Saturday, December 18, 2010

Prayer Banned by Four Students at Commencement

West Virginia University at Parkersburg trashed the invocation and benediction at the nurses' pinning ceremony after polling the students yielded less than unanimous support -- a decision contrary to long-standing Supreme Court rulings.

-- From "Groups protest lack of prayer in ceremony" by Michael Erb, Parkersburg News and Sentinel 12/16/10

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian-based legal group, in a letter to WVU-P this week asked the college to "restore the traditional invocation and benediction to the nursing program's pinning ceremony," according to a release by the group.

According to the alliance, of the 44 students to graduate, 40 indicated they wanted the prayer left in the program, and believed based upon their majority their wishes would be met.

Connie Dziagwa, spokeswoman for WVU-P, released a statement Wednesday from the college.

"Despite suggestions to the contrary, students are not being denied the right to pray at pinning. As part of the program, a moment of silent reflection is being included so students and their families can have an opportunity for private reflection in their own way," according to the statement.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "ADF letter urges WVU-Parkersburg to reinstate prayers at graduation ceremony" posted at Alliance Defense Fund 12/14/10

“America’s Founding Fathers regularly opened official public ceremonies with prayer, and federal appeals courts have consistently ruled that universities can do the same at their graduation ceremonies,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Travis Barham. “These prayers have been constitutional for centuries, and this type of religious expression is still protected by the First Amendment today. The U.S. Constitution has never required universities to purge public ceremonies of all things religious.”

ADF attorneys point out in their letter that nothing in the U.S. Constitution prohibits such prayers in university ceremonies. They explain that the phrase “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the Constitution and that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment does not prohibit prayers at university graduations but instead actually protects them.

“Federal appellate courts have unanimously upheld clergy-led prayers at university graduation ceremonies, and literally decades of Supreme Court precedent holds that the government may not ban speech--including religious speech--merely because some people might find it offensive,” the ADF letter states.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.