ACLU’s attempt to squelch ‘religious speech’ at Florida H.S. graduations challenged

Religious speech cannot be treated as second class. – Alliance Defense Fund attorney

By JIM BROWN
OneNewsNow.com

June 18, 2007 – TheScroogeReport.com Post

A Christian legal group says the American Civil Liberties Union is overreacting in its attempt to pressure a Florida high school into censoring the religious speech of students. The ACLU is calling on the Duval County School Board to adopt a new student speech policy in light of a recent valedictory address at Wolfson High School in Jacksonville.

During her 20-minute graduation address, Christian student Shannon Spaulding talked about her faith in God and implored the audience to invite Jesus Christ into their lives. Attorney Jeremy Tedesco with the Alliance Defense Fund has sent a letter to the board, informing it that Spaulding’s speech did not violate the supposed “separation of church and state.”

“Religious speech cannot be treated as second class,” Tedesco argues. “Certainly a student’s First Amendment rights don’t end at commencement ceremonies, especially when you’re a valedictorian who’s been selected or worked hard to have the opportunity to say your peace of mind at a ceremony.”

The attorney says as long as schools have a policy that allows students to have control over the speech they give, there is no violation of the Establishment Clause.

“The interesting thing about this situation is that this exact school district was subject to a lawsuit back in the late 90s, early 2000s, over graduation speeches that contained religious content,” says Tedesco. “And the policy the school district had in place was upheld by a federal court. So there’s no reason for this school to change its policy. Its policy is fully constitutional.”

Now the ACLU is demanding the Duval County School Board amend it graduation speech policy to prevent future recurrences of religious expression at commencement.

All Original Content Copyright 2006-2007 American Family News Network – All Rights Reserved

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Related Story:

Valedictorian, Jesus put a crimp on high school graduation ceremony

7 thoughts on “ACLU’s attempt to squelch ‘religious speech’ at Florida H.S. graduations challenged

  1. hoo-ray,hoo-ray-hoo-ray,good for shannon spaulding.tell everyone about our lord and saviour JESUS CHRIST.THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS WORLD.AND CHRISTIANS HAVE ALLOWED PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE COME INTO THIS UNITED STATES AND TRY TO DO AWAY WITH THE ONE TRUE REALITY.NOT RELIGION,IT’S REALITY.GOD MADE US AND EVEN GAVE US A SET OF INSTRUCTIONS TO READ AND FOLLOW SO WE WOULD HAVE THE BEST LIFE WE COULD.ONE THING I NEVER UNDERSTOOD IS WHEN IT FIRST STARTED ABOUT TAKING PRAYER OUT OF SCHOOL,WHY WASN’T IT GIVEN STUDENTS A CHOICE OF BIBLE STUDY OR ANOTHER CLASS. BECAUSE CHRISTIANS STOOD BY AND DID NOTHING.DOES ANYONE THINK IT A STRANGE THING THAT THE BIBLE IS THE NUMBER ONE SELLING BOOK OF ALL TIME.I’VE ALWAYS HAD THE WORD OF GOD IN MY LIFE.IN 1990 I WENT INTO EXTENSIVE STUDY AND HAVE BEEN STUDING EVER SINCE.I THINK IT’S THE MOST EXCITING STUDY I EVER STARTED.AND YOU KNOW SOMETHING ELSE.IT IS SO FULFILLING BECAUSE IT NEVER ENDS.THE LAST GENERATION STARTED MAY 15,1948.EVEN THO I’M NOT THAT OLD,I HAVE SEEN MANY PHROPHECIES COME TO PAST.AND I’M WATCHING FOR MORE.GOD SAID NO ONE KNEW THE EXACT TIME OF THE END.BUT GOD SHOWED US TO WATCH FOR CERTAIN SEASONS AND SIGNS AND YOU CAN GET REAL CLOSE.THERE IS ONE PHROPHECY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT I EVEN HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF PARTAKING IN.RIGHT NOW ALL I’M GOING TO SAY IS THAT ANYTHING THAT COMES OUT AGAINST THE WORD OF THE ONE TRUE GOD IS NOTHING BUT THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL.WE’LL CHAT AGAIN

  2. We need to teach our kids about the really true one reality, Allah. That is what is wrong with America, we need to teach about the one true God, Allah, or wait maybe it was it Ngai, or maybe the personal god Vishnu, or maybe the one true God was “The Great Spirit” who native Americans worshipped. How will we ever decide?

    Just the devil in me I guess.

  3. I applaud Shannon Spaulding for her faith and courage. The ACLU is very selective in their defense of free speech. If a valedictory address had focused on bashing Christian beliefs, then the ACLU would have quickly rallied to the speaker’s defense.

  4. If first amendment rights protect the filth that we hear in music, television and movies, who the heck does the ACLU think they are to attempt to extinguish the personal feelings of an intelligent student? She can say what she wants and she has the United States Constitution to back her up. I am SO proud of this young woman for her belief and courage to share it. We all know there are many beliefs involved in various ways to worship, or not worship…as we are inundated in this era to appease the beliefs of the non-believer…oh my goodness, let’s not offend the athiests of the world. Oh atheist, why are you offended because some of us want to talk about a God? Live and let live…religious people put up with you, you can put up with us!!

  5. i’m not sure what a graduation speech has to do with people inviting Jesus Christ into their lives, but it could be said that the speaker had a captive audience- an audience that is more inclined to be influenced- and that by allowing such a declaration the school could be promoting religious- make that specific religious endorsement- as the comments were on school grounds and were not simply about her belief in Jesus Christ but publicly endorsing a religion to an audience that again she has some sway over. but yes it is a bit much to charge religius endorsement to a speech that is emotionally charged- there is some sound resoning not to classify this as censorship, but to pursue charges seems ridicilous and overkill.

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