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Friday, June 5, 2009

400 Students Defy ACLU and Stand to Recite Lord's Prayer at Graduation

From LifeSiteNews
By John Jalsevac

Nearly 400 graduating seniors at Pace High School stood up in protest against the ACLU and recited the Lord’s Prayer during their graduation ceremony last Saturday. Many of the students also painted crosses on their graduation caps to make a statement of faith. (To watch a video of the prayer, click here)

The prayerful protest by the students comes on the heels of a lawsuit the ACLU filed against the Santa Rosa County School District (FL), claiming some of the teachers and administration endorsed religion. The suit was filed on behalf of two students, who said that the teachers were promoting their views of religion.

The two teachers at Pace High School were Principal Frank Lay and school teacher Michelle Winkler. The ACLU alleges that during a dinner event held at the school, Principal Lay asked the athletic director to bless the meal. In another incident, the ACLU alleges that Michelle Winkler’s husband, who is not a school board employee, offered prayer at an awards ceremony

According to the ACLU lawsuit, graduation ceremonies during the past five years at Central, Jay, Milton, Navarre and Pace High Schools in the Santa Rosa District have included prayers by students – often members of groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes or the Christian World Order. The graduation ceremonies at Santa Rosa Adult School and Santa Rosa Learning Academy also have included prayers.

Leading up to the graduation ceremony, the ACLU demanded that Pace High School censor students from offering prayers or saying anything religious. In the end, members of the student body were not permitted to speak at the graduation.

The graduating class at the school, however, decided to react against the ACLU bullying by taking a stand at graduation. As soon as Principal Lay asked everyone to be seated at the ceremony, the graduating class remained standing and recited the Lord’s Prayer.

ACLU attorney Benjamin Stevenson told ABC Channel Three after the event: "Our feeling is that it's regrettable that the students took over the ceremony to impose their religious views on the audience who may not have shared the same religious views.

"School officials have a responsibility to protect the silently held religious views of others."

Stevenson said that something should have been done to stop the recitation of the Lord's Prayer and that it is too early to know whether the ACLU will pursue further legal action.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. The students at Pace High School refused to remain silent and were not about to be bullied by the ACLU.

“We have decided to represent faculty, staff and students of Pace High School,” he said, “because the ACLU is clearly violating their First Amendment rights. Schools are not religion-free zones, and any attempt to make them so is unconstitutional.”


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Cangratulations to the new Grads!! You have the courage to meet the world! May the tide build where more and more students take a stand for God! And May God Bless America with these new leaders.
God Bless You All!

Matt said...

I struggle to not hate the members of the ACLU.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what you would say should you be in, say, a Muslim-majority school.

Daniel J. Cassidy said...

I have never approved of immigration policies that permit the possibility of Muslim-majority schools in the United States, Anon. Such policies are leading to the annihilation of European nations.

Anonymous said...

This has little to do with immigration policies.

Even in a country that's vastly Christian, it's possible that some, very few, areas have a Muslim majority?

In this Muslim-majority area, then, would you uphold the right of the majority of the student body to "defy the ACLU" and chant whatever they wanted to, praising whichever God they chose to praise?

Anonymous said...

I say if you hold strong religious views upon which this country was built, you have an obligation to stand and let that be known. Ever heard the term "Christian warrior"? Kudos to the grads.

Daniel J. Cassidy said...

Yes, I would, Anon. I believe in freedom -- religious and otherwise. In this case, no one was compelled to pray, it was voluntary and student-initiated. If a majority Jewish school in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY, or a majority Muslim public school in Hamtramck, MI celebrate their religious culture, that does not restrict my freedoms, but the ACLU does. People did not come to this country to be homogenized; they came here to be free.

Anonymous said...

What would your advice be to a Christian student in that Muslim-majority school? Learn to like listening to the Koran?