Prayer At Graduation

Sara - posted on 04/30/2010 ( 137 moms have responded )

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GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) - A lawsuit involving Greenwood High School and the class valedictorian is headed to federal court on Friday.

The suit, filed by the ACLU on behalf of 18-year-old Eric Workman says the high school senior does not believe that anyone should be involuntarily subjected to prayer.

The case comes after the Greenwood High School class voted to allow prayer at their graduation. That vote was approved, and it's also part of the lawsuit.

Workman says he believes the idea of voting, and the act of the prayer, are violations of the First Amendment.

"The Supreme Court has held specifically it is unconstitutional to have prayer at graduation," said Ken Falk with the ACLU.

Workman says he still expects to speak at the graduation ceremony.

This is where I live and is causing a HUGE uproar. So what do you think? Should the prayer be allowed? Would it be fair that since he says there can't be a prayer that he can't speak at graduation? (This is something being proposed by several students that voted for the prayer.) Is it fair to have a majority of the senior class not have a prayer because one student is fighting it? Should prayer even be an option at a public high school graudation?

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Lucy - posted on 05/03/2010

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I just ran this by my uncle who is visiting. He said that from his point of view, a public prayer at an otherwise secular occasion such as a graduation would not be appropriate. He felt that the moment of silent refection idea was much more fitting, as it included everyone without forcing people to participate in something they felt uncomfortable with.

This, by the way, all from a man who is a recently retired Church of England Minister. If he can see this as a reasonable compromise, I don't see why others can't.

~Jennifer - posted on 04/30/2010

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....so if they had voted to sacrifice a goat and pray to Satan should the Christians be courteously reverent while waiting for that ceremony to be finished?

Celia - posted on 05/01/2010

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I think any speach focusing on spirituality, either Religious or Athiest, should not be allowed. Graduation is a time to congratulate those who have studied hard and are entering the workforce. If any speaches are made they should be geared to the struggles that lay ahead, some words of wisdom, a few jokes so nobody falls asleep, and thats it.
We all love our kids and wouldent want them to be uncomfortable on one of the most important days of their lives.

Those with religion would shiver with distaste if someone chose to say "There is no God or Heaven so work hard cause this is all you've got!"

And those who are Athiest would shiver with equal distaste to hear someone say "God is watching over all of you on the journey that lays ahead".

To many it may seem trivial to think of a prayr being said at a graduation, but its only trivial if you are Religious, to put the shoe on the other foot would show how impacting such a thing would really be.

Dana - posted on 04/30/2010

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Wow, Christina after the things you've said in your posts I can't believe you have something to say about others manners... Seriously, you're constantly saying something rude to someone in every single one of your posts.

Johnny - posted on 05/01/2010

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It is not about hiding faith or not talking about it in public. It is about forcing others to attend Christian religious ceremony when they signed up for a secular event. Graduation is secular. If a way can be found to include a prayer that has something for everyone, then so be it. But no one religious group has the right to make those not following a faith to participate in its rituals when they are there for another purpose.

I don't attend a mosque because I do not wish to pray to Allah. And I'd be really annoyed if at my next co-op meeting my neighbors insisted on starting with an Islamic prayer. But when I attended their sons birthday party (which they held in our common room and invited the entire co-op to) I respectfully knelt during the prayer at the start.

It is not just Christians that are not able to celebrate their faith in secular institutions. It is EVERYONE! That is the nature of being secular. If the Jewish kids in the class had wanted to include a faith specific prayer, it would have been similarly inappropriate.

People chose their own spiritual path, to expect others to walk along it with you in any way is very presumptuous. That does not mean that you should not speak of that faith or keep it a secret. I am happy to be an agnostic. I have my own philosophical beliefs and if they come up in the course of a conversation, there is no need for me to hide them. But I would not send my children to a religious school and expect to have my beliefs promoted. And I can not expect people to sit through a deliberation on the nature of the universe when attending a graduation ceremony.

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Suzette - posted on 05/04/2010

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I agree with what Emma said. (Well said Emma!)

Hannah,
"Why does it make anyone feel uncomfortable though. That is why this country is so "politically correct." "
There are a lot of things that make people feel uncomfortable, racial slurs are another thing that make people feel uncomfortable and we don't condone that either, in fact it's not tolerated in many schools. (At least not any that I ever went to.)

"The satan thing, I see your point but I think that is rather far fetched."
One would think so, but there is actually a religion called Satanism. (I don't know very much about it, but it exists.) And there are a lot of people that I've met who fear Wiccans and Pagans... they believe they worship the devil.
http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/Feare...

So while freedom of religion is great, so is the freedom to not have to deal with someone else's religion unless you choose to walk into that person's church, temple, or place of worship. And that is not a school graduation ceremony.

Emma - posted on 05/04/2010

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Hannah it was for effect, :-)

Freedom of religion is great, and everyone should be able to practise there religion but in this situation it is inappropriate it is a secular school not a Christian school the graduation should be non denominational. That's why a moment of reflection would be Appropriate in this situation instead of a spoken prayer.

This should never been up for a vote end of story.



Please do not take offence but Christian's can be very over bearing as i have had way way too many try to push there beliefs on to me, that is why it has become uncomfortable, because it feel's rightly or not like its being forced on to me.

That's why i would chose to send my kids to a secular school and why i would be very unhappy if they where to have a prayer, at the graduation its an important event not an optional attendance event.

Hannah - posted on 05/04/2010

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Why does it make anyone feel uncomfortable though. That is why this country is so "politically correct" I find religion very interesting. I never said what my religion was by the way. I appreciate any and all religion and respect everyone's right to religion. It shouldnt make anyone feel uncomfortable. The satan thing, I see your point but I think that is rather far fetched. Everyone is so touchy and sensitive and easily offended. We are supposed to be tolerant of everyone. I respect everyone and their choice and right to do and worship whoever they want. I don't think anyone should feel uncomfortable listening to a prayer.
It isn't about bowing down and kissing anyones behind because they did better in school. It is just that though, they worked very hard to get where they were and if they feel that Allah or God got them there, give thanks. We should respect that! Apparently, most of the school agreed as well.

?? - posted on 05/03/2010

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I don't follow any religion, I actually despise the idea of religion for myself, I don't even like it, I don't get worked up over it - there's just other things that can be said, when people say "I'll say a prayer for you" or "I'll keep you in my prayers" but I think there is a huge difference between saying;

"Dear Father, while we gather here together to celebrate our achievements we want to take a moment to give thanks to you for the strength and guidance you have given us through the years." etc etc etc whatever else people say in a 'formal' prayer, I honestly have no bloody clue...

and saying;

"While we're all coming together to celebrate the achievements of the graduating class of 2010 *insert token cheer* we want to take a moment to give thanks to everyone near, far, in our hearts and on our minds that have guided us through the years to this point. Whether you sit in front of us or are looking down upon us, your love and encouragement has been a great resource to getting us to where we are today. From the beginning until forever, thank you!!"


Obviously I just made that up... but people sitting on stage or sitting in the audience could add their own amen, cross themselves, do whatever they gotta do in order to make it their own religious thank yous... without offending anyone... and having it still applicable to every other person sitting there...

Emma - posted on 05/03/2010

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Hannah
It makes anyone who has different beliefs feel uncomfortable and unwelcome,
I do not understand why the need to have someone stand on stage and say a prayer in a secular school event why is it not sufficient to say a prayer before the event or have a moment of quite reflection so those who would like to thank there god can.
The reason they removed religion from schools is because each persons beliefs are there own, to only represent one group is to discriminate against all the others,

You need to see it from the other side to those who do not hold your beliefs accrediting there hard work to your god is Offensive,
imagine that someone was to get up on stage and thank satin for it to you that would be offensive to you.

Suzette - posted on 05/03/2010

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Jo, I think that's a nice sentiment too, though it would take forever with the larger classes. I know my graduating class was well over 100, it took long enough as it was and we were all itching to get out of there. lol.

[deleted account]

Jo I think that's a nice sentiment for a smaller graduating class-to allow each student to say something. I will also be the first to say that this country has come a long way in removing prayer in public school. In the 50's & 60's, it was the norm in New York City public schools to say the Regent's Prayer and I remember asking my mom about it, actually, even my Grandma too, so obviously it dates to easily the 1930's. Obviously we no longer require students to say a morning prayer, but it shows there is still a divided opinion in America, especially in regional religious areas.

?? - posted on 05/03/2010

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Quoting Suzette:
"If that were the case then it wouldn't be a fair compromise, a fair compromise would be allowing *each* student to get up on the stage and do the same thing."

Actually, at the one highschool I attended, they kind of do something like that. There aren't 100's of grads though. When the student came up to get their diploma and shake the principals hand and have their tassle flipped over, the guidance counsilor read off a lil 'blurb' about them;

"Congradulations to Suzette Gorrell, who would like to say good luck to her fellow graduates. She will be attending University in the fall and plans to travel this summer."

Something along those lines. There were a couple religious people who said things along the lines of; "who would like to thank God, her family, and wishes her grandmother could be here to see her today, she knows you're lookin down on her though. She would also like to say God bless to her fellow grads."

They all got to write a lil 'thing' to be said while they accepted their diploma. And then furthermore, at the grad dinner any student who wanted to stand up and say something were allowed the opportunity. All speeches had to be submitted for approval of the guidance councilor and principal but as long as there were no insults or anything BAD said in them they were allowed to say what they wanted, in the way they would say it any other day. Some added God bless you all or I will say a prayer for all of our successes etc etc etc in those speeches as well.

Krista - posted on 05/03/2010

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Let's just give the little shitheads their diplomas by mail.

There.

Problem solved.

Suzette - posted on 05/03/2010

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@Hannah,
"He worked hard to be the valedictorian and earned the right to his speech."

It's a celebration of achievement (as Jo stated) for everyone there, not just the valedictorian. "respecting everyone and their beliefs" means respecting *everyone* not just that person because they happened to be better at academics than the rest of the graduating class. The entire graduating class should not have to bow down and kiss that person's grits and listen to something about their religion, whether it's a prayer or thanking whatever God(s) they may believe in for whatever. If that were the case then it wouldn't be a fair compromise, a fair compromise would be allowing *each* student to get up on the stage and do the same thing. (That'd take SO much time, it'd be asinine.)
A better compromise is a moment of silence, which would allow each person to pray to themselves, relfect, do whatever it is that they wish to do in that time and then they can call it a prayer and no one has had their rights infringed upon and they can't complain about being excluded. (Or having their rights trampled or religion pushed on them, etc.)

?? - posted on 05/03/2010

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Correct me if I'm wrong... I'm not exactly up to date on my churchy stuff but there's a difference between a sermon, a full prayer and 'giving thanks' right? They aren't all the same thing and there aren't just like... 1 specific way.... of saying these things right?

Maybe a 'fair compromise' would be a speech that can be appreciated and applicable to all? Then some people can call it a 'prayer' and some people can call it 'encouraging words' and other people can call it 'another waste of time' during a ceremony that is supposed to be a celebration of achievement...

Hannah - posted on 05/03/2010

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I wish I knew what is so offensive about prayer of any kind, to any God. I respect everyone and their beliefs. If the valedictorian is a christian and he wanted to give thanks to his God, so be it. He worked hard to be the valedictorian and earned the right to his speech. If his prayer was to Allah, God, whomever, we should respect that he is honoring whomever and thanking them for their guidance along the way. Or whatever they might say. It is so frustrating to me how offended people get and make such a big stink. We are supposed to be tolerant of everyone and accepting. Making a big stink is only furthering the distance between the groups.

Mary - posted on 05/03/2010

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I think that STUDENT-led prayer should only be allowed at a school function only if NO one objects to it. If it makes even one student uncomfortable, regardless of how the majority feels, it should be dropped from the event.



I don't think that organized prayer has any place in a public school. As others have said, if prayer, and God, are that important to you in your child's education, send them to a religiously affiliated school that is in accordance to you beliefs and values. It was a big deal to my parents, which is why my sister and I attended 12 years of Catholic schools. Can that be a hardship? Of course! My parents made the financial sacrifices necessary to give us an education that incorporated their beliefs (they also drove an additional 36 miles/day to make it happen). They felt that prayer and spiritual guidance were an integral part of our education, and understood that it was NOT going to happen in a public school...nor should it.



I see where the school administrators were trying to be "fair", and let the student body include something that is not normally a part of a public school function. Although I believe that prayer has no place in a taxpayer-funded school system, I personally would not find it objectionable if each and every student agreed and was comfortable with a short, student-led prayer at graduation. But once they knew that even ONE of the participants found it objectionable, they should have dropped it, immediately, and without question.

Charlie - posted on 05/02/2010

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You know , many parents like myself choose to go public for the very reason that religion will not be incorporated into their education , religious studies are available but they too are optional and it was the biggest factor in us choosing for Cooper to go to public school instead of catholic school , that is why im against the prayer in school , sure the kids voted but the teachers and principal have final say , i dont think people have to hide their faith but keep public schools separate from religion , ALL religion , like its meant to be , otherwise what choice to do parents like me have , and there are many where i am from .

It just means depending on where you live and what religion makes up the majority can now rule over public , government schools ? No thanks .

[deleted account]

Does anyone know how chaotic it is to organize and plan a high school graduation, let alone deal with bullshit regarding prayer or no prayer?!



Planning out the gym and/or field, setting up the stage, audience chairs, sound system, lighting equipment, band and/or choir, podiums for guest speakers THEN on top of the sequence of events! Starting with the usual welcoming greeting, pledge to the flag, a song or 2 from the choir, multiple guest speakers that include the principal, the superintendent, usually small town city mayors (we're small town, our mayor speaks), then followed by student speakers which is usually the student council president and then finally class Valedictorian. The Administration has to approve of each guest speaker's speech, and then lo and behold an idiot kid usually changes his/her speech at the last minute. And the school may threaten to withhold the diploma, but it rarely happens. Somewhere in the list of speakers usually right before the convocation begins of handing out diplomas, there is a traditional Invocation:

Definition-a form of prayer invoking God's presence, esp. one said at the beginning of a religious service or public ceremony



No one is trumping religious rights-if you want to pray, then go pray before or after the ceremony. Have a prayer group prior to congregating. WHY on earth does anything religiously based be inserted into a public high school graduation and subject the entire audience to a moment of God's presence? Public high school graduation & a religious prayer have no connection! KEEP RELIGION OUT OF SCHOOL!



Well, it is a never-ending battle based on the region you live in. The majority has ZERO regard for the minorty. Tune in next time for the Bong Hits 4 Jesus Supreme Court case!

Emma - posted on 05/02/2010

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Why can they not have a moment or silent reflection, So each person can choose to do what they with with the moment if you want to say a prayer in you head than do so if not don't.

Iris - posted on 05/02/2010

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Iris P- People are going to feel uncomfortable wherever they go. Learning to accept people for their beliefs is part of life. Learning to accept people for their differences is part of maturity and life.



And that is exactly why I think that if you are going to pray to Jesus at your graduation then the Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Agnostics,Sikhs etc. should be encouraged to do the same. But I guess the graduation would really drag on if that would be done.

Basically, if ALL religions were respected and accepted as the Christian religion is in the USA then the Christian religion would be kept out of school, because we simply don't have time to cater to all the religions out there. But while we give one religion the right to be practiced at school, people of other religions will be uncomfortable.

Iris - posted on 05/02/2010

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"Students are allowed to pray where ever and whenever they want. You can not tell anyone when they can pray. If a certain student doesn't want to pray when others are then they don't have to. They can sit there and do their math homework. Everyone is entitled to their own religion and if you choose to not have one then that is ok. You should be respectful of other people's beliefs. The same as you would want other's to respect your ideas. It's rude and selfish to say that someone is being "involuntarily subjected to prayer". "



So if one was to stand up and say "I have no religion, I have no God, I believe in myself and my abilities alone." You don't think that would have any affect?

Let me put this from another angle.

It was voted in class and the majority won. Lets say that there were 12 Christians, 2 Muslims, 1 Hindu, 2 Jews and 3 atheists in the class. Is it fair? What if one of the Muslim said "I want to praise Allah for this day, can we vote on it?" Do you think it would get the majority of votes? I don't think so. And that's where I'm coming from. If you decide that some of the children can pray thanks at the graduation then I feel that they should go out of there way to let the children of other religion or none religious ones know that they can do the same thing. We should actually encourage them to do so because, quote: "Everyone is entitled to there own religion" . Now, if you do that the graduation becomes a total chaos and that's why I feel I stand corrected by saying, religion should stay outside the schools and work places.

What I am trying to say is that if other religious and non religious people would have the same respect then I wouldn't have a problem with it. But it isn't so and therefore I think religion should stay out of certain places.

Suzette - posted on 05/01/2010

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Karissa,



"Students are allowed to pray where ever and whenever they want. You can not tell anyone when they can pray. If a certain student doesn't want to pray when others are then they don't have to. They can sit there and do their math homework. Everyone is entitled to their own religion and if you choose to not have one then that is ok. You should be respectful of other people's beliefs. The same as you would want other's to respect your ideas. It's rude and selfish to say that someone is being "involuntarily subjected to prayer". "



It's not just students, parents, etc. that have a problem with this. The Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional, it's not just about respect of others rights. At the same time that you state "You should be respectful of other people's beliefs" then so should the people who are wanting to pray (regardless of what religion it is). It works both ways.



"In life you are constantly surrounded by things you don't want to hear or places you want to be, you can't think that somehow you are better than everyone else and you shouldn't be in the presence of something you disagree with."



I'm not quite sure where the "you're better than everyone else" came in, no one here said that in any of their posts from what I've read.



"If you don't smoke you can't go to court because you were leaving a restaurant you were subjected to second hand smoke from someone outside on the patio. It's ridiculous."

Actually, a person can be fined/cited if they're smoking within so many feet of a doorway, in certain states anyway. They have a smoking ban. (I'm not trying to be a smartaleck, it's the truth.)



"Students can't take their teachers to court because they are being "involuntarily subjected to education", it's dumb."

No but they can take that teacher to court if the teacher starts talking about prayer/religion in front of them. There are strict guidelines with the constitution and the separation of church and state. It's about everyone having equal rights. If one side is allowed to pray at a graduation, ceremony, or assembly, then you're elminating the others' rights. (Same in classrooms.)



"People are going to feel uncomfortable wherever they go. Learning to accept people for their beliefs is part of life. Learning to accept people for their differences is part of maturity and life."

That works for both sides, not just the side that "feels uncomfortable" about the prayer.

Karissa - posted on 05/01/2010

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< I fail to see the reason for them to have to pray at the spot and in the process make other people uncomfortable. />

Iris P- People are going to feel uncomfortable wherever they go. Learning to accept people for their beliefs is part of life. Learning to accept people for their differences is part of maturity and life.

Karissa - posted on 05/01/2010

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Students are allowed to pray where ever and whenever they want. You can not tell anyone when they can pray. If a certain student doesn't want to pray when others are then they don't have to. They can sit there and do their math homework. Everyone is entitled to their own religion and if you choose to not have one then that is ok. You should be respectful of other people's beliefs. The same as you would want other's to respect your ideas. It's rude and selfish to say that someone is being "involuntarily subjected to prayer". As if they are going to catch some strange disease from it or die.
I don't understand the logic behind this student. If he doesn't want to pray then he doesn't have to, but he has no right to say that someone else can't pray. In life you are constantly surrounded by things you don't want to hear or places you want to be, you can't think that somehow you are better than everyone else and you shouldn't be in the presence of something you disagree with.
If you don't smoke you can't go to court because you were leaving a restaurant you were subjected to second hand smoke from someone outside on the patio. It's ridiculous. Students can't take their teachers to court because they are being "involuntarily subjected to education", it's dumb.

Suzette - posted on 05/01/2010

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Christa,

I don't think you need to leave it between four walls every week, twice a week, or however many times you feel the need to attend church (as I know there are churches that hold services more than once a week).



However, I do feel that it's inappropriate to ask others to stand by while anyone, of any faith, decides to hold prayer at a ceremony that is for everyone. (It's also unconstitutional - at least at a public school, not just my feelings.) I do feel that if people (not just christians) feel that strongly about wanting to do such things, then yes they should look into a school that caters to religious services. (Whether it's catholic, christian, or whatever faith they happen to be.)



Talking about faith in public and giving prayer at a graduation, assembly, classroom at a public school are entirely different things in my opinion. It's also not just their special occasion, it's other people's as well. No one has to leave their faith at home, but being respectful of everyone else's faith should be required.

[deleted account]

Even if a class votes to include prayer, it is ultimately the principal and/or Governing Board that can make the decision to accept or decline the proposal. Sorry, but the kids DON'T necessarily have their way. Sorry, but the word God or Amen or any 1 minute prayer simply doesn't belong in a public school speech for any reason, no matter WHAT God you believe in. Keep it out of the school. Keep your prayer away from me in a public setting. The comment I made earlier about graduation being voluntary came from one of the case laws through the Supreme Court. No one forces a graduating student to attend, and kids decline going for lots of reasons. I also said I tend to suck it up and roll my eyes at graduation each year over it because it is the traditional routine and the majority of the community. I'm in the minority, so who the hell am I going to complain to? I suck it up. I also am quite active in the community, so for me personally I'd rather not draw attention to myself. It's the choice I make.

Christa - posted on 05/01/2010

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I'm annoyed that everyone keeps saying if they want to pray go to a Christian School. So if a Christian chooses to go to a public school they have to leave their faith at home? Again most of the class voted to allow this, so the majority is told they can't have this piece as part of their graduation because a few are butt hurt about it? Who are the ones not considering others rights and not celebrating our differences?

To those who decided to be smart asses about my last comment telling me to fellowship in Church. Real Christians take their faith with them and don't leave it between 4 walls every Sunday. We like to have that faith with us everyday and at OUR special occasions. It's part of who we are.

I'm getting a little tired of hearing how Christians need to hide their faith or not talk about it in public by those who are usually the ones running around screaming about tolerance.

Iris - posted on 05/01/2010

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I assume that if there were a persons of Islamic faith present, they left there prayer rug at home and during their morning prayer they might have thanked Allah for this day.

Why can't Christians do the same? Instead of taking it to the school why couldn't these kids meet up before the graduation at someones house or even at a near by church? I think that would have been more respectful to everyone. I fail to see the reason for them to have to pray at the spot and in the process make other people uncomfortable.

?? - posted on 05/01/2010

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Unless I'm completely mistaken, (which where I'm from, I know I'm not) it's the students that do the majority of the fund raising and it's the parents that pay for the ceremonies, the event, all the trimmings of a graduation. So if a class of students say vote to include a 1 minute 'prayer' as a part of their graduation, that they are paying for, I don't see where anyone has the right to say NO ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I can understand be cautious, trying to search out different ways to include it without it being a great big glop of CHURCH in the ceremonies, but to outright say no... not at all, ever, for any reason, in anyway........... that's equally as 'unconstitutional' as saying YES YES YES YES HALLELUAH ! AMEN PRAISE JESUS YES YES YES YES.

Like Carol's grad, some words of encouragement with a lil amen at the end isn't going to leave someone sitting in a jail cell rotting away cause their rights were squashed.

Anyways... I'll leave this one be cause it just doesn't make sense to me. It's not gonna kill, harm or destroy lives to include a few extra words amongst the billion other words being said that day that no one gives a shit about so I don't see what the issue is.

If it's the 'principal' of it all that bugs someone... I would have to assume the rest of that persons life is full of being offended over pointless shit and that's their own problem.

Full on praying that other people find jesus at grad is wrong. But giving thanks and appreciation to the ones sitting in front of them and looking down upon them isn't something to get worked up over.

IMHO.

Charlie - posted on 05/01/2010

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I guess my issue is the school has allowed it to happen at a major school function involving all students and parents , i wouldnt be comfortable if they voted to say a prayer in their own little class before begging lessons either , public schools should be separate , i see this as opening up public schools to increased religious activities and its just not the place for it , its all or nothing ( public or private ), we have a choice here of two schools one is public the other is catholic , we have decided to send Cooper to the public school for the exact reason i don't want his schooling mixed with religion in any way , if in the future he decides he is interested in religion he can pursue it outside of school .

Joanna - posted on 05/01/2010

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exactly, Christmas cards given out on break (or prayer during break) is different than a teacher led Santa Claus craft (or a teacher led baby Jesus in a manger craft). If it's on student's own time, they should be allowed to believe in what they want. But when a school is in charge, during school hours, or something like a graduation or prom, there shouldn't be any religion involved.

?? - posted on 05/01/2010

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That's what I mean... I can see this kind of thing being something that leads to absolutely nothing being allowed ever, under any circumstances.

I think it's all ridiculous.


From the OP it says "The case comes after the Greenwood High School class voted to allow prayer at their graduation."

The school didn't make any decisions, the class did.

Charlie - posted on 05/01/2010

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Wouldn't handing out Christmas cards and eggs be a little different , it would be done on his own time , say at lunch or before school , it wouldn't be a decision made by the school to make all students pass out cards or eggs , like if a christian decided he wanted to pray at lunch that would be fine , no one can tell him he cant say a prayer at lunch with friends .
Its personal choice , not a school decision IMO .

?? - posted on 05/01/2010

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If my son goes to a public school and he's told he can't give out christmas cards cause there's a Santa on the front of it... or give out easter eggs to his friends at school cause that's not what easters about...... or any number of other 'things' that religious people CAN get up in a huff about all because people can't accept something like a 1 minute thanks to the FSM or whoever and they HAD to go and make a big stink about it..... well then we've all fucked up the world for our children and we should all be ashamed that we've let it get to that point.

Joanna - posted on 05/01/2010

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I believe prayer shouldn't be allowed in any public school. If you want your children to go to a school that allows prayer, send them to a Christian school. I also think that if students who are religious go to public schools, they shouldn't have to be exposed to things THEY don't believe in, like having to do Santa Claus crafts in grade school, etc.

I believe in respect, no matter your denomination, no matter if you believe in God or Buddha or Satan, etc... don't make someone do something against their beliefs. Now that opens up the door of, if they don't want to hear the prayer they can cover their ears and not listen, but that could go for anything of that nature from any religion (as many people have mentioned, what about satanic rituals, if that's someone's religion?). So just wipe it all out, and if you want to pray at school, do it quietly with your friends who want to pray, in a prayer circle on your own time.

Suzette - posted on 05/01/2010

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Carol, I believe (not 100% sure) that since the website states it involves even non denominational prayer then that includes the exclusion of all spirituality.

Johnny - posted on 05/01/2010

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It seems like there are 2 different arguments going on here. One about whether or not any prayer AT ALL should be allowed at a graduation ceremony. And one about whether or not prayers for SPECIFIC religious groups should be allowed. Compete atheism vs. open spirituality vs. organized religion. I understand that SCOTUS prescribes the separation of church and state, but does that include the exclusion of all spirituality? (I'm honestly not sure)

?? - posted on 05/01/2010

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I understand the seperation of state and church... I know why it's there... I agree it needs to be there. I think it HAS to be there. If it weren't there... well.. this would be a whole different story.



I agree that it needs to be across the board. I'm saying for ME it's not worth the issue. If the words aren't geared to convert but just as a simple addition to the ceremonies as words of encouragement... there are much more offensive crap spewed at the graduations I've been too than 1 minute or less of a lil prayer or thank you or blessing or whatever people want to call it.



That's just the way I see it. People don't need to be up in arms over something that is relatively harmless. It's ridiculous and it takes away from the accomplishments of the students and undermines what a graduation ceremony generally focus' on; "entering the real world."

Suzette - posted on 05/01/2010

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Sara, no I didn't mean to say you did. Which is why I put that little disclaimer thingy at the top. lol.

I kind of went off on a little thingy about different religions after that... my mind got sidetracked, it happens sometimes. LOL. But that had nothing to do with you putting words in my mouth. It was all about what you said in regard to christian-centric and how this thread had somehow turned into such. (I knew you hadn't even attempted to put words in my mouth... I wasn't suggesting that. Sorry if it was implied that I thought so, sometimes I wish our tones could be better interpreted through typing.. lol)

About growing up...
I grew up in Arizona, where it's mainly Catholic, people will run into a lot of different religions there if you socialize a lot. Before that I was in Oregon until I was 7 yrs old, where I was is mostly Baptist. After 18 I traveled a lot in the South mostly, and it was an entirely different ball game. So I have friends who are all different religions. Especially now that I'm married into the military, but it's nice to know so many different people ... at least most of the time. lol. It can be difficult when you say something you didn't realize was offensive. (I'm working on that one!)

Sara - posted on 05/01/2010

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I'm just speaking from my little corner of the world, Suzette. I grew up not far from where the OP is taking place and live about an hour from there now, so that's the culture I'm referencing...didn't mean to put words in your mouth. I certainly believe that no one religion belongs in the public sector....though I can admit I do have some "issues" with Christianity.

Suzette - posted on 05/01/2010

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Sara,
I don't believe any of my posts have been geared towards Christians, if they have even implied so then I apologize to the Christians in this thread. (Not saying that you said that I have, just putting it out there!) =)

That being said, I don't like to presume everyone is of a certain religion, if I did that then I would've presumed my husband was Christian when, in fact, he's Wiccan. When we sit down at a table and people want to pray, they all do so in their heads, as does he. No one infringes upon anyone's rights as to who is what. We know plenty of people who are religious, we're friends with quite a few of them. We talk about religion (civilly - if you can imagine... lol) and while we may not agree about certain things, we leave the conversation at just an agreement to disagree. It's refreshing to have people to do that with, as many people I've known in the past (both religious and non believers) are unable to do so. (Of all religions.)

I believe it's extremely unfortunate (not to mention sad) that Christians have such a horrible reputation. I've known some Catholics (not to give them a bad reputation or to talk down about them) that are far worse than the Christians I've met. And, some of those Catholics are in my own family! I've had to let them know that religion is a topic I'm unwilling to discuss with them because they can't be civil about it.

If I had to choose which religious group was worse (from the people I've known) between Christian and Catholic, I'd tell you now it was Catholic. (and not all of them, just the majority of those I've known.)

Of course, that's totally off topic. It's not about which religion is worse or who is forcing what on whom. It's about the fact that religion doesn't have a place, regardless of whether it's a simple prayer or not, in public schools.

Sara - posted on 05/01/2010

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I agree Suzette! The thing is, no one is stopping anyone from praying, it's just being stated that there should not by organized prayer at a public school. What angers me about this whole argument is that it seems very christian-centric. I never assume in a group of people that everyone is a christian, and wanting to pray at a graduation just assumes that. No one is trying to take away Christian's rights or sweep them under the rug, but I think people are trying to keep Christianity from influencing so many facets in the public sector.

Suzette - posted on 05/01/2010

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I agree Sara, it's not because of my religious affiliation or any dislike towards any other religion, or being "afraid" of any other religion. I believe it's set that way in laws to respect one another's religions, not for disrespect.

I also believe if people want to pray in school, they should be in a private religious school. Just an opinion.

Sara - posted on 05/01/2010

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The point for me is that prayer does not belong at a graduation ceremony at a public school, period. That's my opinion.

Suzette - posted on 05/01/2010

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Jo,
This has been decided for a long time by the Supreme Court, the whole prayer thing and it being unconstitutional. A case comes up every once in a while that starts a whole new debate and gets people upset.

I highly doubt that just because another case came up that now they're going to have something about prom dresses and tux's chosen for the entire class. Though, in my opinion, I think some of the dresses the girls wear now are a little too revealing. lol. I wouldn't let my daughter wear that crap, I know that much!! (off topic... sorry!)

There's a lot of cultures who take offense to shaking hands, well depending on which hand you use.

"being a decent person and letting other people be happy and feel like their graduation day is complete"
This should apply across the board... not just for those that are religious but those that are not as well.

?? - posted on 05/01/2010

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I don't think that you can take prayer away from anyone, ever.

So if that is what sparks some sort of religious revolutionary war... well then there's bigger issues that need to be addressed.

Prayer could be done before or after the ceremonies, in all reality. The people who wish to have that a part of their graduation day could all agree to go to the left or right of the stage after the ceremonies are complete and have their families join them there to say a prayer and then continue on the day.

I don't see the necessity of it though. Why make a big issue about this, and what's next? Prom dresses and tuxedo's are going to be chosen for the whole class so that no one is offended? Graduation will be nothing more than handing the student the certificate and walking away, if this kind of crap is actually entertained.

What if someone takes offense to shaking hands? Or bowing, or bad jokes or whatever....... being a decent person and letting other people be happy and feel like their graduation day is complete seems like a bigger "reward" than making sure those damn bible thumpers know that we don't want their stupid words in our graduation ceremony....... :\

Suzette - posted on 05/01/2010

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Krista,
I know the place you're talking about!! I don't go there because... oh yeah, the last time I went to a church where people "share faith with others around them" they weren't very nice people. Now I know that not all people who go to church are like that, I'm not saying that they are. (not in any way whatsoever! As I know many that are very nice, respectful, people.) But, I also changed my views since the last time I went to a church too. But that's neither here nor there.

Suzette - posted on 05/01/2010

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"Sometimes people just like to share their faith with others (believers) around them. They like to be able to say "wasn't it nice when blah blah was said". Sometimes it's nice to hear how another gives their thanks and praise. It's not always about you non-believers."

This is one reason it's not allowed in public schools. Because it's not all about religious people or religious views either, just the same it's not about non-believers. It's about everyone, and the only way to keep it fair is to not have it there at all. If it's there then one side thinks it's unfair and if it's not the other side thinks it's unfair. So the only way to have a middle ground is for it to be non-existent in that forum. It's not about non-believers winning, because those who are religious still have the right to go off and pray on their own. If they were "winning" that wouldn't be allowed either. The whole shebang would be banned entirely.
Honestly, most athiests I know could give a flying rats behind about whether people believe in some sort of higher power or not, just as long as they don't have to listen to the religious stuff. It's about respect.

Krista - posted on 05/01/2010

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"Sometimes people just like to share their faith with others (believers) around them. They like to be able to say "wasn't it nice when blah blah was said". Sometimes it's nice to hear how another gives their thanks and praise."



I seem to recall there already being a place for that, if memory serves me. Hm....starts with a "c"....I think it rhymes with "lurch"....darn, it's right on the tip of my tongue.



Ah well, I'm sure it'll come to me.

Jessica - posted on 05/01/2010

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"I've heard some talk as though they are planning for the next revolutionary war. I think this is a bit extreme, but if people already feel this way imagine how that will increase the more things that are taken away from someone who is religious"



Haha I'm sorry but all I could think (and it doesn't really have much to do with this thread) was " Another war started in the name of religion?! Imagine that!"

Christa - posted on 05/01/2010

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If that's how you want to view it. You are so cynical towards religion that you can't look past that people are not always trying to convert you. Sometimes people just like to share their faith with others (believers) around them. They like to be able to say "wasn't it nice when blah blah was said". Sometimes it's nice to hear how another gives their thanks and praise. It's not always about you non-believers.

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