Imagine if high school students were given a ballot by their administration to vote on whether or not Creationism ought to be taught in their science classrooms. And imagine if most of them voted, “Yes! Teach it!”
It wouldn’t matter. Creationism isn’t science and it should stay out of the classroom, regardless of how many people want it to be taught.
What if students voted in favor of a prayer to be read over the intercom each morning during class?
It wouldn’t matter. Still illegal.
Yet, the administration at Greenwood High School in Indiana seem to think it’s ok to have students vote on saying a prayer during their graduation ceremony. The students voted in favor of the prayer, but that still doesn’t make it legal.
I guess those of us who see that know more about the law than the school’s attorney:
“The school did not endorse religion! It hasn’t coerced anyone. It hasn’t done anything wrong! It’s merely giving students a forum for which they can seek and express their own viewpoints,” said Attorney Judy Woods.
The school gave students a ballot asking if they wanted to pray. That is an endorsement of prayer.
Look, if students want to pray when they graduate, they can. Hell, I think a valedictorian who wants to thank god in her speech giving her academic strength (or whatever) should be allowed to do so.
But there can be no “official prayer” at a graduation. It doesn’t matter what the students want.
At least Judge Sarah Evans Barker knows better:
U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker late Friday issued a preliminary injunction against Greenwood High School, which had planned the prayer at its May 28 commencement.
The lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana claimed the prayer and a senior class vote approving it unconstitutionally subjected religious practice to majority rule.
Barker’s ruling says the vote to allow the prayer and the prayer itself violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
This is an easy call to make. Students ought to be embarrassed by the adults in their building who don’t even understand basic concepts of the law. What sort of education are you going to get when your school is run by people like this? I at least hope some teachers were vocal against this idea.
By the way, here’s the kicker.
Like I said before, I can’t wait to read a transcript of his valedictorian speech.
(via Skeptic Money)
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