June 6th, 2011
04:07 PM ET

Following court ruling, Texas student prays at graduation

(CNN) - With the backing of a federal appeals court, a Texas student prayed from the podium of her high school graduation on Saturday.

"Whether you would like to join me or not, feel free to do as you see best," Angela Hildenbrand said shortly before she prayed at the Medina Valley High School graduation in Castroville, according to CNN San Antonio affiliate KSAT.

“God, I thank you for the support of the entire community through this case hearing," she said.

On Wednesday, a federal judge issued a ruling that would have banned Hildenbrand from delivering prayers at the graduation ceremony.

The ban, imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Fred Biery, caught the attention of Gov. Rick Perry and state Attorney General Greg Abbott, who supported an emergency appeal filed by the Medina Valley Independent School District on Thursday.

The original lawsuit was filed last week by an agnostic family whose son attends the school, about 30 miles west of San Antonio. The Schultz family said their son would suffer "irreparable harm" if anyone prayed at the graduation ceremony.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling on Friday, saying the family had not persuaded the three-judge panel "that the individual prayers or other remarks to be given by students at graduation are, in fact, school-sponsored."

In a statement Saturday, the Schultz family said it did not attend the graduation ceremony.

"Our family chose not to attend the ceremony this evening because we did not feel welcome at the event and we even feared for our safety in light of how hostile some of the public comments have been,” the family said in a statement released by the group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

“Graduation is a significant rite of passage for a young person,” the statement continued, “and we regret that our son will not be able to enjoy this special day with his peers.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Church and state • Schools • Texas

soundoff (293 Responses)
  1. Marie Kidman


    June 6, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  2. Mark from Middle River

    >>> "Fox News? Oh, wait, you go there from time to time, don't you? Yet you seek middle ground.
    How odd."

    Yep, and I go to MsNBC and the BBC. Heck I was on Aljazerra the other day. You see Oslo, to be in the middle ground one should try to hear from all sides as you can.

    Only a extremist would only visit a single NEWS Outlet. That is putting a lot of faith in one news service.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, I only come here to comment and to see what nonsense is being bruited about by the media. I do not base my thinking on it. I think for myself, as you do. Sorry it took so long to respond, I've been doing other stuff.
      And I'm glad you go to other places to get a more balanced outlook. It should do you some good to see that the issues are not black and white with some middle ground always to be found. But you're no dummy. I expect you to learn as much as anyone could with the handicap of wasting hours on the internet arguing with trolls like me.
      Sorry if it sounded rude to put that in about Fox News.
      It was rude of me, of course, but I shouldn't have bothered to include it as it was unnecessary and didn't really add much to my post. Sorry.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  3. Let Me Stand Upon The Podium And Shove My Religion Down Your Throat

    Down on your knees, fellow students, and chant to Allah!

    Let's hear it, Texas! ALLAHU AKHBAR ! ! ! ! ! ALLAHU AKHBAR ! ! ! ! !

    June 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Lindsay Lohan's Guide to Getting Vodka in Jail

      Yup, it's great that the courts in Texas protected the rights of ALL religions to publicly pray at official ceremonies. I hope the Wiccans do some nude witchcraft ritual to help balance out the dialog.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Rush Limbaugh's Favorite Animal P0rn DVD

      I bet that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals of Texas would reverse their reversal if an Islamic student cmae up with the same request. But of course, they would never have been asked to speak.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • SimpleReally

      All ceremonies should be divided into two sections.

      Section 1 – 10 hours of assorted prayers from assorted religions. I'm an ABCian and our prayers go for 3 hours at a time minimum. God told us they had to.

      Section 2 – 1 hour for what the the actual presentation is for.

      But Jesus said

      Matthew 6: 5-6

      And 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.

      But 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.

      So for Christians we need a whole heap of cubicles built.

      Please NEVER let what Jesus actually said influence your Christian thinking... That would be too sensible!

      Please read all what Jesus said in Matthew 6 about prayer... and see if you and your Churches are actually following Christ's precise teachings.

      OR Do Christians know better than Christ?

      Is that why they can't stop changing his teachings?

      June 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  4. TheRationale

    Very Christian of them. The unsurprising thing is...that isn't sarcasm.

    June 6, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Part II 🙂

      Hey, we were having a decent debate.

      What The'Flip Wilson, is it with you hit and run Trolls?

      June 6, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, the Christian extremists have hijacked the voice of moderate Christians in this country. As this is a religious problem, perhaps you might find it useful to find out how this happened and why it continues to be a problem for all of us.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • LinCA

      Reading some of these comments, I wonder if there are any angelcas christians.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Oslo. The simple fact is that you feel that the Religious Right has hyjacked the party.

      For me I feel that Extremist on both side(s) have done their best as always to hyjack any and all debates. the shear goal to pull us apart as a society.

      As with most on the extremist tilt, you only see the enemy on the other side while not seeing it on your own 🙁

      June 6, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, I was using hyperbole and rhetoric to raise up the issues of radical elements taking control of your party's agenda. I am not a democrat, so your retort fails as it is not an accurate portrayal of me or my ideologies. But thanks for trying.
      I'm glad somebody reads my posts, even if I get lots of negative feedback. Life is a learning process.
      And my name is Oso, not Oslo. I am not a city in Norway.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  5. barnyfife

    God continues to bless Texas while the pagan liberals try to destroy the rest of the country.

    June 6, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hey, we were having a decent debate.

      What The'Flip Wilson, is it with you hit and run Trolls?

      June 6, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • barnyfife

      Wisdom and truth always brings out the stupidity of liberal ffols.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Lycidas

      You are very correct. These trolls are going to hell for not listening to their parents like good little boys and girls. 😉

      June 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  6. Frogist

    Besides this prayer being sponsored by the school which it seems it was, there is the deplorable act of releasing this child's name to the media. And now the family is being subjected to public hostility over this? For all the proclaiming about their religious rights, this community certainly doesn't seem to be acting very Christ-like. A bit of humility and an olive branch? Maybe? Or is "turn the other cheek" no longer acceptable when it comes to non-believers?

    June 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Frogist, I do not know how the name came out. As much of an argument that the school released the name the argument that the family made it known they were going to fight it, could have happened.

      The olive branch.. descrbe how you would have proceeded with a Olive Branch process.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, they first have to be willing to try. Not gonna happen in Tex-ass.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Try this ...All Sides need to try.

      Heck, I think I see a middle ground, still working it in my head but it would have worked.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Jeff

      Frogist...it wasn't the media that released the name...the family is the one that filed the lawsuit! They are the one's that made the statement!

      I don't understand your point at all. If one individual has an issue with something, why do the masses need to change? This is a tradition at this particular high school. If this young man did not wish to participate, so be it. My issue is when the lawsuit claims that their son "...would suffer irreparable harm..." if attending the graduation. My goodness!

      You tell me what would happen if any Christian student filed a lawsuit FOR PRAYER at a graduation citing the same "irreparable harm" this family claims. We all know how far the ACLU would let that go, right?

      June 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Perhaps the name came out through the court case?

      June 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Oso

      An olive branch would have been holding religious services separate from the official graduation ceremony.
      There is no compelling legal argument anyone could make for violating the First Amendment in this case.
      There was no "emergency" need for religious prayers here.
      If you want middle ground, Mark, you're gonna have to do it legally or forget about it.
      Private religious functions have no place in the functioning of our government. We are supposed to have equality under the law here in the USA. If there are no equal rights, then the oppressed have the right to protest and to seek justice.
      That olive branch is not heavy, or at least it shouldn't be. If you are not used to holding one up, maybe it might feel like a burden. Without peaceful intentions behind the olive branch, it is just an empty gesture.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>> “An olive branch would have been holding religious services separate from the official graduation ceremony.”

      You are almost there. My thought would be in a separate part before the graduation on the same stage prior to the graduation. Sorta a pre-game to the cerimony.

      >>> “If you want middle ground, Mark, you're gonna have to do it legally “

      Oslo, they went through the courts and on this occasion the courts agreed with the school system. So your legally argument is the same argument that my side makes when the courts fall the other way. Its just a argument that says since both sides feel that they are right than the other side must be operating against the law.

      The Olive Branch requires us both to bend Oslo, not one of us to bend. Saying the only middle ground is if the prayer does not happen … that is plain silly. That is you saying the only way we can meet in the middle is for our side to bend to yours while not bending to ours. What middle ground is that ..lol. !!

      June 6, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Jeff Because there is a specific separation of church and state and a general consti=tutional understanding that the majority can't vote to trample the rights of individuals. And they wonder why this country so often loses its way.

      One of the issues here that never gets discussed when these fights erupt is that since schools are public, ie gov't run, they SHOULD be viewed as a part of gov't that requires strict separation, but also WILL be under local majority rule. These fights will be the norm for the foreseeable.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      John, then we move into what is the government establishing a state religion and a citizen expressing their religious views without prohibiting the same.

      I know this is a Roe vs Wade thing but if the school system said you all must believe in a certain Faith then I could see it being a problem. If a person wants to express their own Faith then I fail to see the similarities.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, good points, but you keep making unwarranted assumptions in much the same way as you accuse others of doing.
      In the case of religious expression, having a government authority like a school district abuse their authority by forcing the graduating class to listen to only one religious viewpoint and prayer is reprehensible from a legal standpoint regardless of what corrupt judge you find to rule differently.
      If this had been a Muslim prayer, my words would be no different except where we would change "Christian" to "Muslim".
      Nobody is getting a free pass from me. Not even atheists. You keep trying to point your finger and say "hypocrite", but I am not being a hypocrite about this case. I am not perfect, however, so I freely admit to being a hypocrite about a few things, but this isn't one of them. Sorry.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Oso & Mark: "Extending an olive branch" is not an expression of meeting in the middle it is one of peace denoting feelings of goodwill from the victor.
      @Mark: The link to KSAT has a statement from the family that the school released the name of their son to the media.
      An olive branch would be for the so-called Christians of this community to be graceful in receiving the verdict. Not harrassing the family and not threatening them would be a huge start. You would think persecution of viewpoints concerning belief would be something Christians understood they shouldn't engage in.
      @Jeff: If it is school-sponsored prayer that makes it illegal. And even if it wasn't, what is wrong with a little neutrality where no one has to feel left out? That is why the majority has to change to meet the needs of the minority as you put it. By your logic Christians who are assaulted or harrassed in muslim-majority countries should just take it despite it being illegal, immoral and them being in the minority. I too consider the phrase "irreparable harm" to be somewhat overly dramatic. But considering the harrassment the family has had to endure since then maybe it wasn't exactly innacurate either. How much does it really take for any community to recognise there are those within their midst who are different but not lesser than they are?

      June 7, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  7. David Johnson

    The Texas history books are rewriting history to give the conservative slant. The objective of this effort, is to create a Christian Nation, a theocracy with Jesus as Head of State.

    A huge campaign is underway, to convince the American people, the founding fathers never intended a separation of church and state. Thomas Jefferson's role as a founding father is played down. In some cases Jefferson is smudged.

    Expect an attack on the 1st and 14th Amendments. The founding fathers will weep.

    Most of the Tea Party are for a Christian Theocracy. The Tea Party is in bed with the Christian Right. A vote for any Tea Party candidate, is a vote for Christian Right domination.

    The Republicans are the puppets of the Christian Right and the Rich.

    You will see an amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman. The repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell", will be in grave jeopardy. Gay rights will dwindle and die.

    Roe Vs. Wade will be reversed. Women will once again be forced to seek back alley remedies. Men will be forced to buy condoms on the black market.

    Stem cell research will stagnate. The hopes of damaged and sick people will be dashed.

    All scientific research will be scrutinized by the Christian Right. "If a theory is in agreement with Scripture ", will be the new metric. Get use to hearing "God Did It".

    P_ornography will be illegal. The Religious Right will decide what is p_ornographic , as well as what is art. You will watch television programs approved by the Evangelicals. Lots of reruns of "Growing Pains", starring that Evangelical darling Kirk Cameron. Thank you Jesus!

    Creationism will be taught in public school, most likely alongside evolution rather than instead of, but no guarantees.

    Vouchers will enable parents to send their child to religious schools. Funds to public schools will dwindle. Quality education will be out of reach for the masses. The finite amount of money, will be spread too thin. But what does it matter? It is the will of God.
    Little Johnny will believe in talking snakes and Zombie Messiahs. The rest of the world is spending their time learning real science and math. Good luck Johnny. Can you say: "Would you like fries with that?"

    State Sponsored Prayer will be in our schools. The Christian Right think they know better than the Founding Fathers and want to tamper with the Bill of Rights. They want to amend the U.S. Const_itution so that the Government would legally sponsor and take over the activity of prayer. Only the one true god, the Christian god, will be given homage. The non-Christians will be allowed to put their heads down on their desks, during the morning worship. They can contemplate their damnation, for not accepting Jesus.

    $ex education will consist of abstinence only. Studies have shown it is a worthless concept. But, it will please Jesus.

    The war against unions, commenced during the Bush administration, will continue.

    Jesus will be the Head of State! He will be represented by an empty chair at the head of the leadership table. Only the Evangelicals will be able to hear His voice. They will tell the rest of us His will. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

    We will be a slave to a make believe god. If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.


    June 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Geez Reality .... I mean Davey...

      Nice post, reminds me of the in of the world rant scene in Ghostbuster ... "Dogs and Cats living together...mass hysteria...

      Tell me in all of your rant, it appears that it would call for a unified Christian body? I mean it would call for Christians from all denominations and sects to join together as one voice.

      Do you believe that those of Faith can do that? My dad used to think that all whites were lockstep in thinking as well. Is this your position in regards of all Christians uniting?

      June 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Jeff

      There are so many holes in that post...I'm very sad for you if you truly believe that nonsense you put out there.

      Christianity is under attack in this country and has been for some time.

      Let me address one thing really quick...you talk about vouchers, but fail to mention that the United States currently ranks 25th in the world in math. Little Johnny is asking if you'd like fries with that because the public education in this country is as poor as it is.

      We've become an apathetic nation and revel in our mediocrity. That mediocrity is the result of the liberal agenda our government is taking us to.

      Your post is as pointless as it is absurd.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I don't think all of these things necessarily WILL happen, but I think they all MAY happen and that it therefore behooves all anti-theocrats, whether believer or non-believer, to derail the effort.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Oso

      Jeff, the religious right is attacking education funding. You don't have a leg to stand on and are simply talking out of your ass.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>> "Jeff, the religious right is attacking education funding."

      Can you please explain or give a link to that statement?

      June 6, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      "Christianity is under attack in this country and has been for some time."
      – Glad to hear that. It's not a bad thing.
      "Let me address one thing really quick...you talk about vouchers, but fail to mention that the United States currently ranks 25th in the world in math. Little Johnny is asking if you'd like fries with that because the public education in this country is as poor as it is."
      – Agree totally but it's not because "We've become an apathetic nation and revel in our mediocrity." or "That mediocrity is the result of the liberal agenda our government is taking us to." It's because American culture celebrates anything and everything other than those who excel in educational pursuits. If your "liberal agenda" premise were the cause, then why do Hmong and Ja-panese and Chinese heritage children, from very traditional backgrounds do so very well ?

      Your post is as pointless as it is absurd.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, perhaps I should have said the right-wing politicians are being bribed to gut education funding and that the religious right is behind most of it for their own reasons.
      Why? Did you think the religious right disapproves of making huge cuts to education funding? Hah!
      And do you really expect me to give links to all the speeches made by right-wing politicians as they seek to justify their actions as regards education funding?
      And their voting records in Congress as well? And all their empty rhetoric?
      Give me a break. When they deliberately threatened to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood, they showed everyone where they were coming from....again.
      Or do you deny that they did this? A patently religious intrusion into our government? Really? Where do you get your information? Fox News? Oh, wait, you go there from time to time, don't you? Yet you seek middle ground.
      How odd.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"And do you really expect me to give links to all the speeches made by right-wing politicians as they seek to justify their actions as regards education funding?"

      Not all speeches but respectfully, if you could, a few.

      Also, Planned Parenthood...you mean the ones that were giving advice to the pimp on how to keep his underaged prosti'tutes under the radar? That Planned Parenthood. Hey I will admit that they do a lot of good but I can understand both sides of that argument but come on Oslo, lets stick with the school debate... no use running now 😀

      June 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Oso

      Sorry, Mark, it ain't gonna happen. I have no intention of wading through the cesspool of conservative rhetoric just to provide you with a few links when you have already admitted to knowing of the religious right attacking Planned Parenthood funding.
      You listen to that stuff more than I do, so you should already know I'm right. Maybe you just like trolling people. Hmm.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Sorry, Mark, it ain't gonna happen. “

      Then respectfully I would hold that they did not say it and you were just giving a Keith Olberman/ Rush Limbaugh style leftist/right wing rant. Just like others on the extreme.

      The thing is that, unlike you, I do visit multiple news outlets and I do not remember the Christians attacking education funding. I am sure there might be some group out there, anything can happen, but I would like to see your examples …. which you will not provide. 🙁

      June 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Jeff I for one support all of the experiments with vouchers, charter schools, etc. But you can't preach excellence in education and support these dumbed down Christianized Texas school books, esp in science but also, as David points out, history.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, suit yourself. I feel no need to provide you, a card-carrying Republican, with links to your own party's propaganda and political maneuvers. Why ask me for what you should already know? I think you are just trying to discredit what I am saying, but that is nothing new, is it?
      Education, health care, higher education, and anything the Dems have supported are all marked for destruction by the Republicans.
      You are a member of the party of "no". Where's the middle ground if you just keep saying no?
      Republican obstructionist policies are vastly different from the regular push-and-pull of politics. The GOP is trying for the "Final Solution" without regards to reason, logic, or American values. You guys are the Hitlers. You seek to turn the clock back to when everyone had to drink at different fountains, live in separate neighborhoods, and no free speech allowed by anyone not in the elitist groups holding all the pollitical power.
      Poor people are getting poorer without having the possibility of a job to lift them out of poverty.
      And all your party can do is sneer at the poor, slash funding for education, health care, and welfare.
      You guys are even going after unemployment benefits, exacerbating the problems of poor and low-income workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
      But the Republicans keep laughing and sneering at the poor while they do their damdest to shove this country deeper into the hole. No help is forthcoming from the right-wing. You guys have made that ABUNDANTLY clear.
      So, no, I feel no need to provide a Republican with links to his own party's blatant anti-Americanisms. Nope.

      By the way, CNN is not the only place I go either. But I don't feel a need to list them for you. You obviously don't really give a crap about anyone but yourself.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  8. Freethinksman

    There is no place for religion in the public square. Not only is it guaranteed to alienate those who don't believe, it's pointless. If it served a greater good; if was effective; even if just made everyone feel better, I could be convinced. But it does none of those things. It's pointless, selfish, and foolish. I don't care whether the prayer is to Jeebus or Seitan, it's all nonsensical rubbish. Like certain body parts, religion might be fun to play with by yourself. But please, don't wag it about in public. And please, please do not show it to my kids.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      " please, don't wag it about in public. And please, please do not show it to my kids."

      Is that the same thing as when those extremist say to gays and lesbians to not show signs of their lifestyles in public and to leave it at home? Or when a black guy and a white girl are seen married walking hand and hand?

      It appears that you are picking and choose what is approprite for people to display in public.

      How very Pat Robertson 700 club of you lol 😀

      June 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, he is at least asking politely. When has your side ever done that?
      Legislating your private religious moral values onto the rest of us violate our 1st Amendment protections.
      Asking someone is not forcing legislation into people's lives, so your analogy doesn't quite fit. Sorry.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Oslo. We have Gay and Lesbian churches and Bishops and ministers in other denominations as well. We have churches that have mixed couples. So with my side, I ask you like I ask Davey... which side are you speaking of?

      Legislation is one of those ways that folks can have their views forced down other peoples throats. You will find this to matter of buisness to matters war to if a metermaid can ticket a car. Any time a statement is made on either side that folks are forcing things down their throats it is only when rulings do not go their way. Happiness might not be found in a Texas ruling but in a Berkley ruling you might find it. The same can be said from the other side as well 🙂

      June 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Also, "asking politely", so if each side had placed a polite request. The students asking the atheist family if they can pray and the athiest family asking that the students do not pray... then what? Do you feel that asking politely ever counted that much in such a argument?

      June 6, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, in this case it was Freethinksman asking for consideration, not the people involved in the Texas case.
      In the Texas case, no polite inquiries were even made by the valedictorian but instead the prayers were endorsed by the school district without any legal basis or reason to do so.
      If the girl didn't have enough sense to understand that what she was doing was disrespectful and that it would create a legal issue with her at the center, then they should have asked someone else with more sense to speak as valedictorian.
      Prayers can be done privately with absolutely no problem as long as it doesn't violate any laws (like disturbing the peace, incitement to riot, etc.)
      Why didn't they just have a private prayer meeting off to the side or simply have a church-based reception after the graduation ceremony? Why could they not focus on the graduation of students without feeling the need to be intrusive and over-bearing with their religious views to the point that a legal case could be made against them?
      The oversight of the ceremony was certainly lacking in due diligence, and the school officials (religious believers I do not doubt) should be charged with malfeasance for violating the law regardless of their personal religious beliefs.
      I would say the same if an atheistic proclamation were endorsed by the school district in the same way.
      It is not the message I object to in this case, it is the violation of the law that is cause for concern.
      But what can you expect from people who live in a state where the textbooks have been corrupted with lies?
      They are no longer teaching what is real anymore in those cases and turning the school system into a private religious instltution. A clear violation of law regardless of the content.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”...enough sense to understand that what she was doing was disrespectful”

      Question would then come from the extremes on my side of how disrespectful it was for this one family to try to limit her speech. See Oslo, you are not getting this through your head. The problem with the extremes is that both over and over again continue to act as if they are the only ones being attacked.

      >>> “Prayers can be done privately with absolutely no problem... “

      Oh thank you for saying when and where we of Faith should pray. I thought we were a part of society as anyone else. 🙂 I see you have the Pat Robertson gene as well desiring that those that believe, look, and act differently should, for the sake of society, best to do it in private … as to not cause “problems” ..lol.

      >>>”Why didn't they just have a private prayer meeting off to the side or simply have a church-based reception after the graduation ceremony? “

      Because those of Faith are just as much of a members of society as anyone else. Please Oslo, use the “would you let a Neo-Nazi speak” argument 🙂

      >>> “...he school officials (religious believers I do not doubt) should be charged with malfeasance for violating the law regardless of their personal religious beliefs.”

      Ahh, we should lock up those that interpret the law differently than we do. Sounds like you are leaving the 700 club and skipping right to the Final Solution.

      The schools have long been a place of learning your ABCs and 123s. Right now it is a place to grab up young minds and get them to think the way one side(s) or the other thinks. This goes from Gay and Lesbian rights to Smoking rights to how we should believe what is good for the environment. A old TV show had a monologue where one guy was talking to another and said that in their small western town, when the government came in the first thing they built was not a jail, or a courthouse. The first thing they built was a school. The key to the future is and has always been the kids. That is why the battle ground for these types of arguments find themselves again and again at the school house.

      Lastly, you keep saying a clear violation of the law. Seeing as how this ruling goes one way in one courthouse and another way in another courthouse.... it seems the only thing that is truthfully clear is that there are multiple interpretations of the law.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • Oso

      Ahhh, Mark, I see I have disturbed your thinking processes to the point where you cannot refute my arguments rationally.
      Sorry. I did not mean to mess you up that bad. Sorry, sorry, sorry.
      Forgive me, Mark. I forgot that you are lacking certain things. sorry.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Don't punch dunk folks, like yourself hardly know that they have been beaten ... badly beaten..

      I will tell you this. I have 30 more mins here at work so I know that when I go silent you will be able to go to your locker room and hit the showers and try to figure out how a middle ground Republican can hit so very hard. 🙂

      June 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Oso

      Keep patting yourself on the back, Mark, cause no one else is going to do it.
      Enjoy your delusions of victory. I'm sure they are very comforting.
      As far as I am concerned, you are not very good at arguing.
      Anyone with good reading skills can judge for themselves who was winning these arguments we've had.
      But have a nice day anyway, o little brother.
      I hope I gave you some food for thought. If I did, then I succeeded in my goals.
      Equality makes everyone win. Equality is NOT what Republicans are about, is it? Nope.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mark: Yes, asking politely counts. It always does IMHO.

      I do take issue with the fact you keep trying to point out that everything seems to be equal. It is not. You are equating apples to oranges to make your point seem fair when it simply is not.
      Just because there are a very tiny minority of churches that accept gay people, does not equal out the huge anti-gay religious movement around the country and world. It is unfair to lump all religious people as being anti-gay. But it is equally unfair to imply that religious organizations on the whole are NOT anti-gay. They are overwhelmingly anti-gay.
      Also asking that an all-inclusive public event at a school remain secular is NOT an extreme. The school catering to Christianity alone is exclusivity and extreme. Secularism is the middle ground. This persecution complex argument you are putting on is simply false not to mention unbecoming. Christians' rights are not being infringed if they are asked to uphold a secular neutrality in state-sponsored public activities. Comparing that to hom-ophobia, or racial segregation is another apples to oranges situation and is patently false.

      Again leaping to the Nazi talk. With the numerous times you've invoked Hitler and his final solution, some people might get the idea that it's usual for conservative types to use such extremist rhetoric...

      The fact that you seem to look at school grounds as a battlefield where religion needs a faction is telling about your stance here. A public school is a place for neutrality. Esp religious neutrality. Atheists are not asking that students be taught there is no god. Why should the Christians ask that their religion be the one that is spoken?

      June 7, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  9. First Amendment

    I've been violated.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Rush Limbaugh's Favorite Animal P0rn DVD

      Violated? Naw, it's just a bit of friendly sodomy from your conservatives friends. You know, the wade stance party.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  10. GSA

    A lot of fuss over nothing. For the ppl that felt disrespected by the prayer they should have walked out at that moment. They had this issue at my high school and all the non-Christians, Muslims/Hindu's/Sikhs and even non-believers got together and made their own space for their respective prayers as well. Either way it didn't really bother me since I don't think school is an appropriate place for prayers but it worked out for all in the end.

    @Colin – love the litmus test idea, although once each respective religious leader realized their prayer had not worked they would blame it on the devil, lol.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  11. David Johnson

    Quote from the article:

    “God, I thank you for the support of the entire community through this case hearing," she said.

    If god could cause the entire community (or anyone) to support or appose any actions, then how can Christians claim free will?


    June 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Frogist

      @David: I wonder if she knew (or cared) that the family of the agnostic boy was being harrassed and threatened by that same community.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  12. Colin

    I would support school prayer in the following circu.mstances.

    We set up a strip of blue litmus paper with a test tube of an acidic solution poised above it. We have all the students in class pray to god that it will not turn red when the test tube is upended and the acid pours on it. The students can also bring along their priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, and other religious authority figures to lead their prayers. They can all pray, chant, implore and bob to their various sky-deities that the litmus paper not turn red. We then upturn the test tube and see what happens.

    We do this experiment every day, sometimes substi.tuting red litmus paper for blue litmus paper and an alkali solution for the acid solution – with the appropriate change in the prayer. We can even use different set ups for the different gods (lest the prayers somehow “cancel each other out”).

    We do this experiment every day for their entire high school experience. They are invited to pray to or implore any god, ghost or demon. They can bring along the Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dalia Lama, head of the Orthodox Church, the USA’s most sacred rabbi etc., etc. to join their prayers.

    As we know, their prayers to their gods will fail every day of every week of every year. Every single time, without doubt and 100% guaranteed.

    This will help the students understand (i) the futility of prayer when the results can REALLY be tested; (ii) the silliness of still believing in gods; (iii) the frailties of their religious leaders as they scurry for excuses –“god won’t be tested”, “god moves in mysterious ways” etc; and (iv) the weakness of human nature as the religious right moves to shut the experiment down.

    Now that’s what I call a litmus test.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Oso

      Excellent idea! Too bad religious people do not want proof that they have been lied to about their religion.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • LinCA


      Give them 15 minutes before regular classes start and group them by religion/denomination/sect/cult. That way, you will also establish which religion/denomination/sect/cult is superior to all the others should one manage to achieve the stated goal.

      There's an added bonus that the atheists get to sleep in an extra 15 minutes.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  13. Sleeping Beauty

    If I may add that the Schultz family missed out on a very special event all because they were to close minded to attend. Its not about beliefs at a graduation. I dont believe they felt threatened at all. It is all a publicity stunt for them as it is for all the nonsense people file suit on because they dont feel its right for them.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Oso

      If it's not about beliefs at a graduation, then why make a big deal about praying there?
      Bah, you're a filthy hypocrite.
      Go back to sleep. You are still ugly.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Oso, what are twelve?

      June 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Oso

      "What are twelve?"
      Mark, I do not understand that post. Could you spell out what you are trying to say?

      June 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      You called the person filthy and that they were "You are still ugly." I took it as jest so I responded as such. I mean I do not really think that you believe that just because a person believes differently than you that they are ugly and filty, do you? 🙂

      June 6, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, you are correct. I was being humorous and using hyperbole in an effort to improve the quality of Sleeping Beauty's posts.
      But I still don't understand the "twelve" reference at all. Not a problem, though. Thanks for responding to my question.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  14. Oso

    Where is the respect for the non-religious here?
    Those Christians who were threatening the non-Christians should be ashamed of themselves.
    Due to threatening behavior by religious nuts, that young man had to stay home and avoid the graduation ceremony.
    What gives those intolerant Christians the right to engage in a hostile and threatening manner towards anyone?
    Nothing gives them that right. They are violating the law.
    As to the prayers being school-sponsored, if that wasn't the case, then how did anyone know that the student was going to lead the whole class in prayer while standing behind the podium?
    That permission was given by the school and no doubt approved by all the Christians within the school faculty only proves that the original ruling was the correct one.
    There appears to have been tacit approval and consent by the school for the prayer to be included in the ceremony, therefore the school did indeed sponsor and endorse the prayer and violated the First Amendment thereby.
    The "emergency" appeal by the school district itself is proof that they were blatantly sponsoring the prayer – a religious function banned by our U.S. Constltution.
    That's their big mistake. They should not have fought the ruling. They were caught trying to violate the First Amendment and appealed it in order to finally commit the violation. Their "emergency" appeal was not an emergency in any way and I wonder how anyone could turn a blind eye to that fact...unless they were religious themselves and wanting to help the school district violate the First Amendment in this way.
    Collusion and conspiracy to violate the First Amendment fairly screams throughout this whole article.
    Violating the Constltution is supposed to be a very serious thing.
    I guess religious beliefs make violating the law okay.
    It happens so often I guess we'd better burn the Constltution and start over as a theocracy. Maybe we'll save some money that way.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      I share your outrage, but due to CNN's incomplete reporting here, I can't any longer form an opinion here. I first heard that the school system was saying the student speakers were chosen at random, now I read differing reports, including that the prayor was the valedictorian. That is an interesting twist if she really was, as that may be considered an "official" position she held. Not sure. But nitpicking aside, fundamentally I fail to see how the religious people can't see that this IS a threat to THEM.
      Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) (about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. The text of the quotation is usually presented roughly as follows:)
      First they came for the Jews,
      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
      Then they came for the trade unionists,
      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
      Then they came for the communists,
      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
      Then they came for me
      and there was no one left to speak out for me.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The problem with your statement Jock is that, like it or not, each group felt it was targeted. To each side, they were the helpless Jews and the other side were the Nazis.

      One subjected to a religious prayer and the other threats that they could not freely express their religious views. The wild thing is that this debat has gone on for a while and often after being told they can not say a prayer the kids do it anyway.

      Hard to find middle ground on this one.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, there is middle ground here, but the religious people are not willing to follow the law that would bring them to the middle ground in this case.
      Is there middle ground between a bank robber and the bank? No.
      Only when all parties follow the law can good middle ground be reached. Otherwise it is the tyranny of the religious right who do not respect OUR Constltution that creates these problems.
      We can meet at the Constltution, the Supreme Law of these United States. It is the middle ground where we are all Americans together being citizens of the same country.
      The rule of law is not an empty concept. One cannot make middle ground out of criminal behavior, either.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      “Only when all parties follow the law can good middle ground be reached. ”

      “Mark, there is middle ground here, but the religious people are not willing to follow the law that would bring them to the middle ground in this case.”

      “Only when all parties follow the law can good middle ground be reached. Otherwise it is the tyranny of the religious right who do not respect OUR Consti'tution that creates these problems.”

      Oso, that is what I am saying. If the decision had fallen for the atheist parents then the those of Faith would be saying thing about the tyranny of not having the Government control your faith and your right to speak.

      It I foolish to claim that a middle ground only exist when outcomes fall your way. That is like saying that there can be peace only when I have slaughtered all of your people.

      The consti'tution does back up these justices and if the trial was held in Berkley and the courts had gone the other way I have no doubt that their interpretation of the law would back them up in the same matter.

      You speak of the law and the const'itution as something that is seen by everyone the exact same way. If this were true why do we have all of these levels of the Judicial system Oso. If the law were seen by everyone the same then we would only need judges at the district level but we do not have that, do we?

      The point is this, yes there is middle ground with a bank robber. With a g'un to your head and the alarms going off with police on the way to kill the bank robber.... I am pretty sure that quick negotiations can happen. 🙂

      June 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Oso

      Mark, those "negotiations" under duress are coercion and not real negotiations at all. Threatening someone with a gun is not negotiating. Maybe you were just trying that as an analogy, but it really doesn't work.

      You might have fun saying that the problem here is that "things didn't go my way", but my way is equality under the law for everyone regardless of race, creed, disability, etc.
      Equality under the law is what most of the Constltution is about.
      Saying that any inequality in my favor would be my justification for any of my arguments is just making it look like you have no understanding of the First Amendment.
      Let's use your propensity for bringing up Hitler so often in your posts.
      You like labeling anyone who does not seek middle ground as being a fascist in some way, do you not?
      Yet between equal parties, there is no imbalance of power, no inequality under the law, etc. There would be a level playing field and that would help in finding common ground from which we could all move forward.
      But accusing victims that they are just being biased against those who have committed crimes against them is not helping your arguments at all.
      In fact, that is what many on the political right have done to discredit any protests by the left against their abuses of power and their criminal behavior.
      One does not make treaties with violators. To do so is to go against the rule of law. That was my point about bank robbers having no middle ground with the bank they were committing a crime against.
      Equal rights for everyone is what we need and what the political and religious right continue to fight against.
      If you want middle ground, fight for equality first. Then when we are all equal under the law, we can move forward and make real progress instead of keeping things the way they are or regressing into the past mistakes of history.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      “In fact, that is what many on the political right have done to discredit any protests by the left against their abuses of power and their criminal behavior.”

      Oslo, your speech is from the those on the extreme left. The same is being said on my side on the extreme right. Both sides declaring that the other side is discrediting the other side so as to continue their reign of terror. The first step of finding the middle ground is to accept that both sides exist and are not evil incarnate. The second step is to realize that all laws are up for interpretation. No one side(s) have a full lock on what the law is supposed to say. That is why judges get the big bucks but good lawyers get the bigger bucks.

      >>>“You like labeling anyone who does not seek middle ground as being a fascist in some way, do you not?”

      I label those that feel that the only way for peace is with the opposing side dead or subdued as wrong. I glorify those that come to the realization that there can be other ways to peace and coexistence.

      My analogy sorta sticks but I am afraid you missed the entire story and only... like many on the extremes.... you only heard one side. You heard “gun to the head”.... did you see the other side:

      “...and the alarms going off with police on the way to kill the bank robber.... “

      That is the part of my analogy, both sides are sorta doomed. The bank robber can kill the clerk but the alarm is sounding and the police are coming. His chance for survival is going down rapidly.

      >>> “If you want middle ground, fight for equality first. Then when we are all equal under the law, we can move forward and make real progress “

      There is that law thing again. Who defines equality under the law, does the right to display openly a persons faith and a persons right to not have to hear it, either side have ultimate standing?

      Equality, middle ground, tolerance, co-existence ...all these require both sides to bend .. Middle ground is not you bend to me while I remain firm in my position. To find peace and coexistence requires that both of us will have to bend to each other.

      These sides could have worked this out.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      I don't see it that way at all. Those, (and it's only some of them) "religious" people who are saying their freedom of speech is being violated are perfectly free to express that anywhere they like, but not in this sort of "captive" audience situation. If the other side has to arrange an alternate "poor man's" ceremony it's NOT equality. The other side is perfectly willing to refrain from this nonsense in that setting. The middle ground you propose is not in the middle.
      The fact that the courts disagreed is an indication to me that this state still has a long way to go, (and while I agree totally with Oso), I see it's not, in the real world, as simple as he sees it. It should be, and some day hopefully will be, but right now we are only a few years from the days when Roy Moore got the boot, and unfortunately doesn't change over night.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Oso

      That is a better post, but you assume that any extremist position is incorrect simply because it appears extreme.
      I am not on the extreme left. I am an equal rights extremist.
      Consider that tltle I just made up for myself to refine my position for you.
      Equal rights extremist.
      Sounds like we should be on the same page, as you keep harping on seeking a middle ground, yet we are constantly at odds.
      Why is that? Do you not respect my insistence upon equal rights? Do you not respect the rule of law or equality under the law? Then why attack me with our corrupt legal system? I am against that too!
      Yet my extremism is no threat to anyone but the criminals who violate our equal rights in the name of religion...and in the name of whatever trumped up reasons they might have for violating our rights.
      I am fighting for your rights, Mark. And for the rights of religious people even as I deplore their adherence to falsehoods.
      The separation of church and state PROTECTS religion from the corrupting influences of politics and removes the inequalities of every American as regards religion.
      I am already fighting for you. Don't fight me on equal rights, Mark. You cannot win against my arguments when I am right as regards the law. My interpretations are not unequivocal no matter how many dissenting legal opinions you may bring against my arguments.
      Equality under the law means equal consideration for you. Why fight me on that? I am already on common ground.
      Your knee-jerk reactions to anything passionate is not a good basis from which to argue.
      My passion makes me an extremist, but not the sort that seeks genocidal solutions. Just the opposite in fact.
      Fight with me, Mark. Fight the good fight. Fight for equal rights under the law. Without rule of law it's "anything goes".
      Is that what you want? Anarchy?
      With anarchy there is no equality, no rights to anything, no peace, and no way of getting any of them.
      The rule of law is what makes us strong as a society, yet the corruption in government causes injustices to happen.
      Are you for injustice just as long as it is to the advantage of republicans? No? Then fight against corruption.
      Fight for the rule of law. Fight for accountability in government. This case is about corruption that violates the 1st Amend.
      Fight with me not against me. Find common ground against the injustices in this world.
      That is how I am being "extremist", yet it is just passion, zeal, etc. for humanity and human rights.
      Sounds pretty liberal, doesn't it? 😛

      June 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  15. Sleeping Beauty

    I applaud these students. Way to go!!! Non believers, Atheist etc want us to lean on their viewpoints and disregard ours all because they feel threatened. I am not going to back down from what I believe because you dont like it. I will pray wherever I want to and if you dont like it then dont watch or listen. I dont cram anything down your throats so dont try craming your nonsense down anyone else's.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > I applaud these students. Way to go!!! Non believers, Atheist etc want us to lean on their viewpoints and disregard ours all because they feel threatened.

      We don't feel threatened. We're rather amused if we didn't think it was so pathetic.

      > I am not going to back down from what I believe because you dont like it. I will pray wherever I want to and if you dont like it then dont watch or listen.

      No one is saying you have to. Why is it that you have to make up a position that doesn't exist?

      > I dont cram anything down your throats so dont try craming your nonsense down anyone else's.

      Except that you'd be the exception. Christians do try to ram their nonsense down our throats. Here's some of there more colourful and moronic claims:

      1) The United States was founded as a Christian Nation.
      2) Evolution is a religion.
      3) The morality in the bible gives a good guideline on how to live your life.

      And you know what, I wouldn't mind if they kept it to themselves. But they don't. They seek to legislate their beliefs.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Oso

      This happens to be about the First Amendment, which you clearly do not understand.
      Nobody is saying you can't pray on your own anywhere within reason, we are saying you cannot endorse or sponsor prayer using OUR public government.
      Private prayer is okay. You bring the school district into this and you're violating the First Amendment.
      That's how it works, you ignorant babboon.
      Go back to sleep.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @The Bobinator

      "They seek to legislate their beliefs."

      Yes! Your entire answer was very good. But, this one statement I quoted from you, expresses my total distaste for religion in general and Christianity in particular.


      June 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • An Atheist

      Bobinator: The U.S. was not founded as a Catholic nation. It was founded by Catholics. It is(although it is not shown) a religiously neutral country. These students legally should be allowed to pray because of the First Amendment. However, religion should have no place in public schools. It should be neutral.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • An Atheist

      Didn't mean to say to the Bobinator. Sorry Bob

      June 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      If you were graduating, listening to a Muslim prayer, you'd be singing a different tune.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      David Johnson
      @The Bobinator
      "They seek to legislate their beliefs."
      Yes! Your entire answer was very good. But, this one statement I quoted from you, expresses my total distaste for religion in general and Christianity in particular.
      Sorry to interrupt the love fest but, "They seek to legislate their beliefs.?" It appears my friend your arguement is one sided. Let me help you back into balance.
      1. Christians legislated and legalized abortion?
      2. Christians legislated prayer out of schools?

      What you have failed to mention is YOUR side attempts to and has sucessfully legislated your beliefs as much as anyone else, yet I see no mention of that! Why? Stop playing the victim card! If you had the opportunity, you would legislate Christianity out of existance. That makes you hypocritical.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Frogist

      Atheists are of varied positions on abortion rights so, unless you were taking about a different "side", your point does not follow.
      And prayer in schools is a matter of secularism which is something we all should embrace as it keeps us safe from someone else's religious view being foisted on us. I'm sure there are many who would attempt to legislate Christianity our of existence (not that I think that's possible), but secularism protects you from that possibility. Secular does not equal atheist nor does it equal persecution of Christians. The side you are fighting against is neutrality. How can anyone be against that?

      June 7, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      I lost my "S"!

      June 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  16. John Richardson

    Why should there be any public prayers outside of individual churches and other venues where people go precisely in order to pray with co-believers? And why do Christians insist on defying their own savior on this very issue?

    @Fordham Jack Should we have a lottery to decide what, if any, animal should be sacrificed at graduation?

    June 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      No. Was just saying this at least seems to be a small step forward. I also think "prayer" has no place in this setting, but you know, this IS Texas we're talking about here.... "baby steps".....
      We have to talk 'reality" here.
      At least in this case it's not a school administrator, official or board member. There is a line between a "state sponsored" activity, and a student activity, (from previous court decisions), (am a law student), and if it really is up to an individual student, it's less heinous than it could have been.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Oso

      Fordham J. – If you are a law student, then you'd better study harder. All the school district had to do was avoid mentioning any prayers being used. The minute they did that, they were de facto endorsing the prayer.
      They did not claim ignorance of the prayer. And the prayer was done as a part of the graduation ceremony.
      It's an endorsement of religion and a clear violation of the First Amendment.
      If the praying student had been smart enough to keep her speaking agenda to herself, there would have been no violation of the First Amendment as such.
      And the school district could have plead ignorance and avoided the initial ruling against them.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I can sort of accept the "baby steps" argument. This state has issues.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    "A prayer in a public school?!
    God has no place within these walls, just as facts have no place in organized religion!"
    – Supernintendo Chalmers (The Simpsons)

    June 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey Doc, I saw (and liked) that episode/commnet. A favorite bumper sticker of mine reads, "If you agree not to pray in our school, we'll agree not to think in your church".

      June 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      Religion, the only sphere where emotional pleas are considered as a solid,reasonable point.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Should pathos be ignored?

      June 6, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Doc V.

      Per usual, my friend... well said.


      June 7, 2011 at 2:15 am |
  18. CW



    June 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Should muslim students get extra breaks every school day to pray their way?

      June 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      Of course, you'd be fine then with students leading an Islamic prayer then CW?

      Because if you're not, you'd be a dirty, stinking hypocrite now wouldn't you?

      June 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • ScottK

      So I guess you would be fine with a student at a high school graduation getting up to the podium and saying "I would like to take this moment to reflect on how strength of will and character helped all of us to graduate today, and please join with me for a moment of reflection at how amazingly the human race has evolved, to this point of passing on our collective knowledge to each new class, and to hope that we add to it, for if we do not, the future may be very dim. If we do not accept the fact that we do have can have an adverse effect on the planet by the way we conduct ourselves, and that we are the only ones left who can change the future of our planet. God does not exist, so to wait on him to fix our problems is as futile as as hoping to mop up the gulf oil spill with a roll of paper towels. Please bow your heads in a moment of silence to signify the retaking of man's future from the grasp of organized religion and all of it's flawed reasoning."

      You, in the audience at that school where your child is also graduating...do you bow your head in a moment of silence respecting that students views?

      June 6, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Sean: Sadly Christians of CW's ilk and a great many who consider themselves moderate would probably have a problem with that speech. They would swiftly jump on the 'no religion in schools' bandwagon. It's a double standard that too many refuse to recognise.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Frogist

      My bad! I meant @ ScottK.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • David Johnson


      I am interested also. Please answer Doc Vestibule's and the Bobinator's questions.


      June 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Frogist – Agreed. It's just so frustrating to see so many people just like CW shouting comments supporting this kind of ignorance and exclusion. It's like listening to your 13 year old daughter tell you how awesome Miley Cyrus is as a musician but won't let you play her your favorite Rush songs for contrast. Christians will always plug their ears to the voice of reason, to do otherwise would be to abandon faith.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • CW

      @ Doc,

      I'll just say this....This country was built on christian beliefs, christian values, Christian morals...in essence the word of God. This country wasn't built on muhammad, buddha, or any other hindu god that someone wants to pray too. I'll leave it at that.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • LinCA

      @CW. You said:"This country was built on christian beliefs, christian values, Christian morals... [...] I'll leave it at that.

      Of course you'll leave it at that. Because if you looked at history honestly, even you, would realize that it is bullshit. This country was founded on the principle of separation of church and state to get away from the abuses of the church.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Rastafarians are Christians with Christian values.
      Should they be given an exemption from marijuana possession laws since they use it to get closer to God/Jesus?

      Your country was founded on principles of religious freedom, as stated explicitly in your most venerated docu.ments. Everybody, in theory, can pray in any way they like.
      The relevant question is what sorts of accomodations should public insti.tutions make for religious practices...

      June 7, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • The Bobinator

      I'll just say this....This country was built on christian beliefs, christian values, Christian morals...in essence the word of God. This country wasn't built on muhammad, buddha, or any other hindu god that someone wants to pray too. I'll leave it at that.

      Actually they weren't. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the nature of a democratic nation violates 5 of your 10 commandments. I guess Christianity had looser standards back then.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  19. Colin

    Praying hey? Isn't that where you think certain thoughts and a being that created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies (each with billions of stars, planets etc.) about 13,700,000,000 years ago uses its magic powers (or "sacred powers" to the extent you see a difference) to read your mind. It will then (if your "prayers are answered") interfere to change what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to suit your whims.

    Yeah, that belongs in school!! Right after classes on astrology and spo.on bending and right before classes on magic potions and tarot cards.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Colin: Sounds like Hogwarts! And we know how some of those conservative Christians feel about that...

      June 6, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      It's where they chant, and mumble, and "do lines", and talk to themselves and each other until a sufficient amount of beta-endorphins have been released and they get their fix, and thus "feel better".

      June 6, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Oso

      Bucky Ball, you are awesome dude! You make me feel like a stodgy old stick in the mud. Oh, wait, I am that already. 😛

      June 7, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Thanks Oso.
      I hope that little "problem" is resolving... ?
      I have many older friends. My hero is about 85 now. If it weren't for seeing there was a "way out" of the banality of my
      military high school setting by hanging around mature folks, I would never have made it. 😈

      June 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  20. Fordham Jock

    This sequence of events is a significant step forward from the Texas VA Cemetery Memorial Day ceremony, where the prayer was foisted on the audience when it was not expecting the pastor to be praying "in Jesus name. Amen".
    If the students were randomly selected, (and the pool of candidates did indeed include agnostics, and others), as the school system stated it did, (but not in this article), and the choice process was clearly known, as well as the families knowing IN ADVANCE the students would be presenting differing viewpoints, I have no problem with this.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.