Stick with this video to its bizarre ending. I oppose benedictions and forced group prayer in public institutions because of the offensive presumption to speak on behalf of a mixed group in the case of group prayer and the arrogant presumption that the audience accepts the authority of the giver of the benediction to invoke a divine blessing on anyone else in the case of a benediction. Of course, I don’t mind at my own school since it’s a private institution and clearly religiously affiliated. I knew what I signed up for and accept it. And I also don’t mind if valedictorians, public officials, and other publicly designated speakers include among their remarks a mention of what they pray for. So, rather than a valedictorian praying on behalf or praying for me, she may report during her speech that she prays for certain things related to me. That’s fine with me, just don’t presume to lead me in prayer or try to invoke blessings or curses upon me in an event sponsored by a public institution. That’s how I try to thread the needle of public freedom to express private beliefs in a way that does not violate the separation of religious practices and institutions from public ones. In this wild video, this valedictorian does not even attempt to thread any such needles but rather works herself up into a creepy breakdown:
For what I consider to be a far more admirable benediction, check this out.