Does the Establishment Clause require all religious symbols to be hidden from view?
In Elmbrook School District v. Doe, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a public high school violated the Constitution when it held graduation ceremonies in a local church—the only building in town with both air conditioning and comfortable seating. The Circuit Court's decision, which can be found here, details the unacceptable "proselytizing environment" posed by the church (including such offenses as an uncovered cross in the sanctuary and hymnals in each pew).
CCJ's brief argues that the Supreme Court needs to take this case to move Establishment Clause doctrine back in line with the original meaning of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause: to protect against legal coercion of churches and church goers. The school district rented the facility at the request of the students because it had comfortable seating and air conditioning, and no one should expect that church to hide all religious symbols or books—nor should a government that purports to respect religious freedom even consider such a requirement.
Download the full CCJ brief here: Amicus Brief, Elmbrook School District v. John Doe
To support this project, please visit our donations page.