Nine students sued the school district in New Berlin because the high school holds its graduation ceremonies in a local church. Those who argue for the church use justify it by saying that the school doesn't have facilities that can be used by the students for such a public event. Opponents of the practice note that students receive their diplomas under a huge cross. One commenter stated, "stop and think about how it would feel if their high school graduation ceremonies were held in a Jewish temple or Muslim mosque, where diplomas were handed out beneath a looming Star of David or Islamic crescent." By the way, follow this link to the article.
Alicia and I discussed what we would do about this scenario yesterday and I'll spare you our contingency plan for the time being because I want to focus on a broader picture. The issue is public establishment of religion, which is what the school district is being sued for. That is a violation of the First Amendment.
I can't tell you how many debates I've been embroiled in because of the nightly prayer underway, or invocations before retirement ceremonies or half a dozen other public displays of religion in the US Navy. Religion has a very good hold traditionally in he Navy at least and doesn't seem ready to exit the scene. Obviously, not all of that is evangelical in nature, but it usually is when I am a part of it. Also, the sheer realization that the government pays the salary of preachers (chaplains) really upsets some folks. They often bring up the establishment clause of the Constitution and ask me to justify the government funding. I don't get too involved int he argument, by the way. They are arguing with the wrong guy about that. They need to go much higher up the food chain.
Will the case pending in the Supreme Court have any effect on my ability to have a prayer ceremony before my commissioning in December? I doubt it, but it is an issue to watch. I expect that, someday, chaplains will be much more regulated, and when they are, it will be up to regular Sailors to carry out the daily religious (evangelical in my case) work on ships and shore bases. Churches must prepare to support, just like you support missionaries overseas, and Sailors must prepare to be their own chaplains. It's only a matter of time...