[Indiana] Valedictorian Sues to Stop High School Graduation Prayer

That’s the problem with freedom of religion – everyone gets to be free from everyone else’s religion.

"The top-ranked senior at a suburban Indianapolis high school is asking a federal judge to stop a graduation prayer that the class voted to approve.

The lawsuit by 18-year-old Eric Workman says the prayer and the vote at Greenwood High School unconstitutionally subject religious practice to majority rule.

The senior class voted on the graduation prayer at a school assembly in September. The lawsuit contends the vote and the prayer violate the First Amendment.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed suit Thursday on behalf of Workman on in federal court in Indianapolis.

The suit says Workman is first in his class and expects to speak at graduation. A message was left with school officials seeking comment."


While I disagree with the wording of your first statement (i.e. if an individual wished to invoke their god in their valedictorian speech, I would have no problem), I do agree with the ruling. I don’t think that a majority-voted, group prayer meant for the student body is appropriate at a public school.

I disagree. I would also like to see the text of the prayer. In our public schools, a local pastor is always invited to say an opening prayer and give a benediction at graduation. The senior class doesn’t even vote on it.

To me, it’s a fine line that is constantly crossed by people on both sides of the debate. I have no problem with a speaker who makes religious comments, an individual praying in school or groups of students praying together in on-campus clubs or demonstrations. The nutters on the Left who believe in squelching those activities don’t have a good understanding of what freedom of religion means imo. However, I don’t think it appropriate for a majority of students to vote on a prayer for the whole student body to pray together, a teacher or administrator leading prayer, etc.

I guess I’m on the fence about inviting a minister, priest, rabbi, etc. to say an opening prayer and benediction. They start Congress that way from my understanding, so I’m not sure what the distinction is there. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ACLU is trying to put an end to starting Congress with prayer.

I agree. A Mormon and a Catholic family that challenged the Santa Fe Texas Independent School District’s policy of allowing student-led prayers before high school football games had their case upheld by the Supreme Court. The court ruled that these prayers violate the US Constitution’s first amendment, which prohibits the “establishment of religion.”

Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens said, “School sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.” The school district was almost wholly Southern Baptist and the two “outsider” families were not invited to participate in the policy.

I got into an argument with a “Christian” along the same lines some years ago who wanted school prayer, and when I suggested that Monday be Catholic prayer day, Tuesday, Jewish day, Wednesday Moslem/Buddhist/minor religion day, Thursday Protestant prayer day, and Friday Evangelical prayer day, they didn’t care for the idea all of a sudden. :wink:

Thank you, Auguste Comte. What you are describing is not “freedom of religion”… you are describing the atheist religion of Laicism. It is an apostasy.

Hey - not a bad idea! However, you would probably have to go to one day per month. The ADF Druids, Zoroastrians and such would be upset if they were left out. On the flip side the Universalist Unitarians would have prayer every day…that’s not fair! :mad: :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

Nothing like exploring the possible consequences of Prayers in the Public Schools to make people reconsider how good an idea it is. :wink:

Well, I disagree. There’s no way I can freely practice my religion if I have to be inundated with yours.

Inundated? Wow…a little overstatement there. :stuck_out_tongue: btw…since Adeodatus is a Catholic, what inundation by a Catholic’s religion would keep you from freely practicing your religion? :confused:

While I agree with the ruling, even if the majority-voted prayer was done, I don’t think it would have stopped anyone from freely practicing their religion. That is just nonsense.

Freedom of religion - not from religion. Hearing someone else pray does not effect an individuals capacity to practice their own faith. :shrug:

I’m sure that I could still be a Catholic in a majority Muslim United States where Muslim prayer was offered at a baccalaureate…that’s assuming they would hold on the the Constitution, of course. :wink:

This always reminds me of how lucky I was to graduate from a Catholic high school, where a full mass proceeded the graduation ceremony.

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