A group calling itself “Americans United for Separation of Church and State” is threatening to sue the Cherokee County school board.for the offense of using a local church building to hold graduation ceremonies.
The school board rents the spacious, 7,500 seat air-conditioned facility of the First Baptist Church of Woodstock for the comparatively inexpensive rate of $2,000 per commencement.
It’s a bargain to rent such a large venue so inexpensively.
Five different Cherokee County high schools hold graduations there. It offers convenient access, plenty of parking and seating.
School board member Rob Usher said that other venues were much more expensive, and school auditoriums were too small to hold all the family and friends who attend. He added, “It’s a fantastic facility, and the price is awesome!”
Why the lawsuit?
Well, the church has a cross hanging in the sanctuary.
Now, there’s a shocker!
It’s a church. The decor of the building shouldn’t come as a major surprise to anybody.
Without its pastor or the congregation, it’s just a building. There are a couple of problems with this potential lawsuit.
For one thing, this litigation-loving group calling themselves “Americans United” doesn’t have any skin in the game.
Someone complained last year. One person, actually. They notified this group of lobbyists based in Washington, D.C.
These professional bullies don’t personally have children graduating high school in Cherokee County. Frankly, this is none of their business.
Yey they threaten to sue this year to stop graduation from being managed cost effectively, to preserve the easily offended sensibilities of one individual who now has their diploma and probably could care less.
It’s a graduation ceremony. There is no proselytizing of faith. No sermons, just a speech from the valedictorian.
For the record, my son graduated from Sequoyah High School in 2008 and graduation was held at First Baptist Woodstock.
Somehow, we managed to escape being brainwashed. We managed to avoid conversion to the Baptist denomination on that one occasion we attended a school function at that property.
We were there simply to watch our children walk for graduation, not admire the building where they were housed. I honestly can’t remember very much about the place.
It was really big. It was comfortably cool. The church had an electronic marquee facing Hwy 92. That’s about all I can remember. Looking at the pictures doesn’t help; I just remember Matt became sick after graduation. Everyone enjoyed his graduation lunch but him.
We ate lunch at the Macaroni Grill on Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell after Matt received his diploma. No, the food nor the building made him sick. I think it was sinus-related.
Obviously, the church building itself didn’t make a lasting impression on me.
I will agree with the point that verbally delivered religious messages would NOT have been appropriate that day.
For example, condemning Lutheran tolerance for consuming alcohol might have annoyed me while I was sitting there to watch my son.
Obviously the mere mention of God or Jesus do not offend me. I wouldn’t be much of a Christian if they did.
Quite frankly, there could have been a giant screen over the stage displaying non-stop pornography, and I would have paid no attention. My eyes were glued to one face that day. Our youngest child was graduating from high school.
We were there for that reason alone. I was too distracted to get offended by anything or anyone else.
Honestly, I could have cared less if the facility had been a mosque, a synogogue, a Hindu temple or the Civic Center. The sight of the Star of David, a statue of Buddha or a flag with the crescent moon doesn’t offend me under normal circumstances.
This was not a typical day. We had plenty of seats and the place was air conditioned, two critical factors in the comfort of my then 96 year old grandmother and 73 year old mother, up from Savannah to see my son receive his diploma.
I am not thoughtless or cruel. If someone is so grievously offended at the very thought of walking into First Baptist Church of Woodstock they cannot bear to enter, perhaps we could accommodate them. Just don’t insist we all must endure a cramped building with inadequate air conditioning because of your tender sensibilities.
If the offended parties offered to pay the difference to hold graduation in a comparable secular facility, I would support moving the ceremonies.
If they felt so uncomfortable they requested a separate (but equal) ceremony, I would support letting them walk in the school auditorium by themselves. Just don’t ask for money money to get special treatment.
Also, don’t expect me to meekly accept raising my taxes to pay for dumb ideas like this. Demanding we all pay more to avoid potentially offending one or two people is frankly absurd.
If your delicate sensibilities are offended by the sight of a cross or a minaret, my advice is simply this: grow thicker skin.