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June 3rd, 2011
01:46 PM ET

Prayer Banned at High School Graduation

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Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. Barbara Johnson

    It is comforting to know that there is separation from Church and State as illustrated by this action taken at the High School Graduation. It is important to respect those who pray and those who don't when graduating our students. I'm sure they all know how to say 'silent prayers'...if it something they need to do.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  2. robb

    Don't pray in school and I won't think in your church. These people need to learn that they need to keep their beliefs out of public life.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  3. s

    no prayer!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  4. June

    Wow....I can only imagine if the Validictorian wanted to say, "Praise Allah and Mohammad" at the graduation...what would the girls lawyer be saying then?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  5. Chris Wright

    School is not a place for religion. There are others at the school who may not believe in the same religion or the same god and they should not feel obligated and pressured to participate in a ritual that they don't agree with. Are we going to allow Muslims or Nazi's or other beliefs to be expressed and ritualized at graduations?

    Thx,
    Chris

    June 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  6. Tony

    I think if she wants to pray that she should pray to herself it doesnt need to be part of her speech asking others to join her in prayer. its ridiculous and I get so tired of everyone cowering to christians out of "respect". What respect have they earned?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  7. Alan

    No, no person should be subjected to another's supplication to a God that they don't believe in. This imposes unnecessary discomfort to the non-believing listener, and is a selfish behavior on the part of the prayer giver.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  8. Marie Moore

    One nation under God.....

    Our country needs more prayer, especially in our schools.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  9. Carol Koller

    Yes, it should be banned. We don't have prayer in school so why should it be forced upon us during graduation? What if a Muslim Iman asked to pray during the ceremony? Would these same people be concerned about religious freedom then?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  10. Cindy

    What happened to freedom of speech? One child is stopping prayer at graduation when many students want to have prayer. This country is founded on Majority Rules. Let the school vote and the majority should decide whether prayer will be a part of their graduation. People who believe in God are being discriminated against. This boy is not showing any tolerance for the beliefs of others. If he objects and the majority believes in prayer, then he should either be tolerant or skip graduation

    June 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  11. Chris

    We are getting away from what this Great Country was built on. Just becuase you have one's and two's that don't want to pray, don't punish the people who like to pray. I am sure that in the court room where the ruling was made, somewhere in the room had, "IN GOD WE TRUST". I guess since they can't pray then they can't take money to school either. But everyone lets Muslims pray 5 times a day in school and says nothing. People need to get over themselves.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  12. Jim

    I think it is a disgrace that these students or anyone at any function would be banned from praying. These people who are against prayer are obviously afraid of something...it is time we all stand up and say enough is enough. One Nation Under God! God and prayer are probably the only stable thing we have left in this country. I guess the fact that most Americans seem to believe in prayer says something about the majority.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  13. Brian Stenerson

    Of course a person deserves the right to not be exposed to subject material which they find offensive, however, it doesn't preclude another from expressing those same views.

    In an educational institution, these matters are extremely contested, after all, this is where individuals learn who they are, and how to express themselves in their lives. It is no wonder that we are going to see contention.

    Protection of an individual's right to express themselves is one of the most important and fundamental rights, and responsibilities we face.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  14. Race Sorden

    As a Secular Humanist, I support the ruling. This is government-sponsored prayer forcing every Non-Christian at that school into a state of personal discomfort. If the Valedictorian wants to pray with a group before or after the ceremony, that's absolutely fine, but overall, this ceremony should be completely neutral on religious matters. Freedom of Religion includes Freedom from Religion.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  15. David Heath

    I wonder what would be the reaction if the prayer that was made was made to"Allah" or Satan" or "Neptune". Can't the young lady make a silent prayer, apparently they are supposed to work?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  16. heidi

    It's not right that one person is agnostic and the rest should not pray. Don't you think that the others right and freedom to pray is being violated as well?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Zachary

    Religion should take no place in school unless it is being contrasted in an academic reasoning. Prayer is supposed to a private matter between the person and "god" or "Higher Power." If a muslim was in her place would they be allowed to thank their god and their religion I think not. This young woman is speaking to a diverse culture of their classmates and sending them off to a better life of college down the road. It is a privledge to speak with restriction. While First Admendment is freedom of speech that speech is due to limitations. I cannot say bomb on an air plane or talk about gay relationships in school so what makes one thing right and the other thing wrong to speak of.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  18. Gary

    Get a life. Sports stars talk about how God has impacted their life and give thanks to him. Are they sued? The President states God Blees America. Are you going to sue him? Your just looking for easy money.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  19. Zaphod

    This issue is settled law. If the valedictorian gives a prayer at graduation, the school should revoke her diploma for failing to understand the basic concepts taught in social studies (i.e., separation of church and state, and rule of law) and she should be jailed for violating the court order.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  20. steve w

    TEXAS. Of all the great states is allowing the liberal (alpha hotels)
    dictate that prayers can not be said in a high school graduation.

    Come on texas, stand up to your right to speak.

    I bet that 99.9% of America is saying yes to prayer.

    And I dont do church.....

    Steve W
    Fort Mohave AZ

    June 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  21. Lou-Ohio

    My Son was also this class Valedictorian and he was NOT subject to censorship on his address..His entire address centered around Bible passages and what they meant to him personally..I should say that neither his Mother nor I are outwardly religious people and we raised him to think for himself....Ms. Khan is WRONG.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  22. Marie Cavins

    What about the civil rights of the Valedictorian? She she has the right to pray when and where she desires. The person who does not want to have prayer can just be silent in respect. We should all respect the other persons rights

    June 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  23. Stephen Charchuk

    This is a Separation of Church and State issue and it is correct that the schools should remain religion-neutral. If this girl wanted religion to be such a big part of her life she should have went to a private religious school or stayed home-school and not gotten a real education.

    -Stephen
    Yarmouth, NS Canada

    June 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  24. Max M. Anderson

    I do not believe it should be allowed, I mean its a high school graduation celebrating a time where students become adults, moving onto the real world and or continue ones education at college, this is not a church gathering ceremony.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  25. Joe Sorge

    We are a nation under God. The history of our country was formed based on religious beliefs. Our first amendment to the constitution preserves our right to believe, not believe, and praise God how we (citizens) see fit. The fact that one idiot decided to take this issue to court infringed upon the rights of the other students at the school who want/choose to believe. I'm for the Valedictorian. I hope she does pray and follows through on her plans during her graduation. She won't go to jail!! If she does go to jail, blessings be to her.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  26. Antoine

    Even as a Christian, I strongly believe in the separation of church and state, but this case does seem a little over-the-top. But be that as it may, if the valedictorian was Muslim or Hindu and prayed as such, you know good 'n well that those Texans would have a fit!! Let's be real...

    June 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  27. Katharine Schendel

    Banning prayer in schools, at various functions, etc., infringes upon my rights–and the rights of other–as Christian citizen(s) of the United States. Freedom of Speech applies to everyone–not just to atheists.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  28. Joe

    Everyone has the right to pray, anytime they want. But they do not have the right to hijack a public secular event and make everyone else sit through their prayers.

    Any public high school graduation has an audience that represents many different religious beliefs. Christians need to stop forcing their beliefs on the rest of us.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  29. Keon

    When a person is truly and deeply engaged in prayer, it is a very personal experience. Personal prayers should be done in private simply out of respect for others with different views. A graduation is not a church, it is celebration for people of many different faiths.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  30. Youssef

    I understand both sides of the problem, but what if this was a student who was of a different religion and wanted to pray? Would they have that same right? Would the tables be turned and the public said hey you can't do that and have them banned for praying to a different God than the general public? I believe that we should respect the religion of others, respect means to me Go ahead and stand up, It doesn't mean I need to pray to that particular Deity, but to my own, We don't have a right to force our religion on others but we have the right to express our beliefs without "irreparable" harm to others who if they are going this far as to sue, should be strong enough in their faith to not have that "harm" affect them.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  31. charlie b

    most religeons are based partly on not judging and always loving others
    we should let al belifes and faiths flourish and not judge and prvent others from practicing their faith

    June 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  32. Rose

    You have to treat this matter from various perspectives. What if the valedictorian was not a Christian but from a different one. What would happen then? Imagine the student is a Muslim, and starts reciting psalms from the Quran. What the reaction be then? If praying is allowed at the graduation ceremony, then the consequences should be tolerated. The school cannot prohibit students from different religions to pray and only allow Christians the priviledge.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  33. Drayton Thomas

    As someone who is not religious, I often feel uncomfortable when everyone around me enters into prayer and I feel pressured to do the same. That being said, I still think it is the valedictorian's right to deliver her address in any manner she deems fit. I fully support the separation of church and state, but that is a requirement of the government, not of a high school senior. If one of the high school administrators attempted to lead the audience in prayer, I would take issue. But this valedictorian wishes to act as an individual, whose freedom of speech and religion must be protected by the federal government, not hindered by it.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  34. Gary

    You want to know why this country is in such bad shape,,,, GOD has left the stage

    June 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  35. Rigoberto Romero

    Praying belongs at home not at school.......It shows arrogance when someone prays in a school not humility ........

    June 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  36. Emily

    There is no reason why you can't just pray at home or on the way or afterwards! but there is no reason to try and lead a diverse group of people in a bias prayer! Its offensive to those who do not have your same views. just be respectful.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  37. Pam Thompson

    Um, unless my memory fails me, our country was established on freedom of religion. Anyone and everyone who wants to pray – no matter his/her religion – should be allowed to pray. Those who have no religion just have to deal.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  38. theorycraft

    I don't see the problem with prayer at school... If a classmate were to pray to allah or gaia during my graduation, I'd be okay with it–from the perspective of one culture looking into another. I may not bow my head personally but I can recognize the speaker's faith and appreciation for his/her deity. Texas is a religious state, and I agree that government places should remain neutral, never forcing or censoring any religious practices. But people should be allowed to practice in public just as people should be allowed to abstain from public expressions of faith. We don't want to become as bad as the radicals which terrorize their countries simply because others don't conform to sharia law.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  39. Carolynn Young

    The U.S. Constitution is clear. Separation of church (religion) and state) Texas. Amen!!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  40. laurie

    As far as the Judge whom ruled no prayer at the High School Graduation should burn in Hell! This takes away from our religous rights. What harm is it going to cause if the graduating class was blessed. It's a good thing. For those of whom who don't believe in God, should just stand there and reflex with there own thoughts and also silently wich their follow students a happy and prosperous future!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  41. Conservative Viewer

    I agree with the separation clause in the constitution, but freedom of speech is key to many aspects of our national foundation, and the media defends it every day in one form or another. Seems as if the Validictorian should win on appeal. She can introduce her prayer and say that her prayer is her way of expressing her own views and beliefs, and no one has to stand or sit or be obliged to do anything, People of faith talk about God in public forums every day. The President says "God bless America" after every speech, and no one asks for an injunction to stop that, and he IS the Government. This country was founded on values of equality for all, Irrepairable harm? c'mom! The agnostics have stretched it too far. The dollar bill, printed by the Government, says: IN GOD WE TRUST. Do the agnostics want an injunction to stop printing money?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  42. Yvonne Rudley

    Banning Prayers IS AGAINST THE FIRST AMMENDMENT.

    I don't believe that anyone should be forced to pray, but definitely not banned from praying.

    Believers are told to pray by God.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  43. Jos

    It is clear that one can not make people free by taking away their freedoms. It makes no sense to enforce freedom by taking away someone else's freedom. I don't know how the attorney advocating this case can take herself seriously. There is hardly any risk in a theocracy taking the place of democracy in the U.S. just because a couple of young adults want to pray at a graduation.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  44. Will

    There's nothing keeping the young lady from having a private prayer. But it's time to stop forcing public prayer on those who don't want it or feel shunned for not participating. Churches and homes are the place for prayer. Not schools, football games, opening sessions of Congress, etc.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  45. Mitchell

    No, she should not be able to push her religious beliefs on others at a public-school ceremony. As an agnostic myself, I feel any agnostic or atheist forced to sit through a prayer at a public school is an infringement of their First Amendment rights and the Separation of Church and State doctrine of our Constitution . The ceremony is paid for by taxpayers, therefor the stage is a expression of Government. In this country, we do not go to school-ceremonies for prayer services. Leave it for Sunday, and spare the rest of us that don't believe what you believe!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  46. Brian Stenerson

    Here's another thought:

    Why does the person choose to attend such an institution as this? They do it because of the reputation of the school. Part of that reputation was premised upon these blessings which passing students inspire each other with, and also inspire those who follow.
    Those who choose to attend, do so at their own peril. This is the bottom line. They made the decision long before to endure this suffering in order to attain the coveted degree, so when did they take it on themselves to change the institution? I must have missed that policy change!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  47. Andrew

    No one is banning prayer. The court just ruled that the right to pray does not include the right to force other people to pray with you. It's time for good Christians to speak up: Our faith can stand on its own without the strong arm of the government enforcing it.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  48. Pete

    Why should non-christians attending this graduation be forced to listen to public expressions of faith in childish fantasy? Why can't the valedictorian, and others who want to pray at the ceremony, say a silent prayer to themselves? I don't care if someone wants to believe in a god, a comic book hero, or a golden all-knowing unicorn, but I don't believe that I should have to listen to and endure their ridiculous religious fantasies. Pray at your church, pray at home, pray in your private prayer groups, pray in the park where people who don't want to hear it can walk away, but do NOT pray at venues where I am forced to listen to it. Religion was invented by MAN for the sole purpose of giving a few power over many, and is the biggest con job in history.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  49. Sam Conant

    While I believe in "Freedom of Religion," I believe also in "Freedom from Religion."

    If the Austin, Texas valedictorian wants to pray, she can certainly stand at the podium and pray silently without oratory, thus not imposing her personal religious beliefs on those in the audience who do not believe as she does.

    I am fed up with the imposition by others who have a need to pray loudly anywhere they get the urge, and believe my spiritual self should not be subjected to others religious oratory.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  50. Ryan

    I wonder what the Christian girl would be doing if a muslim was validictorian and wanted to pray during the ceremony? My guess is joining the agnostic in the lawsuit to stop her.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  51. Mike Reaves

    Absolutely let her pray, The only rights violated here are the valedictorians. This is nor organized school led prayer. I s this what we've allowed to happen that we have to check with the authorities before we speak!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  52. Kenny Manning

    The Bible solves this problem. Matthew 6:5-6.
    5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  53. Howard Chud

    Whenever a school tries to do what is just following the law, there are those who want to try and bypass the decision. Banning prayer at graduation exercises is not something new. Just because a student is given the opportunity to be the class valedictorian does not give her any right to hide behind that opportunity to break the law. Freedom of speech and separation of church and state applies no matter how few people are protesting her hiding a prayer with her speech. Don't blame those individuals for demanding that the law be upheld. If the speaker has a problem with it, she can take it to the Supreme Court and argue it there.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  54. Joyce Hayden

    Silent prayer works. God hears those prayers, too.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  55. Jane

    I am so sick of christians trying to hijack the rest of us by forcing us to listen to their hateful message. Don't they realize this just turns us off and makes us resent their religion? I was raised strictly christian but will no longer be part of a group that is so hateful of others and their beliefs. No prayer in schools. It is disrespectful of others with different beliefs and clearly banned in our constitution.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  56. Bob Plympton (Gainesville Fl)

    Prayer is a God given right to anyone who would dare to believe in an all knowing, all wise, all powerful being.capable of accomplishing anything. It is afforded to everyone. No one has a right to deny anyone this privaledge.You go girl! Don't forget to pray for the judge that is confused.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  57. ms*

    The school is just trying to protect themselves since everyone now a days causes a BIG DEAL over religion and how prayer effects people of other religions. If you do not want to pray with everyone else just sit back and be quite. Just because some people believe a different way does not give them the right to stop everyone else from giving thanks. People look for any reason to play the "religion card" lets let the government do their job and stop wasting their time.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  58. Rick

    I have no problem with people wanting to say prayer but it should be done at a religious event not at a high school graduation. I can understand why it will make someone who does not believe in religious and should not feel uncomfortable being at their own graduation. There is no right or wrong decision here but have to respect both sides but this is a public high school event not a church event. If you were to reverse the role, say the student who don't believe in religious and went to a church event and said I don't want to say a prayer. Well, you will have the same argument. Why not go to a private catholic school if they wanted to say a prayer at their graduation.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  59. Joe

    If the student speaking was a Wickian and gave a prayer that could be considered witchcraft or a Moslem would there be the same support from Christians for prayer. I have found that Christians believe that prayer and a belief in God is their exclusive privilege.
    I have been forced many times to be part of Christian religious ceremonies like praying while in the military. But there has never been a Moslem or Buddhist prayer allowed to be given. The US government has institutionalized the support for Christianity.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  60. charlie b

    if these people dont like our freedom or freedom of religion move to a nother country

    June 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  61. linda

    The valedictorian earned the right to speak so she should be able to pray. The Judge said didn't want to sponsor a religion; well, it's time someone sponsored it because look at the kids of today. They have no morals, certainly no role models. I was ashamed of Lady Gaga on American Idol....this is our kids of tomorrow. Wake up America and stand up for religion. God is slowly being phased out of everything and then sudden destruction.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  62. Lydia

    I just had my graduation today. I'm not sure what I would have done if one of my classmates had gone up to speak and asked the audience to pray with them. My school is very diverse; we have people of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist faith and some who aren't religious at all. I believe that people shouldn't pray at school because you never really know who will be listening and you might be asking someone to pray to a different God or a God that they don't even believe exists. As for the First Amendment; you do have the right of freedom of religion and speech but in public schools you need to be aware of all those around you. In this particular case if you desperately feel the need to pray then you can attend a religious private school.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  63. Catherine

    i personally find this disrespectful to the many other students at this commencement. Many of these students are religious and many are not. It is showing respect to those who have been chosen to allow them to pass on their experience at school. This to me is selfish and egotistic. Believing ones beliefe is better than some one elses. the difference this girl was chosen maybe at the end they could have a hindu prayer. THANK GOD i go to private school.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  64. charlie b

    seems like the guy whos complainings rlegion is awfull judgemental
    he should keep his mouth ss=hut and let the higher power be the judge

    June 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  65. Daniel Harris

    I spent four years in the army this basic right is what soldiers are dying for protect our rights.This is no surprise the government is taking our rights one ammendment at a time. Once again Christians are under attack of course thats not really breaking news, but if the Validvictorian wants to pray as a part of her speach thats her right.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  66. Angellsmith - Texas native

    Graduations in Texas ROUTINELY include "the prayer" as a part of the program – and IT IS WRONG. As the 3rd in his graduating class, nephew was required to read one at his high school graduation – and it was handed to him to read – not something he wrote or even wanted to read. Most school administrators in Texas assume everyone is a Christian – students who follow another faith, or don't have a faith tradition, are ignored and expected to just follow along.

    Anyone can pray whenever they choose to – and a church or baccalaureate ceremony is the right place for communal prayer in a specific faith. Our American values and our Constitution protect the rights of the minority and we must protect the rights of non-Christians from Kelly Shackleford and others who strive to oppress them.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  67. JayMee Richens

    Third try Cnn site hates my comment~
    Was longer and better however I gotta GO!~

    1 HER EARNED right to speak AS Valedectorian is being censured~That DOES violate the Constitution. Let the little Pagan earn their right to speak how THEY will~

    2 The majority want and understand the power of prayer..it is called Democracy. Just because they stripped the kid of his power gives them no right to strip others.

    3 Exclusion of God is a COMMUNIST inspired tactic to drag America back down. Separation of church and state is from Marx NOT the founding fathers who were Christians wanting all to excercise their faiths or not by choice!~Here it is freedom TO, There it is freedom FROM...their people are here now legislating..look into it!~

    4 The Native Americans prophesied that they would "see America come and go" as the great spirit becomes banned and mocked.

    5 The Judge is legislating NOT enforcing laws!

    6 The parents of the child want to control everyone else because the lawless HATE the creator!~

    7 Stripping us of our God is trying to strip us of our power, favor and blessings..the proof is ALL around us!~

    "And the free EXCERCISE thereof"~the Constitution!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  68. LaBonnie Copeland Allen

    In reference to the young lady who is being banned from praying at her high school graduation, this nation was founded on Christian principles and we have moved further and further away from these principles. My position is that we should pray without ceasing and acknowledge that there is a greater power; that power who gave man his intellect in the first place and can take it away. That power that can destroy in a matter of seconds if He chooses to do so. That power that can hurl transit trucks, cars, freight trains, airplanes, houses, steel buildings several stories high in the air as if they were toys. That power that can smash everything to rubble. That power which can cause the rise and the fall of civilizations due to disobedience and hot-headedness, That power from which all wisdom comes. The weather, earthquakes, floods, are spoken of Biblically in both the Old and New Testaments. That power that even the winds obey Man just doesn't get it yet.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  69. Malissa

    This is insanity! What are we thinking? Did we notice that when prayer was taken out of school by Madeline Ohare the school system and the students went astray. These same people who want to take God out of everything are often the same people calling on God in times of trouble or grief. We say "God bless America", the money says "in God we trust. REALLY! The scriptures say "God honors those who honor Him". When will we bless and honor God more. In this world we live in we need God's help . Wake up people! Get a grip!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  70. Todd Lowery

    The freedom of speech should supersede any claim to censor speech in most instances. The banning of prayer would be appropriate in the instance of a representative of the government requiring students to observe prayer. In this instance, a fellow student is voluntarily expressing her view. The key operative term is voluntarily, no one is twisting her arm. Additionally, there is the freedom of religion, of which no one is denying the agnostic person. So the question arises: How does an agnostic person have the power to deny a religious valedictorian a claim to expressing her views in her own graduation speech? It seems like the constitutional rights of the speaker are in more of a violation than the rights of the listener. Last time I checked there is no freedom of listening. Thats what earbuds and ipods are for, among other things.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  71. Stephen Charchuk

    To those who believe that they are being discriminated against for their religious beliefs. America is not a theocracy. Iran is a theocracy. America is a democratic nation of many and no beliefs and can not show preference for any ONE belief. And no the USA is not solely based on Christian belief. Learn some history.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  72. Susan

    It is a shame that this young woman is being forbidden to pray or use the name of God in her speech. As validictorian she earned the right. Shame on the one's trying to stop her. Maybe we should start having two separate graduations, one for those that aren't offended by God and the second for those that are. I thought it funny that the attorney for the complaining student stated, "his parents encountered a women who moved away from them because they didn't stand for the prayer being offered at their other son's graduation", so is this retaliation for that? News flash to all nonbelievers, GOD IS REAL and some day we will all answer for our actions.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  73. mahree

    This controversy continues to pop up. Christianity needs to teach their followers and christian parents need to teach their children to respect the beliefs of others. This happens only with Christians. You never see a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Hindu, and on and on, pushing their beliefs at schools, or coming to your door, or putting up billboards. It is obnoxious behavior. She has her church and her home to thank her God for what she believes he did. Religion does NOT belong in schools. The parents put their children in this position by only seeing their side when raising them.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  74. Martin Shapiro

    Hooray for the folks who are willing to stand up for freedom from religion. Jesus should not be imposed on folks who do not believe in him. He should be honored in the home, and at church, and not in the public arena. Whatever happened to the idea of separation of Church (Jesus) and State (public ceremonies)?

    June 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  75. Vanda Burns

    In regard to prayer in school: In this country we have a constitutional
    separation of church and state as set down for a very good reason. This means in ALL public places, supported by government taxes, paid for by ALL citizens in the US (including Muslims, Jews, Hindi, Atheists and Agnostic AND Christians) must be equally represented. Since all may not be represented at these public places, then no religious opinions may be expressed. If you are not happy with this, send your children to private schools where they can pray. If you wish to overturn this ban, I am sure the tax deficit will be lowered when all churches, mosques, etc, pay taxes on ALL properties owned just like the rest of us.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  76. Stephen Charchuk

    Freedom of Speech is primarily meant for political speech. Try to libel or slander someone and see how far the free speech argument will get you.

    -Stephen
    Yarmouth, NS Canada

    June 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  77. Stephen Charchuk

    If America were a theocracy then she wouldn't have been allowed to speak at all, or even to have went so far in school.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  78. Angela

    I believe everyone has the right to their own religion, no matter what country, state, or in this case, school. However I don't believe anyone has the right to force their beliefs onto others.

    This girl is abusing the constitution. It was not put into place for biased beliefs. She has all rights to pray before, during, and after the ceremony on her own and/or with family and friends; Why insist on preaching in front of a microphone, forcing everyone to listen and participate. If she attended a religious school things would be different, but this is a public venue with all races and religions; a neutral environment.

    If she is simply trying to prove a point, I would like to see her sit through a ceremony where she is a minority, then maybe she will feel what she is imposing on her peers.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  79. Sarah

    Why does prayer make everyone so uncomfortable? When didsaster strikes what is the first thing one turns to? PRAYER. While graduation is not a religioius ceremony there is nothing wrong for these students to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for all they've accomplished over their years of schooling.
    Thank you.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  80. Josiah

    I do not understand any of these arguments. How is a individual expressing themselves in front of a audience forcing anything on anyone? (Remember prayer is also simply a expression and nothing more). You can't say you support freedom of speech with the caveat of just not the type of speech you dislike personally. Speaking of God is just that: speaking. Would any of you support a lawsuit if the young lady wanted to mention a quote by Plato or Aristotle you disagree with? I am not religious but this is clearly religious persecution, plain and simple.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  81. A Martinho

    The christian right wing conservative believes prayer should be allowed in school, as long as it's their prayers being recited. Imagine their reaction if the valedictorian were a muslim and wanted to face east while reciting from the koran, I'm pretty sure they would be holding protests like they did with ground zero mosque. The American taliban is no better than the Afganistan taliban but much more dangerous to the American way of life. They'll tell you that this country was formed on christian beliefs yet there were only 3 who signed the declaration of independence who were roman catholic,the majority were protestant.Thomas Jefferson said "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government,"and, "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  82. Simeon Johnson

    The wisest man that ever lived; got wisdom because he prayed: Ironically, because he accedes to agnostic belief, and pagan worship, his wisdom was short-lived. I Kings 3:1-28 (KJV): RT@Thegoodlifeis

    June 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  83. Gary

    I grew up in that community. religion has always been apart of everyday life in that school district...not school. But either way the members on the school board are avid church goers and also prior students of Medina Valley. District school buses pick up students every morning who go to CCD and then take them to school. That would mean the district already supported religeon in some way or another. Dis-allowing the students to say a prayer thanking God, is no different than publicly thanking those who also have helped students along the way they are only acknowledgeing those who have been there for them throughout their academic studies and in no way is a recruitment to anyones belief. I believe the graduating students should be given the right to decide for themselves what they want...remember this is their moment in life not ours.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  84. FrackAtheists

    To the Atheists Please site in any founding document the Government shall be an Atheist government hostile to all expression of reeligion & that everyone is BANNED from praying or expressing any belief other than Atheism? Have you idiots ever bothered reading the FULL First Amendment? Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech. What part of that do you idiots NOT understand? Yet you DEMAND YOUR Belief be the State belief. You want your little commie trash raised in a godfree environment take your mythology & start your own private schools. Better yet take this to a nation that believe as you like North Korea.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  85. DANA in Alaska

    Everyone in this pathetic country are supposed to have equal rights.One scumbag no make that 2,his lawyer Alesha Kahn ,just stepped on her rights to free speech.The bill of rights are non-existent in this so called democratic society.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  86. Jessica

    YES, she should be allowed to pray! GO AHEAD AND PRAY AND GOD WILL BLESS YOU FOR STANDING UP FOR HIM! This country was founded on Christianity and it is by the grace of God who gave us life and gave his son who died on the cross in exchange for our sins so that we could have eternal life! I would much rather believe in God and worship and live for Him and be wrong than not to believe and end up spending eternity burning in hell.

    We, Christians, have sat back and let the government take prayer out of school and now look at all of the crime and violence in our schools today!!!!!!!!!!

    If there is only one athiest complaining, why should the rest of the school have to conform to his preference? He could just sit in silence and keep his dumb opinion to himself. It is really sad that he has made this a big deal and the valdictorian who has earned this high honor is now faced with so much turmoil! GO AHEAD AND PRAY AND GOD WILL BLESS YOU FOR STANDING UP FOR HIM! There also should be no problem praying before a sports event for God to keep the athletes safe during the games! For those that forsake Christ, you need to remember that one day, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and you will be held accountable.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  87. Ryan-Palacios, TX

    Tolerance.
    As a nation we must all become more tolerant of each others beliefs and feelings.
    It just makes not sense for the 'irreparable harm' claim.
    What about the students that believe in creationism and not evolution, they must still tolerate what is taught in the science class?
    We will crumble as a nation if we lose the ability to tolerate people who are different.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  88. Ann

    Go ahead and pray to the God who is Lord of ALL even the unbelievers. Those who choose not to believe in the one true God and do not want prayer can just sit in silence. The rest who choose to pray and thank God for getting them where they are today as they celebrate their graduation should be allowed to do so. I agree with the previous comment that they would rather live their life worshipping and serving God to find they they are wrong than not to believe and spend eternity burniing in hell. I believe in the power of prayer and no one is going to tell me that I cannot pray. I pray anywhere I want and I will continue to do so. I pray at church, home, work, or wherever I am at any point and time including a restaurant before a meal and THE VALEDICTORIAN SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PRAY AS SHE FEELS LED. She has earned this high honor and she should be allowed to say a prayer.

    June 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  89. Sandy

    I am a devote deist, but I can see it being offensive to a non-believer to be forced to stand, pray, etc. Prayer is a personal thing, and she can pray on her own. When she needs to do it publicly, or involve others, she is proscelytizing–very out of place in a church, let alone a graduation ceremony. She can thank God, but not lead others in prayer.

    June 3, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  90. Ben K

    What comes down to it for me is to what degree a religious endorsement is built into the ceremony (such as in the program, schedule of events itself) and the remarks of any staff members since those very clearly represent a public institution.

    Remarks by a student (such as the valedictorian mentioned) become far more fishy because by controlling their remarks you to some degree infringe on their right to expression.

    Ultimately though, giving the speech is a privilege and not a right. So it is not unreasonable for a conditions to be made on the content of the speech. In this case, the government not wanting to give the impression that they are endorsing a religion at the government-sponsored event is a reasonable concern to have a condition that the speech be religiously neutral.

    Alternatively, a reasonable compromise could be made wherein the school clearly disclaims any endorsement for the content of the speech. This scenario would also theoretically include assurances that the individual making the speech is chosen based on non-religious criteria (i.e. that their preference toward any religion (or no religion) did not affect their being chosen to make the speech).

    June 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  91. Tom

    SHE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PRAY! Christians stood back and let the government take prayer out of our schools and look how the crime and violence have skyrocketed in schools. What happened to "one nation, under God"? If you do not believe in God and do not want to pray, you are destined for hell. The Bible says that one day "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord". Some of you need to take heed and change your hearts to get right with God so you don't have to spend eternity in hell. This life will soon pass away, but eternity is forever. I have been to 4 graduations the last 4 years and there has been prayer at each one which is the right thing to do. Go ahead and pray and God will bless you for taking a stand for Him!

    June 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  92. Mary

    I would rather worship and pray to my God and be wrong than to live my life without God and be wrong and spend eternity burning in hell. She should be allowed to pray and no one should judge her for that. She earned the right as valedictorian to plan and prepare her speech without ridicule from an agnostic young man. He should just sit in silence if he refuses to pray. The others should pray if they feel led to do so. I agree with Malissa's comment about what happened when we took prayer out of school and the crime and violence rapidly increased to a point where some kids are out of control and have no respect for anyone. I say "Pray"!!

    June 3, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  93. Don

    PRAY! God will bless you for taking a stand for Him and not letting some agnostic person and a judge intimidate you. The Bible says if we will pray and turn away from our sins, he will forgive and heal our land and we all know that is what we are in need of. Look at the sad state our country is in because God has been taken out of so many hearts already! I say go ahead and "pray"!

    June 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  94. Dan J

    The lawsuit was because the kid claimed that had there been a prayer, it would have caused a great deal of anxiety, stress and irreparable harm. Yeah, like filing a lawsuit and have the entire stadium jeer you (which is likely going to happen) will feel great. This is a B.S. argument and they know it.

    No one is forcing anyone else to pray. And I believe that school IS the place to share each other's religion, because exposure to others practices promotes tolerance and diversity. We shouldn't shy away from that.

    And prayer AS MEDITATION is proven to be extremely medically beneficial.

    June 3, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  95. Tanner

    Prayer should not be something that needs to be legislated. No one is forcing this agnostic kid to pray. That is a waste of funds to pay this judge to have prayer banned. He can sit in silence if he chooses not to pray. No one is forcing him in any way. This valedictorian has earned the right to speak and pray if she chooses. Prayer should not have been removed from schools in the first place. Crime and violence have increased at an alarming rate since it was removed. Our God of grace will bless her for standing firm in her belief in Him!

    June 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  96. Kerry

    Moderators: Christains are posting comments in suport of praying and you are removing them for some reason. Let the girl pray. If he had a problem with it, he should have been valedictorian and then he could have not said a prayer if that was what he chose to do. Christians need to stand up for God. That is why our world is in such turmoil because too many people do not have God in their hearts and are not right with God!

    June 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  97. Ruby Martin

    Freedom of Speech gives her the right to say what she wants to say. Where is the ACLU, her rights are being stepped on in a big way. This is way backward.

    So odd, if someone doesn't believe in God, or prayer, why are they so afraid of a 17 year old having so great an influence on them for such a few minutes that they deny her freedom of speech?

    They took prayer out of school and look what we have, disrespectful youth, mean, mean hurtful kids. But, kids can use any language and anyone coming into American can say and do more than Americans can. We have tolerated ourselves into a corner, except we can't have a teenager say what she feels she needs to say at graduation. How odd...
    the very thing our forefathers came here for or to achieve, now turned around.

    It is wrong to deny her freedom of speech. Perhaps her pray would have been allowed if she was praying to a graven image, made of gold or even a stick- I bet the ACLU would have been there in a flash, even Washington would have been there.

    June 4, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  98. thomas

    if we can't pray in school we might as well take in god we trust off the dollar bill.

    June 4, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  99. Rebecca Sletten

    Freedom of Speech is one of the foundations of our great country. The valedictorian of this school should be allowed to say a prayer in her speech! If some students do not wish to participate in the prayer, they don't have too. As far as the law suit from that other family saying their son would be damaged by this young lady saying a prayer, that is absolutely ridiculus! If their son is so fragile he can't handle a prayer, he should be institutionalized!

    June 4, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  100. Lynn

    The nation had better stand up and take notice what is happening. In 07' candidate Obama declared the USA "Was no longer a Christian Nation". The 21st National Day of Prayer" was canceled inorder not to offend anyone – but Sept. 25, 2009 a National Day of Prayer for the Muslin Religion was held on Capitol Hill. Doesn't matter if "Christian's" are offended. Because of ONE student are you kidding me - let him/her not attend !! I know of several places they or anyone could MOVE if they are (OMG) offended, hopefully they'll consider that move. IIt's our country don't forget and we had better wake up – the direction we are headed is not good. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

    June 4, 2011 at 7:52 am |
  101. Tony

    Let the girl pray!

    June 4, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  102. Kenny Manning

    Again, I will tell you. The Bible states we are not to pray in public. If you believe in the Bible, follow the Bible. Case closed!!!!!

    June 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  103. Gene H

    Give all the people in the audience that don't want to participate in the prayer the opportunity to leave the auditorium before the prayer is given. If that won't satisfy then tell them to by a plane ticket and go back home.Oh by the way have them buy a extra ticket for the judge and take him with them.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  104. Dan

    All you Atheists and Pagans posting above to "keep prayer out of school", prayer in school, when I went to school was a normal part of the day. Every morning after the pledge of allegience, we said a prayer. One day, EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue confess that JC is Lord. Deny him now, and he will deny you for eternity.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  105. George

    As long as teachers/professors are allowed to give tests,
    there will be prayers in schools...

    June 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  106. John

    Religion does not belong in the public anything. It's not their place and nothing about it is true, Ii don't think the pledge of allegiance should even be allowed, or at the very least reworded for it's mention of God, you can't force this on people who don't believe in it, when is religion just gonna back off?

    June 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  107. Edmund Jaja

    Separation of church and state.. please!! That or let me slaughter goats as sacrifice to the Flying Spaghetti Monster..

    June 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  108. Kristi

    People need to get over it. It's such a small minority that is determining this conversation. As long as the prayer is non-denominational, it is not religious. It is spiritual and spirituality is not against the law. What the girl needed to leave out was the word Jesus, but God is non-denominational

    June 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  109. me

    Our founding fathers said SEPERATION of church and state for a good reason. Since the mid 80's the Cristain cololation has taken over the republican party thats why they have changed so much they no longer do what the were created to do. For all that what to pray and worship they can go to church. Thats what all my friends do every sunday and some go more often. The bible also states not to pray in public its states in your home and house of worship. This is NOT A CHRISTAN NATION our founding FATHERS ALSO STATED THIS! This is a country made up of MANY diffrnt religions. READ THE CONTITUTION!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  110. Brian

    I don't think prayer should be hosted by any publicly funded institution, public schools included. Prayers can be said by those who want to pray at any time during the ceremony, but don't make others have to sit through it when they don't believe they have to. It's a violation of the Establishment clause and should not be allowed.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  111. bo

    Rick Perry and his loyal dog Greg Abbott are a joke. They took their personal power to make a statement on church and school prayer. I wonder what they would say if the student who got to make a speech wanted to say a Buddhist chant or some other religious prayer. I bet he would not be arguing that the student had the right to say anything in their speech.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  112. Dean

    I consider myself to be agnostic, for that reason I don't feel it's an issue for people to want to share their beliefs, especially at such an invent. If your convictions are strong enough, this shouldn't effect you.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  113. Luis Brown

    If someone would offer a prayer to Allah, Shiva, or to any non-Christian deity in a school people would be outraged. The extreme right would view this as a Muslim, Hindu, etc. takeover. However the truth is that we as a nation chose to separate religion and state so that no one can be force to participate in a religion that he or she does not wish to. Therefore be respectful of others religions and the same courtesy will be done onto you, and besides is it not true that acceptance, free will, and compassion are part of what Jesus preached. And if God according to your believes gave humans the right to choose, who are you to take away?

    June 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  114. Tyler

    I'm an atheist. If I lived anywhere near that school, and my daughter attended that school, I would be putting up signs that said something like "bhudda bless the class of '11" or "satan bless the class of '11" Just to piss of those christians. Conservative christians and republicans are not upholding the separation of church and state in this country and its just a load of garbage. If they try to pray at my daughter's graduation, I will file a suit just like the family in this case did. It makes my family feel uncomfortable and we should not have to submit to the religion with the majority, period!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  115. Frank

    The Supreme Court has already ruled that prayer is not allowed over the PA system at football games, why is graduation any different. Besides, there is already a religious ceremony for graduation. It's called a Baccalaureate. That is where prayer and graduation are mixed together. That should remain the only place they mix.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  116. Norm

    Another example of the tyranny of the majority over the minority. I always was taught that the government was responsible for that protection. Silly me! Just another example of our politicos favoring re-election over making those hard decisions. Doesn't matter if they "work" in Austin or Washington D.C.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  117. Lucas Christiani

    The rationale that the attorney general and governor are using is incredibly perverse. Saying that a prayer that is obviously directed to a Christian God does not violate the First Amendment is blatantly false. At a PUBLIC school, there should be no prayer! I guarantee if this prayer would have been directed at Allah, or the flying spaghetti monster, all of those Texans would've flipped out. Their hypocrisy is disgusting and dangerous to the young minds these people are in charge of molding, shame on all of those men and women.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  118. Walter Greene

    Finally!! The minority has not been allowed to snuff out the desires of the majority! Hopefully, the reign of political correctness is beginning to fade. To hear the prayer of a young lady who is preparing to venture into the adult world is truly refreshing.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  119. johnnysangel30

    HORRIFIED! So proud of this girl standing up for her beliefs! The family that said they wouldn't attend if there was prayer, etc.. not a problem.. DON'T ATTEND, LIKE WE CARE!! Punish your child for you pettiness! The lawyer had it right, if they were planning on praying to allah or something it would've been fine. Disgusting! Where have we gone as a country?? More scarier than that.. WHERE are we going? I can only pray that we will realize we were founded on CHRISTIAN principles & we became a strong nation b/c we served the RISEN, LIVING God!! When we forget that (as we are) we are truly in trouble! & when we decide not to back our ALLIES & his chosen people Israel we are in even bigger trouble! MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  120. Mel Goldstein

    Did anyone hear the disingenuous comments by the Texas attny gnl?
    He did not answer the question why they " outed the child involved" and exposed him to abuse by others. He claimed that a student was chosen at random. Random representation of religions and beliefs is impossible when the pool of students is 80-90% Christian. He kept neglecting to name Islam as a major religion. Curious what would have happened if graduate had a head scarf. Can you imagine the uproar. I think the constitutional argument would have been very different in the other direction if that had happened.
    Leave religion for homes and churches where it belongs. I grew up in a time when there was prayer before assemblies in school. It did not taint me. But there were moments that I truly felt like I was somewhat different than others. Why add to that problem for kids.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  121. Hieu

    Personally, I don't think there should be a problem with people saying prayers publicly. America is a free country and people have the right to speak freely, as long as they're not forcing anything on anyone, than it shouldn't be a problem. However, by having others contradicting people of the right to do something so simple as practicing their belief's (praying), troubles me. It's one thing to enforce the rules and regulations, but it's another thing to use that as an excuse to start controversy..... Shame on those people who start controversy on something so simple...

    June 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  122. Jackie - Florida

    Prayer should not be allowed in public schools, it offends me as someone who does not believe in a man that some call god, who sits up in the clouds. Can others go up and give a sermon of how there is no such thing as god after this prayer was forced on people of differing beliefs? I would hope that anyone forced to hear such lies boo loudly at the offenders forcing their religious beliefs onto others.

    This is why America has churches, and people attend church throughout the week. Keep religion and prayers out of public schools, along with the ROTC Military recruitment programs, I don't think god wants our kids to go out and kill people. Or does she?

    June 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  123. carolyn

    Separation of Church and State means we citizens have the freedom to choose religion NOT remove it. Enough of this banning of prayer. If you don't like a prayer being said during an event, just get a backbone and graciously wait it out. It doesn't hurt anyone to sit it out.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  124. Andrea

    As an Atheist growing up in southern Mississippi, prayer at school was a constant. Student led prayer cannot and should not be stopped, but school apportioned times for prayer alienate students. It was uncomfortable being the only student in a classroom of thirty not supplicating during the daily student led prayer. Government based events are not the appropriate platform to profess religious beliefs.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  125. Sandy

    I am very sad to see all the comments against prayer. This nation was built upon faith and the almighty God. So many have died for this freedom. If EVERY God believing Christian would pray in ernest for this country, it may just flourish again. Can't you see that without God, our country is declining in so many ways? Prayer is not just optional but very necessary. I say "Good for you!" to those who prayed at graduation. God Bless You!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  126. Jessica

    I think the world needs more religion in it. As long as its non denominational. People have lost sight of morals and respect for themselves. God and religion bring peace and love. There is no need to fight about God but to just embrace his love. Religion should be in the public God can be Allah, Budda or whoever as long as people embrace the beauty of God and what a higher power can offer to so many who suffer. Why is God and religion looked at so negatively it is a spiritual way of life that comes with great morals and happiness. Maybe if people would stop critizing and embrace it more there would be less hatred in the world.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  127. Big Dawg

    every morning we pledged to the flag and said prayers in school. This was a right and made us focus on the art of learning and disipline to carry with us thru life.

    Our teachers would add the disclaimer each morning to the class that you must stand for the pledge but if your beliefs we contrary to prayer you could simply stay mute and ignore the prayer. We had a large school and there were many religious factions present, we never had a problem the one's who's faith kept them from saying the prayer could sit and not be taunted or abused due to thier beliefs.

    Everyone believes in some kind of religious faction Atheists believe in nothing or them selves, Ignostics believe in nothing, but they believe.

    Looking back on all those extra religious holidays the Jewish kids had I should have considered converting.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  128. Nellie Grinage

    I find it interesting how we can use the constitution to benefit our view point but if it is used by someone who does not share our view it is wrong. Religious freedxom is a constitutional right. She was well within her right as a US citizen to exercise that right.
    AMEN young Lady

    June 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  129. Ron Noe

    I am a Scientist. I grew up in a religious community, I grew, I learned that you must take in what is good and leave what you feel is of no importance. Religion probably keep our world from killing each other through the ages despite the fact it caused many wars and still does. It is the basis of our laws and that was good. An adult man of science now, I still will not disgard God, I use him as guidance. My religion is between me and my God and no one else! If you want to pray, feel free, there is no down side. If you don't want to, don't. If you are the only agnostic in a community of religious people, you should feel welcome, but you have no right to suggest others follow your beliefs!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  130. Mike Reed

    Religion and open prayer are private matters. Places of worship and private homes are their logical place. Large groups of people should pray openly only if every person agrees to it.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  131. Luis Brown

    If someone would offer a prayer to Allah, Shiva, or to any non-Christian deity in a school, people would be outraged. The extreme right would view this as a Muslim, Hindu, etc. takeover. However the truth is that we as a nation chose to separate religion and state so that no one can be force to participate in a religion that he or she does not wish to. Therefore be respectful of others religions and the same courtesy will be done onto you, and besides is it not true that acceptance, free will, and compassion are part of what Jesus preached. And if God according to your believes gave humans the right to choose, who are you to take it away?

    June 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  132. Mike Reaves

    The agnostic family can sit there with their eyes open and their fingers in their ears. Most likely theiy are in a minority in the school. Majority should rule everyone can't be penealized for a minority's sake!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  133. John

    The religious right always loves to claim atheists & agnostics are trying to "force" their “beliefs” on others. What about when the religious right uses the law to prevent me from buying alcohol on Sundays, or they will use the law to prevent someone from choosing what to put into their own body. The atheists/agnostics actions have no physical consequences, whereas a religiously motivated individual who confuses how people should live according to them with the law is a much greater danger to liberty. An agnostic asked for people not to bring up god for only about an hour or two... Due to the law, we have to play by many of their rules our entire lives and frankly were getting sick of it. It’s a two way street, but I guess most of this is a topic for another day.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  134. Ron Noe

    I am a Scientist. I grew up in a religious community, I grew, I learned that you must take in what is good and leave what you feel is of no importance. Religion probably kept our world from killing each other through the ages despite the fact it caused many wars and still does. It is the basis of our laws and that was good. An adult man of science now, I still will not disgard God, I use him as guidance. My religion is between me and my God and no one else! If you want to pray, feel free, there is no down side. If you don't want to, don't. If you are the only agnostic in a community of religious people, you should feel welcome, but you have no right to suggest others follow your beliefs!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  135. steve

    By allowing God in our country we will reap blessings. When you take God out you get the curses. As the leader of a country goes, so goes the country. Mr. Obama , for example. With his endorsement of homo-sex (perversion) and abortion (murder) Mr. Obama is bringing the curses down on this country. Then he has the nerve to ask God to bless this country. To receive blessings you must follow God' law. Vote Mr Obama and his bunch out. Put God back in our country. Thank you. Curses or blessings – Deuteronomy 28.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  136. Danny

    This school system should be sued out of existance. They dified a court order and forced fed young minds to listed to the absurdity of prayer. My biggest beef is with CNN though. You interviewed the TX attorney general who is biased in favor of prayer but didnt interview anybody with an opposing view. The School failed to use the Lemmon test established by the Supreme Court years ago that set a fair and rational standard for religious activities in public institutions. Check into it!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  137. james amador

    Religion has and will always be a controvertial topic. Regardless of your religious beliefs, there should be neutral grounds by which everyone can gather and not feel like someone else's beliefs are super imposed onto them. If your preference is to believe in God or little green men from Mars, you should do so in a appropriate place. There are ethics to be followed in society to ensure we do not alienate others.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  138. Sassy

    The Pew Reasearch Center (non partisan) shows that approximately 62% of Americans are Christians. While all beliefs should definitely be respected you can not suppress the beliefs of 62% of Americans. Has anyone studied the correlation between the prohibition of prayer in the public schools and the decline of the school system?

    June 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  139. Ed Montalvo

    This was a battle of two principles in 1st Amendment of the Constitution- the role of religion in state-sponsored events versus freedom of speech. The problem with these types of situations is that our courts have sent out different messages regarding religion in public places or events. How can courts allow prayer at presidential inaugurations, senate chambers and house chambers and at the same time rule it unconstitutional at a high school graduation. Our courts need to be more consistent in these rulings and the Supreme Court should take up this case and settle the issure once and for all. Either ban prayer at all state-sponsored events, including presidential inaugurations, or don't ban it at any.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  140. Don B

    I saw the moment in question. I would have no problem for the girl to get up and personally thank God and family or whatever. But to lead a group prayer through "Jesus Christ our Lord" is too much and is not appropriate for a school graduation for a school that is not a Christian Academy or other religious Christian institution. She presumes to speak for everyone in this case and it's not right.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  141. Wisdom Kekeocha

    If prayers are banned in our public school and ceremonies then why then do we still seek to find out answers to why our teens are becoming Drug addict, why then do we get surprise when a teen makes a careful plan to kill his/her teachers, his fellow students and him/herself, why are there proliferation of teen pregnacies and prostitution. America will start becoming a shadow of itself if and when it start this no Reverence to God. Who ever says there should be no such thing as Prayer in Public why then do they use the same dollar bill we all use which has these words in BOLD letters "IN GOD WE TRUST" If we ban prayer, who then do we turn to? Prayers should be said in our Public school and Ceremonies. May God Help. Amen

    June 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  142. M. Burke

    Many of the Founding Fathers were deists and had they been living today would certainly have been atheists or agnostics. These men realized the dangers inherent in mixing religion and the public discourse. What persists is the irrationality of the religous right. This is what you get when young children are indoctrinated from their very early years to believe in superstitions and myths and believe that there is a father figure dwelling somewhere in the vacuum of space that really has the time to listen to them praying. Such a shame that this religous BS continues to plague mankind.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  143. Butch

    This is not a Christion nation and never has been. "The United States was not, in any sense of the word, created as a Christion Nation". This quote is from John Adams, the most fundamentaly christian founding father. The founding fathers understood that forcing any religion on the citizens was unacceptable. And while the valedictorian has every right to pray, it is supposed to be a personal dialogue and not something shared with a wide audience, some of whom do not share your beliefs. I don't think it was illegal for her to pray, but insensitive and not reflective of the values we hold those dear in this country.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  144. Martin Chancewell

    Prayer can always be done silently. To pray aloud at a publicly funded event or any even for that matter is forcing your beliefs on others. We need some non-Christian religious groups to start "forcing" their prayers on others...I think that only some act like that will finally put an end to religion being thrust down our throats by those that are too naive to realize what they aree doing.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  145. boneyfingers

    The Constitution guarantees people to be free to speak to themselves, or to YOU , to me, to God, to no one! YOU on the other hand can not listen, or remove YOURSELF from earshot. We live in a country where a free exchange of ideas is protected, wherever we are. It is YOU who was disrespectful to the one who worked for, and received the reward of being the ”Valedictorian” of her class. Whoever YOU are, YOU were disrespectful! YOU were in the wrong!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  146. ChuckGG

    Back in the 1960's when I was in school, we used to have "a moment of silent meditation." You could pray, do your crossword, or zone out. Why did that go away?

    Leading a mixed-group in some kind of prayer that might offend others is rather rude. Good manners would tell you not to offend others. People can pray on their own. They don't need a specific-religion prayer to be broadcast, "led" by the speaker, and thus potentially offend others of different (or no) faith.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  147. RRussell

    It seems that it has gotten to the point where everyone has rights except the Christian population. Everyone else has a right to use their constitutional rights to express themselves, however the Christian's rights to do the same are quickly being chipped away. Our country was founded on Christian belief and now it is being denied. Unfortunately, it is okay to do and say almost anything, except express Christian belief. People are forgetting that as American's, no group is to be discriminated against, including Christians-and students, who I do believe are also AMERICANS!!!!!!!!!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  148. Butch

    In public schools today they still say the pledge of allegiance to the flag, but not prayer. And it should be noted that before the communist scare of the early 1950's, the words "One nation under God" were not part of the pledge.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  149. Kymberly Jensen

    I believe prayer in school should be allowed. If prayer had been left in school we wouldn't have near as many kids on drugs, teen pregnancies, shootings, etc that the kids have gotten themselved into without the direction of God. I am thrilled with the Supreme Court reminding everyone of our First amendment of freedom of speech. If people choose not to participate in prayer, they don't have to bow their heads or participate. There are far fewer non believers and they should not be allowed to overrule the believers. I hope that this is the beginning of our turn around that our country needs.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  150. chrisi from Lousiana

    This society has completely lost sight of the real picture of what America was founded on...the Pilgrims came to worship God, not Allah, Budda, not the sun, nor the moon or any other inanimate object
    you can come up with! They come to Pray and Worship! The Founding Fathers based the beliefs and morals of this country on Faith not Atheism! I am so proud of the judges taking a stand against 1 family imposing their minority belief on the hundreds of people who belief and Worship GOD! It is about time the Christians stand up for GOD like he did for us when died on the Cross. If you don't like what America stands for, then go back to your country from which came and for those that are that unhappy with America find a new place to live!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  151. Clover

    Prayer in ceremonies sponsored by government entities (local, state or federal), be they schools, Congress, the military, a groundbreaking, etc. are inappropriate. Such events should be INclusive, not EXclusive.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  152. BNowicki

    The argument that the Constitution requires separation of church and state is bogus in this case, in my opinion. The intention of that concept is that the government should establish no official religion. It did not intend that the government should reject religion.

    As a Christian, I have attended ceremonies where a rabbi has given a prayer. I did not protest because he did not end his prayer with, "In Jesus' name we make this prayer.", or some reference to Christ. I could fill that blank in by myself and am mature enough and tolerant enough to understand that in his faith, this is not appropriate. If a Muslim student had ended his pray with, "May Allah be praised.", I would feel the same. By the same token, the agnostic family in Texas could have participated in the prayer and, in their own mind, discounted any Christian references, with tolerance and maturity.

    Do we really want to live in a society that silences expressions of faith? Do we want to risk eradicating faith-based organizations in our society? Do the teachings of these faith-based organizations contribute to the well-being of our society? If they hold no value, then we should strive to silence them. If, on the other hand, they contribute to the peace and prosperity of our nation, we need to be extol diversity and be tolerant, as long as no one is put in "harms way' by these expressions of faith.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  153. Maria

    The U.S., like Isreal, was extablished dedicated to God. The generous freedoms we experience laid down by our forefathers was in the light of of Biblical teachings. The fact that God is real, is a "no brainer" and not subjective, as so many would love to believe. The freedoms experienced by people who have decided that God isn't real or to be worshiped, aren't enough for them. They must try to erode the freedom of those who are wanting to live their lives as God requires. Judging from all the earthquakes, floods, fires, disease that are devastating our country, we need all the prayer we can get and people to get their facts straight. He says he is a jealous God.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  154. Doris A. Schwartzberg

    It is my firm belief that there is a place for everyone who wishes to pray to do so, and for everyone who chooses not to pray to not have to be present. It is also me experience that we do not know eachother as well as we like to think we do. I live by the practice of letting everyone do what each does in the way each does it and let me do what I do in my way, but not in a secular gathering. Those graduates who had the need to pray could have done so silently, as many of us do, or, if needing companionship in prayer, could have had a prayer meeting before or after the graduation ceremony. I think the Texas Attorney General needs to back off his "argument " about the constiturion and look at it as the right to pray, but not necessarily in secular gatherings such as public high school graduations. One needn't be an agnostic to hold such beliefs. I am not. I am a financially suportive member of an active religious group with a house of prayer which I visit regularly.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  155. Maria

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  156. Ashleigh Combs

    I think it's fine to have prayer at schools under the condition that they could be stopped right away. If members of the school community see nothing wrong with it then it should be fine. Now if there is someone finds something wrong with it then there should be an arise of the question if it's offensive to certain groups of people. I grew up in a Christian community and there was an out cry once when the only person who complained was a principal who believed in separation of church and state. Everyone else was fine with a Christmas tree in the commons area and it was traditional.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  157. Sally

    It's nice to hear that Christianity has managed to make an appearance somewhere on this continent. It seems that all other faiths and even cults/hate groups appear to defend their right to speak, but being a Christian has become either a joke, or something to be scorned and ridiculed. It would be wise to remember that our countries, and everything good about them, hospitals, schools, home for the aged, helping the poor and downtrodden, were initiated by Christians. But we are all flawed...some have more difficulty owning that!

    June 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  158. Taylor

    I have to say no. This nation is made up of people who practice many religions and to single out one religion and by doing so imply it is the preferred religion is wrong. Religion and prayer are private matters, worship should be constrained to those place intended for worship and public venues are not appropriate. If a Muslim was to offer a prayer to Allah all hell would break lose. What of the non-Christians in this group? If you are going to offer a prayer it should at least be non-denominational.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  159. Chris

    I am proud the supreme court over ruled and allowed her to say her prayer.
    I say to the ones who don't believe in God need to give up all their money since it says "IN GOD WE TRUST". God has many names so just change the name to what you believe in and go with it. I have yet to go to a chruch or public event where I was told I had to pray. It has always been let us pray. It is not a demand it is a request. Keep God in school since our Government has lost sight of God and our four fathers.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  160. Rome

    Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray that one day this conversation will no longer be
    necessary. To you non believers, this country was founded on Christian principles. It is basic to the AMERICAN society. It helps the masses to maintain their humanity. Practiced in truth, it means only
    good. If this is not your belief, no one is forcing this precept on you.That's only one of the good things about this country. When you find yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, remove yourself. Advise your child(ren) to do the same. It is as simple as that.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  161. Roger

    what wrong with praying we have god in we trust printed on our money and have other relgious phrases in our government so what the big deal that one student makes a speech it is freedom of speech

    June 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  162. zakk wilks

    my problem with this is that the only prayerthat was seen or heard was that of christian faith, they should have invited persons of all faiths in the body of students to go to the podium and pray, whether muslim, jewish, christian etc. Further the way cnn talked about the agnostic family was wrong, i think in 2011 we should be treating people of all walks of life equally. Straying from the subject the same can be seen in the pledge of allegiance in elementary schools, one child doesnt stand and pledge to a government and a god that he or she is too young to understand, and the next day its a big deal on the news the next day.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  163. Pauline Coleman

    This country was founded under "One Nation Under God," if the word God is so offensive to some families then let them return to the graduation exercises later (after prayer). Thank GOD the principle and students chose to say a prayer. It's time religion had as much rights as the athiests.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  164. steve

    Largest forest fires in Arizona history. Largest flooding in the history of the Mississippi valley. Largest, most devestating tornado outbreak ever. People shooting each other. No jobs, probally headed for a adouble dip recession. Wake up people – put G0d back in our country. Get rid of homo-sex (perversion) and abortion (murder). Curses or blessings, Deuteronomy 28. Prayer at graduation is a good start. God bless. Be morally correct, not politically correct.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  165. Joe

    The final court decision has it right to the extent that the government does not exercise religion.

    We have to be careful because the citizens in favor of religion in schools want to promote religion in school, which means that the state becomes the church.

    As a practising Catholic, it is a concern to me because my children should be taught my Catholic faith, not some other faith, Christian or not. In Castroville, Texas, the only authority outside of my family to teach religion to my children is the Archbishop of San Antonio.

    As a person of faith, it is a concern to be because, although the state may invoke a God that covers as many bases as possible, this God would be a false, civic God, not the God of any particular faith.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  166. Gerald Donahue

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF- This means you Cannot force me to pray AND you Cannot prohibit my 'right'(free speech) to call for Anyone To pray. You do Not have to pray if you don't want to; but you may Not prohibit me from praying or calling anyone else to pray with me. This includes every human being in Our Country, even if they are in positions of authority, State, Local. or Federal. Any citizen of the USA has the Right to call anyone & everyone to Prayer. We do Not Have to respond in prayer. No one can force us to pray & No-one may stop us. The so-called separation of Church & State ruling by the Supreme Court is Wrong, Unconstitutional, & therefore Tresonous.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  167. Andy Ramey

    As long as she could have said a Muslim prayer or some other non majority prayer, fine. But somehow I think those who are so pro prayer would think differently if a different religions prayer would be said.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  168. Scott

    Personally, As a Pagan, i was brought up to respect anyones word, regardless of how their Creed Differs from mine. I believe myself it was right that they did not Ban the girls right of speech, And im getting rather sick of these religious Controversies i hear of almost everyday. Let the people speak their mind! It's her choice, and it's her Creed, she has her rights to say anything she chooses as an American.

    June 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  169. Joseph

    @Cindy,

    This country was not founded on "MAJORITY RULE". Learn a little bit more on this country's history and you will learn the country was founded as a republic, not a complete democracy. It means everyone has a voice, not just the majority.

    Therefore, prayers should be left out of public school. I don't want to feel pressure to pray when it is not my religion or faith to pray to your god.

    June 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  170. Norma

    This is the problem with this Nation. know one wants to pray in public . This is NOT a crime. we need bibles back into school as well. This world is full of sin. People at Ball games could care less who hates Basketball, baseball etc. they will scream and yell until they pass out. for those of you who loves christ and is not ashamed. why Hide it?

    Again, this Nation needs God and silent prayer is good, but Out loud prayer is badly needed for everyone. I'm not ashamed here!! I will stand up for what is right and what God wants..

    June 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  171. Ron M

    It's sad to see that an issue like this is upsetting people so much in this day and age, and theres a simple solution. The valedictorian does not represent the school, they get on stage to give their speech, their advice, their point of view. If this valedictorian wanted to mention somtheing about religion without proselitizing or being insulting/distasteful then go for it. We have things we listen to every day that we don't care for or want to hear, and no graduate would be penalized for missing the ceremony. As for giving a prayer, well no. We tend to miss the point of stopping public prayer, and argue about freedom of speech. First, a prayer would be seen as being endorsed by the college. Second, imagine if you were at your graduation and had to listen to a Buddhist discussing one of their many gods or a southern "baptist" like the wacko who wanted to burn the koran. It would be upsetting to have to listen to that, and to have the university endorse it. It would make me extremely uncomfortable to sit and listen to someone either explicitly or implicitly arguing against your beliefs. WHY DO WE NEED IT? Pray in your homes, in your churches, with your friends. Anyone who feels the need to do this in public needs to address other issues, there's no reason for it. A moment of silence allows for prayer without being pushy and is all that is needed. We live in a time when we should be beyond this, our country is in 3 military actions and is facing a budget default. Why are we arguing about this? I guarantee that if the tables were turned, and a Muslim student wanted to give a prayer it wouldn't even be considered.

    June 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  172. Pastor Matthias Esoimeme

    Prayer should be allowed in the school; we start with prayer and end with prayer
    Why are missionary school better than public school is nothing prayer and Our nation was built on God we stand, if people hate prayer because they hate God for their personal reason they should up out of that area or place they have offer prayer not placing your ideal on majority

    June 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  173. Kelcie

    What I don't understand is how prayer can be seen as "forcing beliefs on others". Prayer is a positive thing. Just because you don't believe in the religion doesn't mean you oppose to such a positive thing. Would you ask some one not to wish you well or not to hope you succeeed? When they say their glad you made it this far would you say "don't force your happiness or feelings on me"? I don't think so. When Constance McMillen's Mississippi school district cancelled her prom because she wanted to go dressed in a tux to accompany her girlfriend the public cried fowl. When a district bans prayer it's celebrated. I think there is a huge discrepancy here...

    June 6, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  174. Susan

    Thank you Todd Lowery 3:41 and Josiah 2:55. Right on point.

    It is a shame that so many feel religion is imposed on them when it is not. We are supposed to have religious freedom and free speech. Her thank you prayer would be like any other thanking their teachers, principals, coaches, whoever influenced them in life. I applaud her for standing up for our freedoms. Giving thanks to God is not imposing a pressure or religion on anyone. I think Christians are the most understanding people of other religions. They do not say you have to repeat prayers and you are not being led in prayer. You do not even have to listen, but respect her right to free speech. I could not believe in one blog that I read, presumably by an American, that we should not say the Pledge of Allegiance. We live in America, that is our country and our flag and many of our young people are dying every day for our very freedoms. How disgraceful. It would be the best thing for our country and to renew our patriotism to have that Pledge of Allegiance said again at the start of each day in our classrooms. It is one more thing that has been taken away. Our country is headed in the wrong direction and everyone should try their best to turn it around. Please pray for America, our troops our children and our families no matter what religion you are. Thank you.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  175. The Watcher

    Nothing wrong with a little prayer or two. The problem arises when the prayers denegrate those who have different belief systems. Consequently there is often a conflict in objectives. Most modern religions have a monotheistic foundation or believe in a superior being called "god." The problems begin when the demigods are brought forth to augment the god or define the god. Jesus and Mohammed are examples that evoke emotions manifesting as hate. In fact most religions are based on exclusiveness, defining all others as false. Well, those of us who have different belief systems are not only tired of the proselytising, we are disgusted with the outbursts of hate. Pray to yourselves if you must, don't pray in my name to your gods.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  176. CM Thompson

    In light of the numerous negatives that currently occur in many schools on a consistent basis (to and around children, grandchildren, relatives, and other loved ones), isn't the manner in which prayer (and the name of Jesus) is so passionately attacked, amazing? It's as through many are afraid to tackle the tough issues of the school day so they bully the easy ones (at least until a real tragedy strikes them directly). It is for this reason that those of us who believe in prayer, must also keep one within our hearts; especially since we live in a world where priorities, passions, rules, interpretations, and tragedies can shift like the winds of a quiet, yet deadly, storm.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  177. brooklyn farnsworth

    i disagree if i want to pray im going to pray that is just how it is they can get mad and say i cant but i will pray out loud whenever and where ever i am i get fired or kicked out or even beat up im gonna pray sorry

    January 30, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  178. Aloist

    the government needs to ban all prayers at graduations–this is no time for preaching and sermonizing-keep that in the church

    June 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
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