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As a parent of a Richfield High graduate, I would like to point out an error by the media, who reported that Carol Gnade, Utah's ACLU director, was unhappy that the graduation was transferred from the charred gym to the LDS tabernacle, considering it a violation of the separation of church and state.

That's impossible. As an expert in constitutional law, she could not possibly have made such a sophomoric statement. She knows very well that "separation" means only that the government does not endorse, promote or favor a particular religion.During the graduation ceremony, there were no pamphlets passed, no missionaries circulating, no religious art or symbols in view, no prayers of any sort, and so I'm positive that Ms. Gnade would have not only been quite pleased at the religion-neutral ceremony but - as an advocate of civil rights - would have actively fought for our right to have the graduation in any building - church, tavern, barn, theater - as long as a particular religion was not "pushed" and drinks were not served to minors.

In fact, although the tabernacle seats more than any other local building (but the blackened gym), an adjacent building, the Youth Center gym, housed the overflow. (And though Basketballism is the area's dominant religion, graduates were not required to make a basket to get their diplomas.)

Too, Ms. Gnade is dearly, I'm sure, aware that in small-town Richfield, the only real "contingency plan" alternative would have been a windy pasture and megaphones, robbing the event of some dignity. She surely would not have asked that.

So the media owe Ms. Gnade an apology. The next thing you know, she'll be quoted as saying that separation of church and state means that churches must be built outside city limits.

C'mon. She's a smart lady. She has to be. She's safeguarding our rights, including freedom of assembly, our right to legally gather wherever we choose - as long as we carefully maintain all other rights.

Roger K. Williams