AHA News |  

Christian University's Chapel Used for Public School Graduation in South Carolina

American Humanist Association’s Legal Center Acts on Behalf of Parents, Calling for End to Sectarian Events

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brian Magee, bmagee@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 x 105
William Burgess, bburgess@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 x 102

(Washington, DC, June 11, 2013) — The American Humanist Association has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a South Carolina public elementary school that held its recent graduation ceremony in a chapel on the campus of a Christian university. The letter explained that this ceremony, which also included two prayers, is a violation of the separation of church and state.

After receiving a complaint from the parents of one of the school’s graduating 5th grade students, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center yesterday sent a letter to the superintendent and principal of Mountain View Elementary School in Taylors, South Carolina, objecting to the unconstitutional nature of the ceremony. The letter warns of a possible lawsuit if the school continues to hold events of a sectarian nature or in a sectarian venue.

The graduation was held on May 30, 2013 at North Greenville University. The official schedule of events called for prayers on two separate occasions as part of the ceremony, which took place in a large Christian worship space, adorned with crosses, stained glass and other religious elements. The university’s logo includes the phrase “Christ Makes the Difference.”

“It has been made clear by the federal courts that events such as these violate the constitutional principle of separation of church and state,” said Monica Miller, an attorney and legal consultant with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “When a public school sponsors an event, it is the administration’s responsibility to ensure separation of church and state is maintained.”

The letter sent to Superintendent W. Burke Royster and Principal Jennifer Gibson can be found here.

The family who brought the complaint has decided for the time being to remain anonymous.

###

The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington D.C., its work is extended through more than 160 local chapters and affiliates across the United States. Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms a responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

American Humanist Association

Christianity and Humanism compared. . .

16 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday everyone!!! More comics at: http://hmn.st/1wOZhEE

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

On June 19, 2014, Amanda Scott testified before the Mobile, Alabama, County Com...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

This is a 5-minute video of students and parents gathered on the football field...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Caption this photo taken at the 2014 World Humanist Congress in Oxford, England...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

This video shows how some religious people react to homosexuality. When you put...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

The newest issue of the Humanist Magazine is out! Take a look! Clay Farris Naff...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Jackson Public School District has agreed to cease including religious activ...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Dave Niose, Legal Director of the AHLC, has been featured on CBS46 in Atlanta, G...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Humanist Hour Podcast #113 out now! Jeremy Chappell talks about the “spiritu...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

This morning, the American Humanist Association issued a press release regarding...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why are some of the poorest regions in America also the most religious? A new st...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Listen up D.C., Maryland, and Virginia Humanists! Want to meet local free-thinke...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

While vandalism may not be the technique I would use to express my views, some...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

In his new Huffington Post article, Roy Speckhardt discusses prejudice and the k...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Sonja Eggerickx, president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

We just got a nice donation from the AmazonSmile Foundation thanks to people lik...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association stands up for the rights of teachers of minori...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA Legislative Associate Matthew Bulger responds to some recent comments by U.S...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

We need more nontheistic politicians in the United States!

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday!! Here is a wonderful poem from Dan Moran. Check It Out!

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Well, I am not so sure how common this dilemma is, but it is interesting anyway!

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hooray! Florida's same-sex marriage ban struck down! Check it out! http://hmn.s...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

New evidence supporting the theory of evolution has been found in parasite ants...

9 days ago