I first heard about this story from my friend and co-worker, JT. His blog post on it can be found at http://wwjtd.net/?p=441. A student at Bastrop High School in Louisiana merely made the observation that a christian prayer at a public school graduation is unconstitutional and is discriminatory against non-theists and non-christians. After pointing this out, his school decided to comply and removed the prayer from the graduation plans. This is where it should have stopped. Instead, there has apparently been a ridiculous reaction to this, even though the school itself acknowledged that it was against the law.

A teacher at the school, Mitzi Quinn, stated that  there have been students who were atheist, agnostic and other non-Christian religions in the past who “had no problems” with the prayer.“They respected the majority of their classmates and didn’t say anything,” and  “We’ve never had this come up before. Never.” Okay… thats well and nice. However, that does not make it legal to have done it, not everyone of different worldviews and faiths have the ability or courage to stand up for themselves and others. This teacher continued on to insult the student by saying he has never contributed anything to his class or the graduation ceremony. One question, who cares? This is not relevant to the issue at hand but she felt she had to go out of her way to point this out, regardless of whether it is true or not.

The student writes that:

“Though I’ve caused my classmates to hate me, I feel like I’ve done the right thing. Regardless of their thoughts on it, basically saying I am ruining their fun and their lives, I feel like I’ve helped someone out there. I didn’t do this for me or just atheists, but anyone who doesn’t believe in their god that prayer to Yahweh may affect.

Moral of the story: though the opposition may be great, majority doesn’t necessarily mean right. Thank you for reading. Wish me luck at graduation.

EDIT: Well, it hit the fan a couple hours ago. They’ve already assembled a group of supporters at a local church and called in the newspaper. I’ve had to deactivate my Facebook account and I can’t reason with any of them. They refuse to listen. The whole town hates me, aside from a few closet atheists that are silently supporting, which I don’t blame them looking at what I’ve incited here. Thanks for the support though.”

Do I need to point out everything that is wrong in this statement? This boy has put himself on the firing line for those who disagree with a christian worldview. He is well within his rights to do so and those rights are guaranteed by the constitution of this nation. I cannot believe these people are attacking this kid relentlessly online and in the community. Where is their supposed christian faith that promotes peace and understanding? Surely they can’t claim their faith is justifying these attacks, yet they are.

This outrages me. This is what I and, many like myself, try to prevent from happening. We should NOT be hating other people because of their faith or lack-thereof. This is so completely ludicrous I don’t know what to say. There are other ways to show disagreement, there are other ways to promote your faith, and there are other ways to challenge a school’s decision. It is completely INAPPROPRIATE to attack a kid like this under any circumstances. If you disagree with the laws of the US, then too bad. You must acknowledge there are others, MANY others, who do not share your faith and that they are guaranteed under our system of fair treatment by public institutions. This means no prayer being held at a public school’s graduation ceremony, regardless of whether it is Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Pastafarian, WHATEVER. It is illegal and deal with it. Say a prayer before the actual ceremony if you want, you’re more than free to do so.

These people’s religion is not the problem. Their belief that they have the right to force others to participate in their religious conventions in the issue. They can pray all they want, just not at the ceremony, but apparently thats not enough for them. We need to support people who are brave enough to challenge issues like this. This kid’s own parents through him out of the house! As far as I’m concerned his parents should be charged with mistreatment and negligence since he is under 18. Thankfully he has caring siblings who are going to take him in. He may end up moving to Texas to live with his brother. This is unacceptable in American society if we want to be a free, open, and diverse nation.