U.S. District Judge Janet Hall has granted the ACLU’s motion to block Enfield’s June 23rd-24th graduation ceremonies from taking place at First Cathedral, saying it would violate the First Amendment. Enfield’s attorneys will seek an expedited appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York.

Judge Hall wrote that graduation at First Cathedral would constitute an “endorsement” of religion, defined by a previous case as “sending a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.”

In fact, it was Judge Hall who just conveyed that message with her ruling–that FIC and First Cathedral are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and that the despisers of religion are insiders, favored members of the political community.

Judge Hall “assumes” (her word) that Peter Wolfgang–who is not a party to this case–believes that not holding (emphasis is hers) graduation ceremonies at First Cathedral is itself a violation of the First Amendment.

In fact, as ACLJ attorney Vince McCarthy told Channel 3, Peter was simply saying that holding a public graduation ceremony in a church building is not an endorsement of religion and, therefore, does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Put another way, the First Amendment requires that churches be treated equal to other organizations in the public square.

Watch for more information on Enfield’s appeal of Judge Hall’s ruling.

Please click here to donate to the Family Institute of Connecticut!

3 Responses to “Judge Blocks Graduations! Enfield to Appeal!”

  1. on 02 Jun 2010 at 9:57 amMark Benford

    “Put another way, the First Amendment requires that churches be treated equal to other organizations in the public square.”

    This is a ridiculous and self serving argument. The First Amendment clearly holds religious organizations in a special category where greater care must be made to neither promote nor disadvantage any given organization. By financially supporting First Cathedral, even if only because it has gotten large enough to build a public space, whether intentionally or not, Enfield BOE is sending a message that this religious organization is better than others.

    First Cathedral should be commended for being successful enough to afford to build this large space, but it should not be used by any government financed events.

    Separation of Church and State protects both churches and the state.

    Judge Hall made the right decision.

  2. on 07 Jun 2010 at 1:36 pmBea

    A graduation is hardly a government event! Holding a graduation for a couple of hours is not protecting what? Anyone is free to leave if they want, Mark. We are taking this a little too far. It was not in the original Constitution. As a matter of fact, we have been given our rights by our Creator! You can ignore this if you want, but the majority of people are not offended by a church of a different religion then their own and using it for a secular celebration.

  3. on 07 Jun 2010 at 3:43 pmTricia

    Mr. Benford (and others) might do well to read some history, before making their broad statements and proclamations as to what is a proper interpretation of judicial rulings and the First Amendment.

    I wonder if he is aware that President Thomas Jefferson invited church ministers and preachers to hold meetings in the public buildings, paid for by the taxpayers, in Washington D.C.

    Would Mr. Benford argue that Jefferson was “establishing religion” by those actions?

Leave a Reply