To Brittany McComb, We Are Your Microphone!

The U.S. Supreme Court and government officials are about to find out that the result of a shut off microphone during high school valedictorian Brittany McComb’s speech and testimony to Jesus is a voice louder than anyone can imagine.

Rutherford Institute to Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court on Behalf of High School Valedictorian Censored, Silenced for Referencing Christ

— (The Rutherford Institute) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed the First Amendment case of a high school valedictorian whose microphone was turned off after she began speaking about the importance of religion in her life during her graduation speech.

In issuing an unpublished decision in the case, the Court ruled that school officials did not violate the First Amendment rights of Brittany McComb when they cut off her microphone. McComb, who is currently studying at Oxford University, plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court with the help of The Rutherford Institute.
brittany censored

“This is a very important free speech case that will affect the rights of all persons across America,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “If government officials can extinguish speech by turning off microphones at public assemblies, then none of us will have any rights.”

In the spring of 2006, Brittany McComb was one of three valedictorians chosen based on their grade-point averages to give a speech at Foothill High School’s annual commencement ceremony. Each valedictorian was provided with “suggestions” for crafting their speeches. However, school officials neither encouraged nor forbade the students to include or exclude religious content from their speeches. In her speech, Brittany reflected on past experiences and lessons learned at school and wrote about the emptiness she experienced from accomplishments, achievements, and failures in her early high school years. She then mentioned the fulfillment and satisfaction she later came to experience in something greater than herself, namely, in God’s love, and Christ.

Upon receiving a copy of Brittany’s draft speech, school administrators proceeded to censor her speech, deleting all three Bible references, several references to “the Lord” and the only mention of the word “Christ.” Believing that the district’s censorship of her speech amounted to a violation of her right to free speech, on June 15, 2006, Brittany attempted to deliver the original version of her speech in which she talked about the role that her Christian beliefs played in her success. The moment Brittany began to speak the words, school officials cut off her microphone. Despite extensive jeers from the audience over the school officials’ actions, McComb was not permitted to finish her valedictory speech.

With the assistance of The Rutherford Institute, Brittany McComb filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Foothill High School officials in July 2006. In June 2007, the U.S. District Court for Nevada rejected the school district’s second attempt to have the case dismissed and affirmed that the lawsuit raises substantial claims of infringement of McComb’s right of free speech. School officials subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeals to have the case dismissed.

source: The Rutherford Institute News

image source: The REBELution


Colorado Right: Liberal Free Speech Suppression

Sunlit Uplands: Christian Valedictorian Case Headed for Supreme Court
Rosemary’s Thoughts: Valedictorian’s Free Speech To Be Defended
Freedomthirst: Don’t Say That Name!

Free speech ‘gutted’ in valedictorian speech case,


8 thoughts on “To Brittany McComb, We Are Your Microphone!

  1. Luke 19:

    37And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

    38Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

    39And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

    40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

  2. Pingback: Friday Top Five « A True Believer’s Blog

  3. Notes to self: Shut Off Microphone Case Goes to Supreme Court

    3/27-28 “Brittany McComb” No results found.

    “Of course the Topic of FAITH is welcome on BC. Have a blessed day!” – AngieA

    “Your blog is very well written and I do stop in from time to time. Thanks for being on BC :)” – AngieA

  4. Wow, way to completely distort the facts of the case. She was evangelizing, clearly inappropriate for a public high school graduation. And quite possibly an unconstitutional use of public money, services, and facilities.

    • @Will…in your mind she was evanglizing (even if it was something bad). In my mind, she was telling a story about her life. A success story most graduates would be happy to listen to!

    • How can I evangelize if I never mention you, or urge you to make a decision, or point out your need for reform? Brittany was giving a speech about how she became a valedictorian. It was very personal, not directed at her audience. It was the opposite of evangelization. And your comment about “unconstitutional use” just makes it embarrassingly evident that you have never read the Constitution.

  5. Will

    You need to learn what Separation of Church and Stae is all about.

    Want to whine about misuse of money? Have a long chat with Nobama…he and his hoods are the experts.

  6. The Supreme Court and the School Board were wrong. Brittany, like all valedictorians, should have been permitted to say whatever she wanted to say. If she wanted to give a full-blown sermon, so be it. If she wanted to claim that all women were “f**king whores”, again, so be it. If she wanted to witness for Allah and bow to mecca, once more, so be it. If she wanted to come out of the closet, again, so be it. While it’s true that public officials have a duty to uphold the separation of church and state, students do not. And that includes valedictorians at graduation.

    However, valedictorians that use that freedom to speak foul language, demean people of a certain demographic, or witness for Christ, Allah, the Great Spaghetti Monster or gay rights don’t deserve our respect, they deserve our comdemnation (which is why I’m posting this 🙂 ). To act in such a manner is tone deaf: it reveals a lack of grace. There is a time and a place to witness for religion or athiesm or gay rights; that time and place is not when families of various beliefs and backgrounds gather to celebrate the educational triumphs of their children in a public school.

    Many people in the audience yelled with joy when Brittany spoke about her faith. This is not surprising. Many Americans are evangelical Chrisitans, and Brittany affirmed their faith. However, I wonder how other, quieter members of the audience felt? Did they share her faith? Were the Jewish, Hindu, Moslems, Agnostics, or Athiests intimidated by the fact that their hitherto secular ceremony had become a pep rally for Christ?

    If I, an agnostic, had been there as a parent wanting to celebrate the accomplishments of my child on graduation day, I would not have been drawn to Christ by her words and the boistrous yelling. Far from it: I would have felt a deep resentment. I may have approached Brittany afterward and said, “I came here to support my child on this day, to specifically celebrate his education and the benefits it brings. Not to hear hear witnessing for Jesus. You, unfortunately, made this day about you and your religion.”

    It’s Brittany’s free speech right to evangelize during her valedictorian speech; it’s my free speech right to say that she was very insensitive to do so

    A last, separate note: If Brittany felt so strongly that only a speech that emphasized her relationship with Jesus Christ would do, why did she not simply refuse to give the edited speech? Instead she lied. She agreed to give the edited speech, and instead gave the original version. Not very ethical, that, whether or not God was standing by your side at the poidum.

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