2 votes

Lone Star College

I hope I'm posting in the correct section. It became known to me yesterday that the college I attend is paying money to a church to hold our graduation ceremonies in. Last year was the first year it was held there and there were a number of complaints from students/families about crosses being everywhere, thus in photographs, and apparently there was also some sort of performance taking place in days to come as Noah's Ark and other images were on stage for the ceremony. Some faculty members have been circulating an email about the reasons this should be an issue and have specifically asked the student group I am a member of our opinion on how best to proceed. I am going to research the legalities of a college that receives money from both the state and the federal government contributing money for services and/or space to a church, mainly because one of my professor's told me when asked that last year there was a reverse situation with a church renting space from a college. The issue was brought to court and the court ruled that it was unconstitutional to do so. I know that New York is very different from Texas, so that may be a hurdle. If anyone on here has any information regarding this matter or live close by and would like to get involved, please let me know. Thanks for your time.



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The college is a private school...

the grants/loans from the gov't is the students' "voucher"..not the school's. Those gov't funds become fungible as soon as they hit a private bank account.ie..making them private money the students uses to pay for tuition. It's totally legal for them to hold a ceremony at a church. If they were a Public School it would be a different story being that they're bank account would be the direct receivable.

Same thing happens when someone receives welfare checks, cashes them and gives to their church or buys crucifixes.

issue

I understand your point. My point wasn't so much the money aspect from me to the school and what they do with it, but I was reading about cases in Connecticut and Georgia where it was the exact same situation (schools graduating at churches) with opposing rulings. The court that ruled that the school could not hold graduation at a church was a federal court, the other a state. This puts me in a conundrum as I am a very big supporter of state's rights. The Texas code for colleges and universities only has one part that I see as relevant: all contracts and payments must be bid on, giving preference to Texas and then the United States, respectively. I assume they mean to apply this to construction or something similar, however I have also found out that the church is "cutting a really, really good deal" for the college as far as payment. One of the sites I found specifically mentions that from the church's standpoint, they must offer services at market value; to do otherwise would compromise their tax exempt status. We are really starting to get motivated to make a big issue of this.

What is a church?

A church is an assembly of people. Where the people are there is the church. The Greek word in the Bible is ecclesia meaning those who are "called out". This has nothing at all to do with buildings or ornaments.

Many ecclesias rent out their premises for different functions and they also rent other premises for their meetings. This is not a religious issue it is a private property issue. Does any group that owns a building have the right to rent that building to any other group for any lawful purpose? Yes of course it does.

if there are those in the college who object to the presence of religious artefacts in the auditorium or elsewhere then they should ask the owners of the building to remove them or cover them up during the graduation ceremony. These are simply practical matters hardly worth the attention being paid to them.

The only mention of religion in the Constitution is the first amendment that states that the Congress shall make no law establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. That sounds to me like there was no Constitutional law on which the court you mention could possibly rule as they did...unless they saw themselves as the legislative body.

The first amendment safeguards the free exercise of religion and that would protect the ecclesia to meet anywhere they wish provided the owner of the premises agreed to it.

The amount of energy and money expended on these disputes is completely wasted. What is needed is a modicum of wisdom to deal with the controversy, not to take it to court at public expense. Otherwise one is drawn to the conclusion that there is another agenda being pursued.

"Jesus answered them: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)

Goverment money

Public funds cannot be used for any religious purposes. The question to answer is whether or not using the church space is deemed a religious purpose via the funding of a specific religious institution.

At best, it's dicey. At worst, it's illegal.

+ Follow the Cooperative principle
+ Civility first
+ Constructive comments

wow

sorry, its late. This is at Lone Star College in and around Houston, Texas. The campus I go to is in Tomball.

The religious artifact...

.. are there just for the show. The church in the US have turned their back on everything that these symbols used to stand for. They have incorporated (S501(c)(3)) their beliefs to facilitate their organized criminal activities (fleecing the faithful under false pretenses). Their Beatitudes now read: Blessed are the warmongers. Hate your enemies. Curse those who curse you. Repay evil with evil. Do others before they do you. They have now perfected the art of bearing false witness. Meeting in a church is now as meaningless as meeting in field house. In fact, in a field they still play the game for real, no pretenses.

Plano TX