Irving, TX – Liberty Counsel sent a letter offering pro bono
legal representation to the Irving Independent School District after
the ACLU of Texas sent a demand letter threatening the school with legal
action if it did not change the location of its graduation ceremony
from a local nondenominational church to a secular building.
The district currently hosts graduation at The Potter’s House, a local nondenominational church which seats several thousand people, where T.D. Jakes is the pastor. This has been its practice for seven years now, in order to maximize the number of family and friends that each student can invite. The district’s facilities would severely limit the number of guests each student could bring.
The district canceled next year’s graduation ceremonies at the church location after the ACLU threatened suit. However, it still plans to hold all of this year’s graduation ceremonies in The Potter’s House. School official Lane Ladewig says that the district is not promoting religion.
This is the second situation this week for which Liberty Counsel has offered legal protection to schools against the demands and legal threats of the ACLU. In both situations, the schools are facing the ACLU’s legal action threats based on activities that are protected by the First Amendment. Liberty Counsel has published a legal memo regarding hosting public school graduations in churches or religious facilities, in which it states that the use of nonsecular locations is permissible.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “The ACLU appears to be on a warpath this year to stop graduation ceremonies from being held in churches or other religious venues. The ACLU would rather distort the Constitution and force students and parents to celebrate graduation in cramped, sub-par facilities than to be honest and admit that there is nothing wrong with having graduation in churches or religious venues. The ACLU’s position reveals how radical and nonsensical the organization has become.”