Monday School: Religious ignorance paraded at high school graduations

I sincerely apologize for the three week absence, but I wasn’t feeling well and I didn’t write much over the last few weeks. The good news is that I’m back and here to finally resume your “Rational Corrective To All That Nonsense You Learned Yesterday”

Today I’m going to talk about a few articles I read a few weeks ago. Over the last month, students across the States are graduating from high school. One chapter of their life is ending and a new one is about to begin. This is a special moment for many student because it might be their only graduation unless they move on to a high institution which honestly not everyone does. This is why some people take the ceremony so seriously.

How seriously you might ask? Well, schools have a policy where all speeches given by graduating students have to be approved by the faculty prior to the ceremony. This makes sense cause the last thing you want is someone special day to be ruined by something controversial or offending said from the pulpit. This day should be fun and exciting and approving the speeches prior to the ceremony is the school’s way of trying to make sure people don’t try to hijack the event for political or personal interests.

There have been a few incidents at graduations over the last few weeks that have gone viral. Some valedictorians have tried to stray from their approved speeches in an attempt to protest the policy and exercise a little free speech, which completely ignores the idea of trying to prevent graduations from being political and/or controversial. There are two different incidents that were handled differently by their respective schools.

The first incident occurred in South Carolina, when their valedictorian was addressing the graduating class from Liberty High School of Pickens County. Rather than read his pre-approved speech, Roy Costner the fourth ripped up his speech and proceeded to give the Lord’s Prayer. His reason for doing this was to protest the policy that there be no prayers given during the ceremony because it was a public school, and we all know that public schools are not allowed to sanction acts of religion. By not allowing the prayer, they were not bullying this kid or his graduating class but they were following the law. The United States has a separation of church and state clearly written in their constitution. If they wanted to recite a prayer at their graduation, these students should have attended a private school that allowed it and not a pubic school.

This kid was acting as a representative of the school at a public school function while reciting a Christian prayer. This makes it a clear cut violation of the establishment clause because he was promoting one specific religion, and that religion’s rituals. If this brat had said something like “I thank God for giving me the brains to be here today,” then there wouldn’t be a constitutional issue here. Instead this brat chose to break the very law that gives him the right to hold his beliefs without someone else imposing a different religion upon him. Costner should be chastised for what he did, not commended.

This kid had the honour to address his graduating class, to make a speech that every kid might remember for the rest of their lives and use to inspire themselves as they move on towards the next chapters of their lives.

So what does this kid decide to do?

He lies.

The last time I checked didn’t this kid’s God not approve of that kind of behavior? I’m sure he even dedicated a commandment to it.

Regardless of God’s insistence, this brat chooses to lie to the administrators of his school about what he was going to do. He lied to the administrators when he wrote a speech and handed it in for their approval. How can anyone, especially future employers or colleges be able to trust this kid when he can’t even be honest with his high school about the speech he plans to give at a very sacred ceremony? This abuse of his position as valedictorian speaks volumes about this kids character, or lack there of in this case.

Now I wonder… how many people would be cheering if he had praised Allah and recited an Islamic prayer?

I doubt they’d be defending his right to free speech if it was a prayer for anything but their own Christian deity. Complete hypocrisy.

Now I know what you’re thinking… what could the school have done about it?

The answer is a lot simpler than you think. They could have turned his mic off and removed him from the stage. This is exactly what happened this month when another valedictorian tried to stray from his approved speech less than a week after the Costner incident in South Carolina.

When giving his speech in Texas, a student had his mic turned off when he went off page from his approved speech. When it was clear that he wasn’t going to return to his pre-approved speech, they turned his mic off until he was removed from the stage and his speech cancelled. This is what the school in South Carolina should have done.

Also, I think my favourite part of this is how these schools claim they can’t do anything because the student in question has already graduated.

This is simply not true.

Another school district is holding a girls diploma and fining her $1000 for wearing an eagle feather during graduation. I think both of those valedictorians should be given the same punishment for something that I think is far worse than wearing a feather at the ceremony. I think once diplomas are withheld and fines are given out, we’ll see less kids straying from their approved speeches. They were deceitful, dishonest and made a public mockery of their school on a day they are supposed to celebrate the graduation of their senior class. I honestly think both of these young men should face the consequences of their chosen actions… something that will happen to them if they decide to be this stupid in the real world.

So what do you think? Should these students have their diplomas withheld for lying about their prepared speeches and ruining what was supposed to be a golden memory for their fellow students?



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