I mentioned the story of Erica Corder a couple days ago — she’s the high school valedictorian who submitted her graduation speech in advance to school officials, as their rules dictated. But when graduation took place, she broke from the pre-written speech and talked about Jesus instead.
Long story short, the principal made her apologize. She did, then she sued. A court threw out the case. She appealed. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week in favor of the school officials (PDF).
Erica is now a student at Wheaton College in Illinois. I had a chance to ask Erica a few questions about her case. Her responses are below:
Hemant: Will you take this case any further? Try for the Supreme Court?
Erica: I have not decided if I will take this case any further.
Hemant: Do you feel the school reprimanded you because you spoke about your Christian faith or for other reasons? Do you think you would’ve been forced to apologize if you had spoken about, say, your non-Christian faith or your atheism?Erica: I do believe that the school reprimanded me for my Christian faith, but also bc I did not inform them of what I was going to say ahead of time. However, I was told that if I had asked permission I would not have been allowed to say what I did. I doubt that the situation would have been handled the same if I had not used Jesus’ name.
Hemant: Has this case affected you in any way in college?
Erica: This case has not affected me much in college. I did not file the case for myself but for the benefit of future [Lewis-Palmer High School] students. My hope is that, in the future, students will not be punished for sharing their own beliefs at graduation.
Hemant: Are you still a vocal advocate for Christianity?
Erica: Yes, I am still a vocal advocate for Jesus. I enjoy sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who do not know Him 🙂
Hemant: If you could do it again, would you have given the same speech?
Erica: Yes, I think I would give my speech again, if that is what I felt God calling me to do.