It's unclear what was more offensive - the cross or the stained glass. Regardless, a federal judge ruled two Connecticut high school cannot hold their graduation ceremonies inside a church - because it would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall made her ruling after personally visiting The First Cathedral. According to the lawsuit, the church featured a number of religious signs and symbols, including at least three crosses.
Even though school workers planned to cover much of the sanctuary's religious icons, the crosses were too large to move. As a result, the judge said the school was coercing people to support religion by forcing them to enter the church for graduation.
"By choosing to hold graduations at First Cathedral, Enfield schools sends the message that it is closely linked with First Cathedral and its religious mission, that it favors the religious over the irreligious and that it prefers Christians over those that subscribe to other faiths, or no faith at all," Hall wrote in her briefing - published in the Hartford Courant. "In addition to the character of the forum, the history and context of the decision to hold the graduations at First Cathedral also support the conclusion that, in doing so, Enfield Public Schools has endorsed religion."
School officials said they were just trying to find a place to accommodate a large crowd.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Connecticut and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. It was filed on behalf of two students and three of their parents.
"The Enfield Schools' plan to hold the ceremonies in a church created an unnecessary divisive atmosphere for what should be a positive and inclusive event for all students," said Andrew Schneider of the ACLU of Connecticut.
School attorneys said they plan to appeal.