Seniors Hold Prayer Despite Atheist's Threats [Excerpts]
Seniors at Louisiana's Bastrop High School went on with prayer during their graduation ceremony May 20, despite threats of a possible lawsuit, plans to cancel the prayer, and contrary advice from a school attorney.
Openly atheist graduate Damon Fowler complained to the superintendent about the traditional prayer and threatened to contact the American Civil Liberties Union if it wasn't removed from the ceremony.
At the recommendation of an attorney, school administrators reprinted all the graduation announcements to rid any mention of prayer in the program. Instead, a "Moment of Silence" was listed.
But when graduating senior Laci Rae Mattice stood at the podium to lead the moment of silence, she instead recited the Lord's Prayer.
"I respect the beliefs of other people, but I feel that I can't go on without giving glory to my Lord today," she said. "I want to ask for the Lord's blessings upon us."
Laci Rae then asked fellow students to say the prayer with her "if they want to."
"The Constitution does not require that graduation be free of religious people or speech. Students have the right to express secular and religious viewpoints at graduation," said Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel.
"To censor only the religious viewpoints is intolerant and unconstitutional," he continued. "Students should not be bullied by the ACLU to give up their constitutional rights."
("Seniors Hold Prayer Despite Atheist's Threats," CBNNews.com, Tuesday, May 24, 2011).