We’ll find out tonight during the Neptune High School graduation ceremony at the Ocean Grove Great Auditorium.
In case you missed it, the ACLU threaten to sue the Neptune Board of Education seeking to compel the end of the 70 year old tradition of holding the high school graduation at the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association’s glorious historical 3000 seat venue that hosts religious services and well as secular events.
Granny Breslow felt uncomfortable by the religious imagery, the convocation and hymns at her grand daughter’s graduation last year and contacted the ACLU to put a stop to it. Rather than litigate, the Neptune Board of Education negotiated a comprise that required no convocation, that religious banners in the auditorium would be covered and that the cross on the auditorium will not be lit before or during the ceremony.
The tradition was spared but many in the community were outraged that one out of town malcontent could bully the Board of Ed in to altering the ceremony at all. Many felt the Board should not have complied with any of the ACLU’s demands.
In the facebook group that was created to rally public support to keep the graduation at the Great Auditorium, much of the chatter since the deal was made with the ACLU has focused on bringing religious expression into the graduation ceremony. There has been talk of community members wearing necklaces with lit crosses and breaking out in prayer before, during and after the ceremony.
MMM supports the community members in making authentic religious expressions. They should avoid the temptation to hijack the graduation by turning it into an angry protest. Keep the focus on celebrating the accomplishments and the futures of the graduating high school seniors.Posted: June 17th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: ACLU, Neptune Township | Tags: ACLU, Breslow, Neptune High School Graduation | 1 Comment »
By Art Gallagher
We have been hard on the Neptune Board of Education over their choice to negotiate with the ACLU over the use of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association’s Great Auditorium as the venue for their high school graduation. We would have preferred that Neptune, or anybody, stand up to the over reaching ACLU and their cowardly client. We continue to believe that there are winnable legal arguments, right arguments, that the use of the Great Auditorium is not a violation of the first amendment required separation of church and state.
We don’t agree that covering the religious signs and symbols at the venue protects the rights of someone who does not agree with the message. We don’t believe that if someone feels like an outsider that their rights have been violated. We don’t believe that an ecumenical prayer to begin or end a ceremony or the singing of a hymn makes a civic ceremony a religious service.
We would love to see the ACLU crushed in court or to scamper away at the sight of a leader who would stand up to their bullying tactics.
However, in this case we believe the Neptune Board of Education and Superintendent David Mooij performed admirably for their community. As we were reminded this week with the Abbott Ruling, we have an arrogant, activist and dysfunctional judiciary in this state and country. As strong as their arguments would have been, there is a good chance that the Neptune board could have lost in court and the 70 year tradition of holding their graduation in the Great Auditorium could have been over. Such a result would have been most unfortunate for the community of Neptune. It appears that the Neptune board and Mooij were able to avoid that result. For avoiding that result and preserving the tradition they are to be commended.
We continue to have one major issue with the conduct of the board and administration in Neptune; their policy of protecting the identity of the ACLU’s client. The grumpy granny’s identity should be an easily searchable matter of public record. Her name should have appeared in the minutes of the Neptune Board of Education meeting last July when she first publically raised the issue. Instead, she was identified as “a member of the public.”
The woman who felt like an outsider at her grandchild’s graduation last year and concluded that her rights were violated should have gone to therapy rather than threaten to go to court. She knows she’s an outsider. By hiding her identity with the cooperation of the Neptune board and the ACLU she confirmed that she’s a sneaky outsider without the courage of her convictions to withstand public scorn and scrutiny.
By protecting the woman’s identity the board and administration put their 70 year tradition that means a great deal to the community at risk. Fortunately things worked out for the present and future Neptune graduates. Unfortunately those students also learned a lesson in the power of cowardice and complicity.Posted: May 26th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: ACLU, Neptune | Tags: ACLU, Breslow, Neptune, Neptune Board of Education | 12 Comments »
Why is the media cooperating?
By Art Gallagher
The controversy over the venue for the Neptune High School graduation started last July when “a member of the public” objected to the venue on religious reasons at a workshop meeting of the board. Minutes of the school board meeting do not say who the person is.
A member of the Neptune Board of Education refused to reveal the name of the person, siting board policy.
Media reports in the APP and on News Channel 4 have said that the complainant is a “non-district woman,” and the grandmother of a student who graduated last year.
Even members of the facebook group that is rallying public support to keep they traditional graduation at the Great Auditorium are withholding the name of the grandmother.
I don’t get it. Commenting anonymously on a blog is one thing. Threatening legal action anonymously, and having that threat taken seriously is another.
MMM is going to find the identity of the ACLU’s client in this case. We will publish it when we do. If you know who it is, please post as much information as you have it in the comments.Posted: May 12th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: ACLU, Neptune | Tags: ACLU, Neptune Graduation | 13 Comments »
Blogfinger is reporting that the Neptune Board of Education met with approximately 200 students, parents and residents last night to discuss the ACLU’s threat to file suit over use of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association’s Great Auditorium for the high school’s graduation.
Board President John Daniels said that the board “is one hundred percent behind the cause of this event….to continue at the Great Auditorium.”
Superintendent David Mooij said that no lawsuit has been filed, that the negotiations continue with the ACLU and that other venues for the graduation, including the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, will be considered if the ACLU gets an injunction against holding the graduation at the same venue where it has been held for six decades or more.
Mooij encouraged those at the meeting to rally public support for the traditional graduation by writing letters to the editor and speaking out at other forums, yet said that “the legal arguments will determine the outcome” rather than public sentiment.Posted: May 12th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: ACLU, Neptune | Tags: ACLU, Neptune Graduation | 2 Comments »
By Art Gallagher
The pantywaists running the Neptune school district are caving to the ACLU without a fight. What a bunch of kittens. Kittens, kittens, kittens.
As reported in the Asbury Park Press, the ACLU wants the Neptune school district to break a 60 year tradition of holding their high school graduation in the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association’s (GOD’S SQUARE MILE AT THE JERSEY SHORE), Great Auditorium.
The ACLU hasn’t filed suit. The are jawboning the kittens into compliance with the threat of a suit.
The ACLU is arguing that the graduation being held at a religious venue with crosses is a violation of the first amendment separation of church and state.
If the sight of a cross at a secular event violates the separation of church and state, then school buses should be prohibited from driving past churches, synagogues or mosques for fear that a student will see a religious symbol while being transported at government expense.
The ACLU’s chief bully, state legal director Ed Barocas told the APP, “They are making it uncomfortable for non-Christians to appreciate their child’s graduation. It gives the impression that there are certain people that are insiders and others who are outsiders.”
Well, there are certain people who are insiders and others who are outsiders. That has nothing to do with religion. Anyone who has a problem with that, like Barocas, is an outsider and a loser. Next he’ll be wanting to do away with football and cheerleading.
The head pantywaist, Superintendent David “Kitten” Mooij, has already caved to certain of bully Barocas’ demands. He has removed the convocation and the singing of “Onward Christian Soldiers” from the program. Bully Barocas is not satsified, he wants the graduation held somewhere other than the 3000 seat auditorium.
Bully Barocas is all wet and Kitten Mooij should stand up to him. Let the bully sue. Kitten Mooij is probably worried about the legal fees. He should ask the NJEA for help, they burnt $6 million on political ads last year that made absolutely no difference. The NJEA would get more good will from defending the kittens of Neptune than they will from their silly TV and newspaper ads bashing Governor Christie.
The Great Auditorium is building, an auditorium. It holds both religious and secular events. Tim Conway, Tony Bennet, Paul Anka and Frank Sinatra, JR are performing their in August. There is a Doo Wop Extravaganza scheduled for Labor Day weekend.
There has to be an attorney somewhere who can win this case, if there is a case.
If kittens like Mooij keep caving every time the ACLU calls, just because they call and the kittens don’t think they can pay for a fight, then the ACLU will always win and keep being a bully.Posted: May 10th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: ACLU, Neptune | Tags: ACLU, Neptune School District | 20 Comments »