googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Another Offense Committed by Public Schools

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another Offense Committed by Public Schools

On my way to lunch today I heard Jay Seculow Live replay an interview from last year. I realize this occurred over a year ago but I wasn’t blogging then. And since I was on the subject of public schools anyway, I thought I’d comment on it now.

Brittany McComb was one of three valedictorians at Foothill High School in Las Vegas, NV. Before the graduation, June 15, 2006, schools officials had reviewed her speech and demanded she remove certain references to God. McComb correctly recognized this as a violation of her free speech rights and, in an uncharacteristic act of rebellion, decided to include the censored material. While delivering her valedictorian address, school officials turned off her microphone.

This isn't a case where school officials are compelling students to recite the pledge including the words, "Under God." This isn't about school officials leading a prayer. This is a private individual who, in reflecting on her personal achievments, discussed the role of faith in her life. The school officials (and an ACLU lawyer who was in the audience) decided that a person should not be allowed to discuss her personal beliefs if they included a belief in God. I guess if she had credited Tony Robbins for her success, that would be OK. But give credit to Jesus and off goes the mic.

I see what’s going on here. There’s a subtle argument that’s become mainstream. We see it in the frequent use of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” The argument then is that non-Christian people might be offended by a reference to Christ. If non-religious people are offended by even hearing a reference to God, how much more offensive it is to a Christian student to have her microphone turned off when she makes a reference to God?

A few weeks back, I blogged about an elected school official and public school teachers petitioning against Answers in Genesis’s new Creation Museum. In that case, you had representatives of the state openly condemning a private, religious organization in the name of free speech. In the McComb case, you have state officials specifically censoring a private individual’s free speech in the name of “separation of church and state.” Somehow schools have gotten things exactly backwards!

It’s bizarre really. The state is supposed to remain neutral toward religion. However, in a supposed pursuit of neutrality, the state is openly engaging in censorship of anything religious. I guess the state believes that its objective of neutrality trumps our individual liberties. Since they can't see how we can express our faith and they still be seen as neutral, whenever the two seem to clash it's our rights that get quashed.

Can no one see the danger in agressive neutrality? "Johnny, I can't believe you used that bad word. We don't say 'God' here - it's offensive. Now go stand in the corner!" Johnny begins crying and promises never to say 'God' again. The religious views of parents are being undermined and replaced with the "tolerant" religion of the state. The freedom of religion has become the freedom from religion.

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