June 2, 1995 in City

Freedom Of Speech Includes Prayers Pro-Graduation Prayers Aclu Exhibits Unparalleled Hypocrisy

By The Spokesman-Review
 

We can’t allow graduation prayer, sniffs the American Civil Liberties Union, because some people might be offended.

Imagine that - students being shocked on a public school campus. Students of faith regularly are jarred at school as they hear God cursed with impunity, are taught that their uncle was an evolving monkey, participate in values clarification that attacks their family values and take health classes that promote condoms over abstinence.

We all are confronted daily with offensive people, language and media images. That’s the price we pay for living in a free country.

But apparently, the ACLU speech police and a few intolerant student-pawns aren’t willing to pay that price. They’d rather stomp on the free-speech rights of students under the ruse that graduation prayer violates the separation of church and state.

What hypocrisy!

The ACLU can fight for the free speech of Vietnam War protesters, inner-city rioters, aggressive panhandlers and even the Ku Klux Klan. But it will sue students who attempt to exercise their freedom of speech and religion in a public prayer.

At Burbank, Wash., ACLU censors recently scared the Columbia School District board into revoking permission for graduation prayer - though 46 of 53 students had supported it. Trustees wanted to fight but couldn’t reconcile the financial cost. That’s how ACLU bullies succeed.

In Idaho, ACLU official Jack Van Valkenburgh warned school districts not to ignore the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in November against student-led graduation prayer. Said Van Valkenburgh smugly: “I believe they (pray) at their peril.”

Van Valkenburgh doesn’t mention a 1992 decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying that a student or outside speaker can pray on his or her own initiative. Graduation prayer is unconstitutional only when school officials request it.

The contradictory rulings in the federal courts prove this issue is far from over - and that judges allow their political leanings to sway them. Let’s hope the U.S. Supreme Court uses common sense and overturns the 9th Circuit Court ruling.

Then, freedom of speech and religion may apply again in school - as they apply to the prayer that opens a session of Congress.

, DataTimes MEMO: For the opposing view, see the story under the headline “Freedom of religion bars formal prayer Anti-graduation prayer No one can dictate religious views

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria/For the editorial board’s dissenters

For the opposing view, see the story under the headline “Freedom of religion bars formal prayer Anti-graduation prayer No one can dictate religious views

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria/For the editorial board’s dissenters


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