Monday, May 07, 2007

Annual "Friend or Foe" Graduation Prayer Campaign Finishes Fifth Successful Season

On May 7, 2007, Liberty Counsel announced its fifth annual "Friend or Foe" Graduation Prayer Campaign. On the website www.LC.org is a detailed legal memorandum that has been used to successfully defend students' right to have voluntary, student-initiated prayer at graduation ceremonies all across the nation. Liberty Counsel seeks to educate and, if necessary, litigate to ensure that prayer and religious viewpoints are not censored from public school graduations. Two examples of this season's successes include:

School administrators at West Morris Mendham High School in Chester, New Jersey, planned to censor the song "The Lord Bless You And Keep You," from the June 26th graduation program until Liberty Counsel intervened on behalf of choir member Lauren Ide. The students and parents at the school were upset that the song, which was traditionally a part of the program, was being banned. After Liberty Counsel issued a demand letter, school district officials decided to allow the choir to sing the song at graduation.

Two Omaha High School seniors in Omaha, Arkansas, were initially told by school administrators not to pray at their May 18th graduation. The school also nixed a youth ministry leader who was selected by the students as the commencement speaker. After involvement of Liberty Counsel on behalf of class vice president Kendon Underwood, the students were allowed to pray and to have their chosen graduation speaker.

This year many students began wearing Liberty Counsel's red "I WILL PRAY" wristbands as a reminder to pray all year round, not just at graduation.

Students and invited speakers do not shed their constitutional rights when they step up to the graduation podium. School officials should neither command students to pray nor prohibit them from praying. When in doubt, remain neutral and allow the speaker to present a message of his or her own choice.