Monday, May 07, 2007

Impact of Annual "Friend or Foe" Graduation Prayer Campaign Continues to Grow

Orlando, FL - The launch of Liberty Counsel's "Friend or Foe" Graduation Prayer Campaign is being announced again this year by Mathew Staver, the Founder of Liberty Counsel and the Dean of Liberty University School of Law, and Dr. Jerry Falwell, the Founder and Chancellor of Liberty University. Liberty Counsel seeks to educate and, if necessary, litigate to ensure that prayer and religious views are not suppressed during graduation ceremonies across the Nation.
Last year Liberty Counsel represented Megan Chapman, a graduating senior in Russell Springs, Kentucky, who found herself the subject of a court order obtained just before graduation by the ACLU. The order said she could not pray during her graduation message, although she was chosen as class chaplain. But the lawsuit generated more, not less, prayer. During the ceremony the entire senior class rose and recited the Lord's Prayer. Then Megan stepped to the podium and told her classmates what God had done for her and shared her faith in Him. After hearing about the situation through Liberty Counsel, Dr. Falwell offered both Megan and her twin sister Mandy full scholarships to attend Liberty University. Megan is finishing her first year of college at Liberty University, where she volunteers at Liberty Counsel's Virginia office. After graduation, she now plans to attend Liberty University School of Law.
As part of this year's Graduation Prayer Campaign, Liberty Counsel has created red prayer wristbands which students can wear as a reminder to pray at graduation and all throughout the school year. The wristbands are embossed with "I WILL PRAY" and "PRAY WITHOUT CEASING - I THESS. 5:17." Students have the constitutional right to wear religious jewelry and to pray during noninstructional times while at school. Liberty Counsel also has a free legal memo on graduation prayer which is available online at www.LC.org.
In order to receive federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, every local school district must certify that it is not engaging in any policy or practice which interferes with constitutionally protected prayer. Schools may lose federal funds if they fail to comply with the guidelines.
The purpose of Liberty Counsel's 'Friend or Foe' Graduation Prayer Campaign is to protect religious viewpoints at graduation. Liberty Counsel will be the friend of schools that recognize the free speech rights of students and the foe of those that violate their constitutional rights. The key to graduation prayer is that the school should remain neutral - neither commanding nor prohibiting voluntary prayer or religious viewpoints."