Public graduations in religious buildings

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Public graduations in religious buildings

Postby Jon Estes » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:46 am

What are people so afraid of? Are we living in an over sensitive time and if so, where/how does it end?

https://www.toddstarnes.com/show/pastor-school-district-told-us-remove-cross-sanctuary/
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Re: Public graduations in religious buildings

Postby Sandy » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:31 pm

At the last SBC church I served in Houston, we hosted two public high school graduation ceremonies every year. There was a cross, with a background of illuminated stained glass in the baptistery. It was a high ceiling, and the baptistery was highly visible above the choir loft, all the way up to the peaked ceiling. There wasn't a curtain or a door closing it off. Both schools wanted us to turn on the lights and illuminate the cross during their ceremony. There was also a cross on the pulpit, which they used to make speeches. They rented the facility at the rate we quoted. We provided a sound system operator, custodial service that included opening and closing, help with parking, and with exiting the parking lots, and use of the fellowship hall for the receptions. We had hymnals and Bibles in the racks, left up all of the wall decorations and notices, and never had a problem.
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Re: Public graduations in religious buildings

Postby KeithE » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:54 am

Sandy wrote:At the last SBC church I served in Houston, we hosted two public high school graduation ceremonies every year. There was a cross, with a background of illuminated stained glass in the baptistery. It was a high ceiling, and the baptistery was highly visible above the choir loft, all the way up to the peaked ceiling. There wasn't a curtain or a door closing it off. Both schools wanted us to turn on the lights and illuminate the cross during their ceremony. There was also a cross on the pulpit, which they used to make speeches. They rented the facility at the rate we quoted. We provided a sound system operator, custodial service that included opening and closing, help with parking, and with exiting the parking lots, and use of the fellowship hall for the receptions. We had hymnals and Bibles in the racks, left up all of the wall decorations and notices, and never had a problem.

That was a good attitude by those that used your facility - it showed ‘class’ not the demand modifications to use your facility. And I assume your congregation was happy to be accommodating to these school events.

Once our church sanctuary was requested by a local Synagogue that normally met on the Arsenal and they could not get on the Arsenal after 9/11 for several weeks. They asked that we cover the large Cross at the front and our Music Minister complied for several weeks - taking the cover on and off. No request was made to cover the side stained glass windows.

Note also that the Redstone Arsenal (a large military base) regularly holds a Christian church (the Bicentennial Church which hosts both Protestant and Catholic services) and this Jewish Synagogue (not sure about any other religious groups meeting on the Arsenal).

I’d say five things in these situations.
1) It would have shown more 'religious class' if the synagogue had not asked for the Cross to be covered (or placed any pre-conditions on the house of our facility - not sure if the request was a nice-to-have or a pre-condition in our church’s case); likewise the "atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers” in the Prestonwood BC case shows a lack of ‘class’ (I won't call it ‘religious class’) - they should just attend the graduations w/o comment and be grateful that church offered their facility.
2) Our music minister showed ‘religious class’ to cover the Cross - he valued collegial relationships (a form of loving others) more than religious symbology.
3) Those who are quick to claim their religious freedom has been violated, show that they value religious symbols more than “love your neighbor”; that is a lack of ‘religious class’, imo.
4) Christians are asked to expect and live through persecution. e.g Matt 5: 10-12
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you

See also http://scripturemenu.com/BibleVerseList.html?topicid=26.
5) The purported violation of religious freedom in the churches (our church and Prestonwood BC) is extremely mild compared to what early Christians who were asked to live through.

Think about it.
Last edited by KeithE on Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Public graduations in religious buildings

Postby KeithE » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:21 am

Jon Estes wrote:What are people so afraid of? Are we living in an over sensitive time and if so, where/how does it end?

https://www.toddstarnes.com/show/pastor-school-district-told-us-remove-cross-sanctuary/


I agree with you Jon, Todd Starnes is being over sensitive as are the "atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers” who wanted to move the graduation.
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Re: Public graduations in religious buildings

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:23 am

I hate to say it, but my experience of late is that Todd Starnes reports anything that he thinks will upset people of faith and keep them hooked on the FOX line. We need to know what kind of contracts churches may have signed to be used in these community ways and what they are being paid. We also need to know the terms of those contracts.
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Re: Public graduations in religious buildings

Postby JE Pettibone » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:26 am

Dave Roberts wrote:I hate to say it, but my experience of late is that Todd Starnes reports anything that he thinks will upset people of faith and keep them hooked on the FOX line. We need to know what kind of contracts churches may have signed to be used in these community ways and what they are being paid. We also need to know the terms of those contracts.



Ed: Dave Todd hasn't changed since he was here back in 2004. But why do you say we need to know what Kind of contracts the churches signed or the terms of those contracts? Will you be OK with school board holding graduations in Mosques?
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Re: Public graduations in religious buildings

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:53 am

JE Pettibone wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:I hate to say it, but my experience of late is that Todd Starnes reports anything that he thinks will upset people of faith and keep them hooked on the FOX line. We need to know what kind of contracts churches may have signed to be used in these community ways and what they are being paid. We also need to know the terms of those contracts.



Ed: Dave Todd hasn't changed since he was here back in 2004. But why do you say we need to know what Kind of contracts the churches signed or the terms of those contracts? Will you be OK with school board holding graduations in Mosques?


Ed, I'm as okay with that as with churches, because I do believe in freedom of religion for all Americans, not just Protestant Christians. Do you believe that a Mosque is any more a violation of religious liberty than a church is?
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Re: Public graduations in religious buildings

Postby Sandy » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:03 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:Will you be OK with school board holding graduations in Mosques?


I wouldn't have a problem with it. It might be difficult to do, sitting on the floor. On the other hand, you might be able to get more people inside.

The schools in Houston that used our church never had a problem with the crosses, or with any other religious symbolism in the building, though other than hymnbooks and Bibles in the racks, I can't think of anything else. Our building had the largest seating capacity in the area, about 1,000, and their gyms and auditoriums weren't big enough to accommodate their graduation ceremonies. We charged the non-member wedding rate, they took care of re-arranging the choir loft and the fellowship hall, we scheduled our traffic control officer for each Saturday, and our custodial staff got 8 extra hours of overtime for the week. There's nothing inherently "sacred" about a building with pews and some stained glass and a cross if you're not pointing to any of those things when you use it.
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