South Carolina Student Trying to Stop High School Graduation Prayer Gets More Media Attention

If you haven’t been paying attention for the last few days, you can catch up and check out Max Nielson‘s story here, here, and here.  He’s a student who tried to put a stop to his public high school’s graduation prayer and the story has reached SourceFed!

 

 

Max also had an interview with another local news station, the local FOX affiliate, which (if you ask me) is the best interview so far. There’s been a lot of concern raised over whether or not Max was raising awareness of this issue for the sake of money — he absolutely is not. He is suing for damages, yes, for a total sum of… $1. At least they managed to include that bit of information in the FOX interview:

 

 

If you’re interested, you can read the rest of the article here.

He’s also been covered in The State. the aptly-named state newspaper for South Carolina. They actually managed to get the numbers from the vote for Irmo High School’s graduation prayer — 252 students voted in favor of the prayer and 53 voted against it, with the rest of the seniors either absent or abstaining. However, there were 412 seniors that graduated from Irmo this year. The votes for and against tally up to 305, meaning over 100 seniors were unaccounted for. Not that it would have made a difference. But keep this in mind: even if it the votes were 411 for prayer and 1 against, it would still be unconstitutional. The numbers only show that Max wasn’t alone with his feeling of being left out from his graduation ceremony on account of this.

About Kelley Freeman

Kelley is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina. She is a former president of the Secular Student Alliance at the University of South Carolina and a former intern for both SSA and Foundation Beyond Belief. Kelley is also a board member for both Camp Quest South Carolina and the Carolinas Secular Association, a Volunteer Network Coordinator for the southeastern region for the SSA, runs a vlog series called Secular Start Up, sometimes does stand up comedy and can crochet like a fiend. She's on her way to becoming a Jane of All Trades. Follow her on twitter @ramenneedles

  • Harrison

    Even if the votes were 412 for prayer and 0 against, it’d still be unconstitutional.

  • Ryan Jean

    “But keep this in mind: even if it the votes were 411 for prayer and 1 against, it would still be unconstitutional.”

    I think it’s more important to point out that even if the class voted 412-0 it would still be unconstitutional, just unchallenged. There need not be an aggrieved party to have a policy be an constitutional infraction. The problem is that the way the culture wars are these things won’t get dealt with proactively, but instead need that aggrieved party to demand action by protest and perhaps a civil suit.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    What struck me is that he’s an Eagle Scout.  And an atheist.  Would love to know how THAT works. 

    In previous stories I hadn’t heard that he was an atheist, and wondered if him NOT being an atheist (my assumption based on his being an Eagle Scout) would change public perception of him.

    • viddy_well

      He had this to say in a previous post:

      “It’s important to keep in mind that Scouting in America is a force for good, despite the influence of the wealthy Texan Republicans who control national policy. I kept that in mind, and it got me through my project and board. What you should remember, is that the Eagle Scout rank is evidence of your belief in America and the principals of a responsible humanitarian, not God.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Interesting.  Honestly sounds like hypocritical in his principled stands, but I guess we all choose our own battles.  I wonder what would happen if some people, upon earning Eagle Scout, refused it in protest of  ‘wealthy Texan Republican’ anti-gay anti-atheist policies.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    Weren’t there a few commeters who were saying that this was possibly just for the money?

    Yeah, they can shut up now.

    • Au_catboy

      What makes you think they’d let a little thing like REALITY get in the way of their delusional conspiracy-mongering and persecution complex? 

      • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

         Well, it kind of depends, actually. It could be argued that he noticed what happened with Jessica Ahlquist. Maybe the idea of having a rather large chunk of his college expenses paid for suing his local school over a religious offense was very tempting.

        Or more likely I’m blowing smoke out of my ass. It’s really difficult to know the motivations of people, even with a lot of the facts. My point is, it could still be argued that he’s doing it for money, just not directly from the school.

  • One Side

    Well, now this case if it gets heard should establish a more clear precedent, I don’t think its ‘unconstitutional” (allaaa Santa Fe) but it is an interesting point, the courts will decided.

  • Wim

    This story is also being featured on the front page of CNN right now:

    http://us.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_t3#/video/us/2012/06/01/dnt-tx-atheist-graduate.kabb

  • http://www.facebook.com/cburschka Christoph Burschka

    Great, another Evil Little Thing! (Except he seems a bit too tall for that.)

    The dam’s broken. I think we’ll see one of these lawsuits every couple of months now that everyone is realizing that they don’t have to put up with this unconstitutional crap anymore.

  • philopsycho

    I live one mile from Irmo High School. I expected to see picketing signs or some such going on, but so far all is quiet. Local Facebook activity makes him out to be an ass, but I’m glad he’s standing up for it, given that he has nothing to gain as a student. My concern is the cost to the school district. I can just see Gov. Nikki Haley and her drones pulling funds and blaming the lawsuit.


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