Carolyn Bower of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch masters understatement in her report on Lindbergh High School’s students holding separate baccalaureates this year. It seems one group didn’t want to hear anything from the Qur’an, while another group didn’t want to be preached at. But let’s turn the narrative over to Bower’s story, which is all the richer for its just-the-facts tone and lack of scare quotes:
Baccalaureates are traditionally religious services held before graduation. One of Lindbergh’s will begin at 7 p.m. tonight in the high school auditorium in south St. Louis County. Invitations have listed TV evangelist Joyce Meyer as the invited headliner. Organizers call the event a biblical baccalaureate.
The other was May 17 in the auditorium also. The service offered reflections, a prayer, music, speeches and a video of teachers offering advice to students.
Earlier this year students began to disagree about what to offer in the baccalaureate service as well as who should organize the event.
Trinity Fry, 18, a Lindbergh senior, along with her mother, Joyce Fry, helped to organize tonight’s service.
“The biggest thing we didn’t want was people reading out of the Quran or other things,” Trinity said. “We wanted to include all students, but we didn’t want an interfaith service.” Trinity did not attend the service last week.
Rob Boston of Americans United also is understated in the response he offered to Bower:
Rob Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says the best solution is to have privately sponsored baccalaureates in private buildings or churches.
Boston said the Lindbergh case offered “a bit of a twist,” holding a privately sponsored baccalaureate on school grounds. But he said laws allow for private groups to access facilities on an equal basis.
“I’m not aware of other cases like this,” Boston said, adding he was shocked to hear Joyce Meyer would headline the event. “Those who attend can expect a heavy dose of Christian proselytizing.”
Bower missed one blazing irony in the story: The students who don’t want to hear anything from the Qur’an are apparently fine with hearing from one of the leading voices of prosperity theology (as reported with admirable thoroughness in the Post-Dispatch two years ago).