are sleazy and unethical? You remember, the Hillary Clinton link?

                      You make those sorts of generalizations all of the time.

                    9. Sarcasmic, didn’t you spend an entire thread yesterday talking about how all lawyers are sleazy and unethical? You remember, the Hillary Clinton link?

                      Um, no. I made a single solitary joke.


                      In case you haven’t figured it out yet, lots of exclamation points usually mean I’m being sarcastic.

                  2. All christians are angry, frightened, potty-mouthed, superstitious assholes.

                    If the criticisms here don’t apply to you then don’t worry about them.

                    1. I wish I’d placed this disclosure in the “All christians…” comment but please note that I do not, in any way, think this of any collective of people.

                      I was just trying to make a point to John. For all the good it will do *sigh*

              2. And a thin-skinned one a that.

  5. By all means we can’t have an organized ceremony where people put on gowns and special hats – to have a congregational orgy about having gotten smarter (supposedly) – in a church. That would be silly.

    As an atheist, I have worries about theocracy, but then I have just as much worry from Atheists (with a capital A). I understand the separation of Church and State is to allow for a plurality of beliefs. But too many Atheists (with a capital A) are socialists who want the State to invade every aspect of life and stamp out religion when they run up against it. I’d much rather have a graduation ceremony in a church facility because it was practical than pull the other end of the rope for StAtheists whose church is the State and are out “bug huntin'” like Spanky with his hammer…

    1. Since those gowns and silly hats are derived from medieval clerical garb, I would think atheists should be objecting to them as well.

      1. At least you saw the parallel I was making. The whole process of a graduation ceremony has a solemnity to it that goes under the radar. People want to turn out to an event riddled with pomp and circumstance but it had better not be anywhere near a church. That’s the part that’s silly.

        I don’t have a problem with ceremonies or churches so long as they are voluntary and no one involved tries to hi-jack the State based on whatever illusions they need to get themselves through their lives.

        For what it’s worth I went to my high school graduation because you’re pretty much roped into going and just went with the flow. When I graduated college, I was too busy to attend and I didn’t feel the need to adjust my schedule. Overall, iconoclastic on the whole process. Lucky I now live in an age when kids graduate about once a month from one level to another. The tendency toward ritualism never dies.

  6. Imagine if a public high school announced they were holding graduation in a mosque. The same people saying “a church is just a building” today would be having a nationwide freak out about “OMG, SHARONA LERZZZZZ!!!”

    1. And it would be just as stupid. If you are an atheist, a building is a building. If you are a Christian, refer to 1 Corinthians 8. Either way, get the fuck over yourself.

    2. Anyone who cared would be an asshole. Moreover, wouldn’t the people who object to this equally object to that?

      So exactly what is your point here other than to try and change the subject?

      1. So you’re saying you would object to holding the graduation in a mosque?

        1. No. I am saying the opposite. Why would you think I am saying that? Which part of “anyone who cared would be an asshole” do you not understand?

          1. I know what you are saying. But you’re a dishonest socon, so it doesn’t matter what you say.

            1. What evidence do you have I am a SOCON? Would it be my commitment to legalized drugs, prostitution and pornography? Is that what makes me a SOCON? Is it my contention that people should have absolute privacy in their own homes such that mere possession of any material in the home, including child pornography should be legal? Is that what makes me a SOCON?

              Am I a SOCON or are you just a jerk who thinks anyone who isn’t an atheist must meet your prejudice? I am thinking maybe the latter.

              1. You said your wife is a Christian. How do you feel about having rattlesnakes in the house? Being that all Christians are snake handlers and all of that.

                1. Do you even have a point sarcasmic? Is there anything you have to say beyond that you are butt hurt because someone is kicking around atheists? Again, if you can’t take your beliefs being kicked around, go find a nicer board because this board is not and never has been that.

                  1. Again, if you can’t take your beliefs being kicked around, go find a nicer board because this board is not and never has been that.

                    Atheism is not a belief, but rather a lack thereof. Shows how little you understand about things you lecture about.

                    And I’m not the one who’s butthurt here. That would be you.

                    1. For someone who is not butthurt, you sure are doing a good job of fooling everyone.

                      And Atheism is the belief that there is not a God. If you are not sure and have no opinion on the matter, you are an agnostic. And again, if you are not anti-religious, good for you and you have no reason to whine when someone kicks around those who are.

                    2. And Atheism is the belief that there is not a God.

                      That’s like Tony saying liberty is something to be forced upon society. Liberty is an absence of force.

                      A lack of belief is not a belief. Just as silence is not sound, darkness is not light, and vacuum is not mass.

                    3. Aren’t you describing agnosticism? Agnosticism is the lack of a belief. Atheism is a worldview which contains no deity. You don’t have to believe in a deity to have a belief.

                    4. Agnosticism is the lack of a belief.

                      Not quite. Agnostics believe that whether or not there is a deity is not known and is likely unknowable. It’s only recently that people have come to use it to indicate indifference.

                    5. Agnostics believe that whether or not there is a deity is not known and is likely unknowable.

                      True, but this is as close to a lack of a belief as you can get with a universally recognizable term. I’m sure there’s some term out there that better describes “I dunno and I don’t care,” but I don’t care enough to look it up.

                    6. I think they show up as “unaffiliated non-religious” on the Pew Research American Religious Landscape.

                      Maybe Unitarian Universalist?

                    7. No, the UUs worship the State.

                    8. Sarcasmic, belief in a negative is a belief. Just stop it. Once you start yelling Tony, it just gets embarrassing and kind of uncomfortable. I like laughing at Shreek and Stormy Dragon. But you are not normally like this.

                    9. Once you start yelling Tony, it just gets embarrassing and kind of uncomfortable. Once you start yelling Tony, it just gets embarrassing and kind of uncomfortable.

                      When you stop making arguments that are logically equivalent to his then I’ll quit pointing them out.

                    10. Atheism is a belief in exactly the same way that bald is a hair color.

                    11. Atheism is a belief in exactly the same way that bald is a hair color.

                      Yep. Just as the Tonys of the world can’t understand the concept of liberty because all they know is force, John can’t understand atheism because all he knows is faith.

                    12. theism is a belief in exactly the same way that bald is a hair color style.


                      The null hypothesis is still a hypothesis.

                    13. Atheism*

              2. It’s the cocktail parties you go to, or don’t.

                I wonder whether Moslems can count as so-cons, or believers in the old time religion of Odinism.

            2. Orange Tony

              1. Orange Tony


          2. He seems pretty off today.

        2. Dunno.. would I still have to take my shoes off?

  7. the proselytizing environment

    So now the “environment” can preach? How does that work, exactly?

    More animism, this time from a federal judge.

  8. I voted at a church for years.

    I fail to see the difference.

    1. It was a Catholic Church too. **shudder**

      1. Notorious G.K.C.|6.17.14 @ 10:49AM

        My voting place is in a *Protestant* meeting house – I’m offended!

        I like that you guys both went for an interdenominational ribbing from opposite sides.

        1. Yeah, I failed to notice his until after mine. We both went for the asterisk quotes too.

          The point still stands…how is a voting place any different constitutionally?

          1. It’s not.

          2. My last polling place was a hotel room, but the two before that were a Presbyterian and a Greek Orthodox church. Frankly the churches were both considerably more convenient and it was gracious of them to allow the county use of the space.

            I’m with EvH as far as the school should choose as neutral a site as is practical, but this all seems like a lot of energy spent on what is essentially a non-issue.

  9. I would be upset to have to miss graduation because a secular venue was not available.

    Where’s my right to be free from emotional discomfort?

  10. There is no constitutional issue at play. In colonial times, virtually every major event was made known at either the local tavern or the church (or both). A high school graduation being held in a church would have been completely unremarkable and in keeping with the 1st Amendment. The problem is that the 1st has been expunged of its original pluralistic meaning and instead a “secular” stranglehold over the Amendment’s interpretation has taken hold. Scalia is 100% correct, and if we are to expand the 1st to include quotidian aspects of life which do not imperil conscience then there are plenty of secular locations which should also be nixed should I or anyone else find them inappropriate for whatever reason.

  11. BTW, did anyone see the full name of the case? “Elmbrook School District v. John Doe 3, a minor by Doe 3’s Next Best Friend Doe 2, et al.”

    Am I correctly reading that one of the defendants is the bastard kid of John Doe 3 and John Doe 2? Should said bastard be allowed to be party to the suit when their parent John Doe 2 apparently didn’t have an issue? Shouldn’t one of them be a Jane Doe? What happened to John Doe 1? What does John Doe 3’s fully best friend think about all of this?

    1. Am I correctly reading that one of the defendants is the bastard kid of John Doe 3 and John Doe 2?

      “You know nothing, John Doe”

    2. More on the Does:

      The plaintiffs are current and former students of District schools and their parents. Doe 1 graduated from either Central or East in 2009. Doe 2 is Doe 1’s parent and has an older child whose graduation ceremony was held in the Church four years earlier, as well as younger children who attend Elmbrook schools. One of Doe 2’s younger children is Doe 3, who “will graduate from a District high school no later than 2014.” Does 1 through 3 all attended the graduation ceremonies of Doe 1 and of Doe 2’s older child. Does 4 and 9 are the parents of children currently attending schools in the district; their eldest children are expected to graduate from high school in 2016 and 2015, respectively. “Does 5 and 6 are the parents of Does 7 and 8, who graduated from a District high school in ceremonies held at Elmbrook Church in 2002 and 2005, respectively.” Does 2, 4, 5 and 6 also pay property taxes that go to the District.

      1. Why would anyone need to file this lawsuit anonymously?

        1. Because they realize people are going to think they’re dicks?

        2. 1.) Because there’s minors involved.
          2.) Because of risk of retaliation by the school district toward the filing parties.

  12. I don’t think that the choice of a church as a venue in itself violates the Constitution, but I would sympathize if, in deference to any highly sensitive non-Christians, they avoided a church building. Graduation is a special time for the students, and if there are students who, whether we agree with them or not, would be offended by a church, then why not look for a site which offends as few as possible? This principle can be taken to extremes, but in the context of a graduation enjoyable by all, then yes, taking into account the potential for offense is a good idea.

    1. Yeah, but that’s the difference between the court deciding it and the school deciding it.

  13. Will they make me take my shoes off? I will not be subjected to that sort of gogglebox shamanism, I say!

    1. No they will make sure that snakes are properly in their cages so you won’t have to handle them. But there is only so much they can do to allay the fears of irrational idiots. So, you being such, will just have to do your best.

  14. Maybe the atheists could temporarily desanctify the church grounds so it would be acceptable. Some readings from An Origin of Species, etch some calculus equations on the floor, etc…

    1. Calculus? Newton was a religious nut.

      1. If you consider alchemy a religion, of course.

      2. As was Leibnitz.

        So nutty that both were also considered heretics.

  15. When is Scalia going to give his opinion on alt-text?

  16. The local porn shop should host it next year.
    “Oh your delicate sensibilities? It’s a rubber dong, it can’t hurt you! Watch the stupid graduation!”

    Pretty sure Scalia would have a different opinion.

    1. He wouldn’t. Would he like it? No. Would he think it was unconstitutional such that someone could sue and stop it? I don’t see how.

      1. I think there are laws to prevent people under 18 going into porno shops. The government has already placed limits on who the owner can invite into their property. Why? I’m guessing for “moral” reasons.

        1. That would be a question of state law. State law probably prevents them from having it in a bar as well. But that fact has nothing to do with the Constitutional. So I don’t see how Scalia would be in anyway hypocritical if he said that yes the constitution does not prevent it from being held in a church, but valid state law regarding minors and porn prevents it from being held in a porn shop.

          Again, you are not making much of a point here other than porn shops are not churches.

    2. Pretty sure Scalia would not. (That is, he would say that he might not like holding the graduation that, but that’s up to the school authorities to decide, not a matter of constitutional law.)

      You make the mistake of thinking that Scalia (like you?) believes that “unconstitutional” is a synonym for “something very bad that legislators and administrators shouldn’t even be considering.”

      1. That’s not a mistake. I point to Scalia’s acrobatics in Gonzales v. Raich on why everything he wrote in Lopez and Morrison suddenly didn’t apply because drugs are bad, mkay?

        1. Drugs are bad. That is right up there with “I hate Scalia so I just know he would do this” as an argument.

  17. It’s going to be so awesome when the first mosque hosts a public school graduation.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has already happened. If and when it does, I would very surprised if anyone sues. The separation of church and state types seem to get awfully quiet when it comes to fucking with Muslims. Funny that.

      1. If and when it does, I would very surprised if anyone sues.

        Then you’re a fucking idiot.

        1. And you are the dumbest person who posts on here not named shreek. In fact you are kind of worse. Shreek at least admits he is a leftist. You deny it and concern troll.

      2. Funny that.

        Because nobody has ever sued to stop a Mosque from being built in say….Murfreesboro or New York City?

        1. Funnier still: Elmbrook (the district in the article) tried to stop a Mosque from being build in its district a few years back. No idea the outcome though!

        2. Because nobody has ever sued to stop a Mosque from being built in say….Murfreesboro or New York City?

          To be fair, John was specifically talking about the uber-secularists if you even mention the 10 Commandments outside of your house you deserve to be hanged types; whereas, the Ground Zero Mosque opposition was mostly by their mirror opposites, the “Christian America” types.

          1. Fair enough. I was thinking more the context of Stormy’s comment above that that as soon as there’s a graduation held in a mosque, some subset of the people who think graduation in a church isn’t a big deal will think that a graduation in a mosque is terrible.

        3. Disputes over zoning are not the same as disputes over establishment.

      3. Well here’s the funny thing, many observant Muslims believe that it is sinful to enter a church for any reason (basically due to Islam’s iconoclasm). There has already been a case where a Muslim student sued a public school district because they held graduation at a church. One might say “too bad,” but how do you reconcile that with the fact that the Shareef family paid 12 years of taxes supporting that school and now their son cannot participate in a school-sponsored event that is funded, in part, by their taxes?

        Live by the public sword, die by the public sword.

        1. I believe that it’s sinful to enter a public school for any reason. I believe that it’s sinful to be forced to pay taxes for such schools.

          There will always be dissenters, and you can’t please everybody.

          That’s why Libertarianism does the most good for the most people. But until we reach libertopia, we have to deal with this kind of nonsense.

        2. That is actually a much better question. But that is sightly different issue. I would say the Muslim kid should win. I say that because that case seems to me to involve free exercise not establishment. I don’t see how the government can force him to act against his religious belief. If it really is his belief that it is a sin to enter a church, then I don’t see how the state can consistent with the first amendment force him to do so to go to the graduation ceremony.

          But that is a slightly different issue than this one. That case would not be saying “no graduation can be held in a church”. It would be saying “no graduation can be held in a church if one of the students can show entering a church violates his religious beliefs.” That is a slightly different point.

          1. Many students in Elmbrook, including a Jewish friend, argued that entering Elmbrook church violated religious beliefs.

            1. I would be interested to see where in Jewish doctrine it says entering a church is a sin. Your religious objections have to be legitimate and not made up for the sake of your case.

              1. Who the fuck are you to tell other people how legitimate their religious beliefs are?

                1. I am not telling anyone that. I am just telling you how the courts work. And the courts only recognize beliefs that are consistent with established religions not ones you make up to justify your objection. If you don’t like that, take it up with the courts.

                  You really don’t know much about this topic other than you hate theists do you SD? You normally don’t know much about much of anything. But wow on this top you are worse than usual.

                  1. I don’t hate theists. I hate theists who think they deserve to be treated differently from everyone else because their beliefs are somehow more special than everyone else’s.

                    1. I hate theists who think they deserve to be treated differently from everyone else because their beliefs are somehow more special than everyone else’s.

                      Me too, but I don’t limit it to theists. Anybody rent seeking deserves scorn, whether it be because of belief in a deity, lack of a belief in a deity, or for any of 1000 secular reasons.

                2. Who the fuck are you to tell other people how legitimate their religious beliefs are?

                  Good question. You should ask the military that when they force conscientious objectors to undergo a long and laborious process of hostile questioning to prove just that.

                  1. Seriously, was on of the people last week arguing that people should be allowed to quit the army at will just like any other job.

              2. Why does a legitimate objection have to be tied to doctrines of sin? The church had a huge cross hanging from the ceiling which couldn’t be removed. If I’m of a different faith, surely you can see that I’d have a legitimate objection to such a publicly held ceremony, even if my holy book doesn’t say in its commandments “thou shalt not attend a high school graduation ceremony at a religious location.”

              3. I would be interested to see where in Jewish doctrine it says entering a church is a sin

                Here, but long story short, only the really Orthodox would have a problem with it.

                1. And if the kid is really that Orthodox, then the school may be out of luck. Though I seriously doubt any kid that orthodox would be attending a public school.

                  1. Answer my point above. Why does a legitimate objection have to be tied to textual doctrines of sin?

                    1. Ghetto,

                      It has nothing to do with sin. You just have to show that you follow the religion and that it forbids you from doing this. You just have to show that it is not a subterfuge to legitimize your preferences as a question of religious conscience.

                    2. John, people practice religions in different ways, right? Whether or not “religion” prevents people from doing something is not really relevant. What’s relevant is whether or not the individual practices his/her religion in such a way that hosting the event in a church would harm his/her religious conscience.

                      Even that standard is lacking though, I think. I mean you could get some really out-there types that still would reasonably be expected to conform to federal law even in violation of his/her religious beliefs.

                  2. Great, so now John wants the court sitting in judgment of whether particular Jews are being jewish the right way.

                    But this case has NOTHING to do with establishment.

                    1. Great, so now John wants the court sitting in judgment of whether particular Jews are being jewish the right way.

                      You do realize that John is doing nothing of the sort. He is simply explaining what the status quo is.

                    2. If the courts are going to rule in favor of someone claiming a violation of religious beliefs, there has to be some standard for connecting one’s conscience to their religion. If you want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, then there is no basis for a lawsuit regarding a graduation held in a church.

          2. It would be saying “no graduation can be held in a church if one of the students can show entering a church violates his religious beliefs.” That is a slightly different point.

            Well I think we just identified 9 such students.

            1. Atheists don’t count. Sorry but they don’t. Religious expression gets special treatment under the 1st Amendment.

              Do those 9 students have a legitimate point that even entering the church violates their religion? I don’t know. But if they did, they would have a case I think.

              1. None of the 9 is identified as an atheists. The only ones that are known one way or the other were identified as Jewish.

          3. That case would not be saying “no graduation can be held in a church”. It would be saying “no graduation can be held in a church if one of the students can show entering a church violates his religious beliefs.” That is a slightly different point.

            True, but with the inertia of bureaucracy being what it is, if I were a school administrator, I would just avoid the hassle all together and only choose a public, secular place to hold the graduation.

  18. That’s my school district! Hah! My highschool graduation was the first not to be held in Elmbrook church, nearly a decade ago.

  19. So when I’m at this graduation ceremony at the “just a building church” getting pestered by the “just exercising their first amendment” prostelytzers, am I allowed to go “No, I don’t want to hear about your imaginary friend the babylonian storm god. Now fuck off you fundie bible thumper!” without getting thrown out?

    1. Why not? I think having a nice local quarrel would be a better way to resolve this issue than sending it to some court who has nothing invested in the community. It’s not like you have to attend the stupid graduation ceremony anyway… Nobody is forcing you to go.

      1. Somehow I doubt that the church that refuses to even let curtains be placed in front of the altar for the graduation ceremony is going to handle someone vocally disparaging their religion in the sanctuary.

        1. At the ceremonies I attended there weren’t any church reps there… the community might be a bit upset as I said, but who cares.

        2. Somehow I doubt you know shit about how anyone would act.

        3. If the church is getting a yea or nay on who gets to attend, who doesn’t, who gets thrown out etc… That is a very different issue.

    2. Sure you can. No one is saying you can’t be an asshole. They are just saying you can’t use the force of the law and the gun to be an asshole.

    3. Why not? I’d imagine there are more polite ways to get out of a conversation about Jesus, but I don’t see how that could get you thrown out unless you say it so loudly that it causes a public disturbance.

  20. “It eats the cracker, or it goes on The Rack.”

  21. They could hold the graduation ceremony in a football stadium…NO, wait, people are offended by football as a sport because liberals think football should mean soccer OR because the mascot hurts their widdle feelings.

    Public school offends me more than church, come to think of it.

  22. Churches being a public accommodation, I’m surprised they weren’t mandated to provide their facilities.

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