Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Prayer at KY Graduation Despite Atheists' Demands

There has always been student-led prayer during the graduation ceremony at Lincoln County High School in Stanford, KY, but this year Principal Tim Godbey said prayer time must be eliminated from the agenda because a few students complained.  However, Jonathan Hardwick, the Class of 2013 president, vowed to include a prayer in his speech, and when he did, it was met with applause and a standing ovation from virtually everyone in attendance.
“Thank you for helping us get here safely today, Lord, and thank you for the many blessings you have given us.”
-- Jonathan Hardwick, graduate
For background, read Atheists Threaten to Sue Every School in Mississippi

Also read about laws to bring prayer to schools in Texas, and Louisiana, and North Carolina, and Missouri, and Mississippi, and Florida, and Tennessee.

-- From "Despite objections, prayer goes on at Lincoln graduation" by Stephanie Mojica, The Advocate-Messenger (Danville, KY) 5/25/13

In an interview with The Advocate-Messenger earlier this month, Principal Tim Godbey acknowledged that six students — including at least one atheist — had pleaded with him not to allow student-led prayer to be a part of the school’s graduation ceremony. Godbey, a self-professed Christian who says he prays for each of his students daily, said under separation of church and state laws, faculty members have never been able to pray publicly on school grounds or during school-sponsored functions. However, he noted that the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit students from doing so as long as they are not otherwise disruptive.

Some local residents with signs demonstrated outside the school in favor of prayer and Kentucky State Police troopers were patrolling in several areas of the school grounds, according to Danville resident and activist Ricky Smith, an atheist, who attended the ceremony Friday at the request of several concerned parents and students.

Smith intends to notify the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation about Lincoln’s public prayer, which he feels violated the civil rights of students who are not Christians. Smith - a former Christian - pointed out that some students represent a variety of faiths or lack thereof, including Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, paganism, atheism and agnosticism.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Lincoln County High School grapples with prayer at graduation" by Ben Kleppinger, The Interior Journal (Lincoln County, KY) 5/9/13

. . . the high school's senior class president is worried the meaningfulness of the day could be lost in the fray, and the principal is combatting what he calls "incorrect, and frankly, inappropriate information" regarding whether prayer is allowed in school.

In years past, the graduating class has been allowed to plan for a student-led prayer during the ceremony, as long as there was a unanimous vote by graduating students that they wanted the prayer, Godbey explained Friday.

“It’s just something the students did in the midst of graduation and we allowed it,” he said. “Now that we kind of have this opposition, we don’t feel like we can do that.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that public schools cannot sponsor prayer at graduation ceremonies because it is a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…"

However, while schools cannot sponsor prayer, students still have constitutionally-protected rights to express themselves.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

The root issue is American Religious Liberty vs. Anti-Christian Totalitarianism