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Religious speech cut from Las Vegas graduation ceremony


Seabee1973

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I did a search and could not find anything on this

"I went through four years of school at Foothill and they taught me logic and they taught me freedom of speech," McComb told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "God's the biggest part of my life. Just like other valedictorians thank their parents, I wanted to thank my lord and savior." Administrators' decision drew jeers from the nearly 400 graduates and their families gathered for the Thursday ceremony at a Las Vegas casino

Read the story hear

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2006/jun/17/061710552.html

Here is a quote from the former Chief Justice

As former Chief Justice William Rehnquist famously wrote in his Wallace v. Jaffree dissent (1985), "It seems indisputable from these glimpses of Madison's thinking, as reflected by actions on the floor of the House in 1789, that he saw the Amendment as designed to prohibit the establishment of a national religion, and perhaps to prevent discrimination among sects. He did not see it as requiring neutrality on the part of government between religion and irreligion

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honostly, i'm for anything that would make graduation shorter. i'm sure no one really cares what this person had to say, they just want to get thier deplomas and leave.

I assume this person was a valedictorian, he said "like other valedictorians".

So that's not just some random speach.

I don't think normal graduates give speeches because it could take forever.

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They should have left her speech intact because it obviously isn't a state endorsement of religion when the valedictorian invokes her own spiritual beliefs, but what she did was wrong also. When school administrators edited her speech, she should have protested then rather than defy orders and deviate from the approved speech when she got up on stage. If you start straying from the script, you should expect them to cut your mike, whether you're the valedictorian or you're Kanye West. :2cents:

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to be fair, we don't exactly know what was in her speech. but as implied in the following passage, she isn't just thanking god, she's at the point where she's preaching god.

District lawyer Bill Hoffman said the regulation allows students to talk about religion, but speeches can't cross into the realm of preaching.

"We encourage people to talk about religion and the impact on their lives. But when that discussion crosses over to become proselytizing, then we to tell students they can't do that," Hoffman said.

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to be fair, we don't exactly know what was in her speech. but as implied in the following passage, she isn't just thanking god, she's at the point where she's preaching god.

District lawyer Bill Hoffman said the regulation allows students to talk about religion, but speeches can't cross into the realm of preaching.

"We encourage people to talk about religion and the impact on their lives. But when that discussion crosses over to become proselytizing, then we to tell students they can't do that," Hoffman said.

But if you look at what the late chief justice said then they were wrong for cutting it out.

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But if you look at what the late chief justice said then they were wrong for cutting it out.

i'm just saying that we don't know the exact circumstances. i do think that if it had become preachy instead of the "i'd like to thank god because he helped me along the way" then i can understand the school officials cutting it out. would you like to sit through an allah prayer session to get your diploma?

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I, too, was suprised that this topic hasn't been posted yet.

Cutting the mic isn't much of a problem to me.

I'm pretty much with the same opinion as DjTj.

but let me rant, please...

Why is it that whenever a student has a speech at graduation it sems that they use it as a chance to preech their love for God to the rest of the student body?

1.) People are there for support of their student for graduating, not for finishing sunday school.

2.) If it was something this important, then don't you think that the very last day that you'll be with all of your class is pretty much a bit late?

"Hey, we won't see each other again...but....oh yea, love god and jesus, 'an all that."

The valedvictorian for my class was the son of a Pastor. It was ridiculous a few weeks before graduation this kid cracked. All of a sudden he decided it was time to be vocal about his love for God. We're talking about the kid who was always quiet, had few friends...hell, I thought he was more of a computer geek / RPG nerd because of how quiet and anti-social he was. So a couple weeks before commencement he all of a sudden makes a scene in the cafeteria by jumping on top of one of the tables and just starts spouting religious diatribe. To me, this unruly act should have forfeited his right to valedvictorian. If I recall correctly, sudavictorian (or whatever its called) was VERY close in transcript, activities and such to this kid, so there was a bit of a "fight" for it, as there always seems to be. But nope...I think the kid got a measily detention or something. If anyone other kid were to make a scene and preach anything else but religion, they'd get much worse, but since this kid has a moralistic message, he gets off with what equates to a slap on the wrist. Then he started carrying his bible all around the school. It was really bizarre. He went from the guy that nobody knew to the one person everyone was wierded out about...

And then there's the incident that happened 4 years earlier where one of the students asked for a "moment of silence" in their speech. Sure, that's not very controversial, but prior to that, it was going to be a prayer, until the administrators changed it (this was for rememberance of the kids at Columbine). So, my brother's friend actively protested this when he heard about it. He even got the ACLU to hear the case, and thats pretty much what put the administrators in the frame to change the speech. Well, this became pretty well known around the area so when the "moment of silence" came to be, people ignored the call for "silence" and in spite of all of this controversy started reciting the Our Father. Well, this kid walked out. Yea, pretty brave. Anyways, he was arrested for disrupting the ceremony, however, the joke was on everyone else. He sued the state and got a nice check (out of court settlement) since they never read him his rights.

Thats all I got for now...but seriously... Why is it that the religion needs to come out at graduation? I don't get it!

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Personally, I think if you're the valedictorian then you should be able to say whatever the hell you want, even things that are inappropriate or religious. I guess you can't say anything illegal, like everyone should assasinate Bush, but if you wanna stand up there and tell everyone there's a kegger at your house after graduation or that you're thanking God for your success then so be it.

The Clark County School District free speech regulations prohibit district officials from organizing a prayer at graduation or selecting speakers for such events in a manner that favors religious speech or a prayer.
The rule's pretty clear here though.
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The rule's pretty clear here though.

Well, I don't know. The rules say the administration can't support or promote religion or choose speakers based on religion, but the valedictorian wasn't selected on that basis, presumably.

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Well, I don't know. The rules say the administration can't support or promote religion or choose speakers based on religion, but the valedictorian wasn't selected on that basis, presumably.

But valedictorian speeches have to be approved by the administration...

So if they let it fly, they technically "support" it.

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In truth, the First Amendment provides all of the guidance we need: Government (and that includes public schools) must respect students’ rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Further, public schools may not promote religion. This means that a public school can give a student the opportunity to make commencement remarks but can have little to say about the message. If a student voluntarily incorporates prayer into his or her remarks, that’s perfectly constitutional.

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/commentary.aspx?id=2243

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to be fair, we don't exactly know what was in her speech. but as implied in the following passage, she isn't just thanking god, she's at the point where she's preaching god.

Exactly...preaching your religion has no place in a valedictorian speech. Its 100% inappropriate for that venue, and the administration was well within the realm of reason to yank it, if indeed she was preaching.

But if you look at what the late chief justice said then they were wrong for cutting it out.

What does what Reinquist said have anything to do with this?

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Living in Vegas, this has been all over the news. She was required to submit a draft of her speech to the school officials to proofread and edit. They agreed on a final version of the speech, which did include references to God. However, she apparently went away from the speech and started "preaching". That was when the mic was cut off. While I personally do not have a problem with someones religious beliefs, I do believe there was a breach of confidence here. There is a time and place for everything, she chose her timing poorly. I do believe this has been blown more out of proportion than it needed to be. I am by no means a fan or supporter of the education system, here in Vegas, as I believe it is pretty sub-standard; but in this case I think the school board was justified. Even the ACLU, which I believe is full of idiots, sided with the school board and not with the student. Only the hard core right wingers jumped all over this and were on her side.

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Free speech is not protected at school.

The school and administration was well within their limits to do this.

This is also true. (Yes, I'm all over the place).

My thought is that the school didn't have to cut the student off, or force the elimination of any references to God, but they were within their rights if they wanted to.

Allowing the student to reference religion would not have been unconstitutional, but cutting the student off wasn't either.

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Personally, I think if you're the valedictorian then you should be able to say whatever the hell you want, even things that are inappropriate or religious. I guess you can't say anything illegal, like everyone should assasinate Bush, but if you wanna stand up there and tell everyone there's a kegger at your house after graduation or that you're thanking God for your success then so be it.

The rule's pretty clear here though.

So if I were your valedictorian you would support my right to get up on stage and tell everyone why Christianity is nothing more than a fairy tale?

That would be utterly inappropriate IMO. School graduations are not an "anything legal goes" scenario.

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