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

Happy Friday Everyone! Find more humor at: http://goo.gl/vMqskv

16 hours ago

American Humanist Association

This is a great info-graphic explaining the nature of morality. For more inform...

17 hours ago

American Humanist Association

AHA's Merrill Miller will be at the 2014 Religion Newswriters Association Confer...

21 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Apparently it is impossible to fly an airplane without believing in God. Do you...

23 hours ago

American Humanist Association

We're looking for a web developer to implement design improvements to our Darwin...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who will be at Apostacon this weekend? From Friday the 19th to Sunday the 21st,...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association joined with 35 groups recently in supporting R...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Fox News and The Kelly File cover the United States Air Force's decision to reve...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

VICTORY! In response to the demand of the AHA, with help from the Military Asso...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

What do kids say about God? Some in this group say he creates apples, is kinda l...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The battle continues for Texas atheist group, the Metroplex Atheists Rowlett. Th...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Satanic Temple decides to join in the fun when a Florida judge ruled in favo...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

The behavior of Ray Rice is not just one single occurrence that needs to be reme...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

What is your opinion on using crowd-funding to raise money for an abortion? Ge...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Is America's Army becoming God's Army? From bible distribution to requiring the...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Monica Miller, attorney for AHA's Appignani Humanist Legal Center, appeared live...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Communications Associate, Merrill Miller, reports on the variety of reactions we...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Already, many students have taken a stand by sitting out the Pledge of Allegianc...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller had harsh words for the AHA this week in covering...

7 days ago