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05-28-1999, 08:44 AM
Ed Zotti closed Cessandra's original Prayer at Graduation thread due to it's considerable length (hopefully it will be left up for people to read for awhile?).

It was just branching into a subtopic, namely, what if a speaker, such as valedictorian gives an impromptu prayer. Is this a violation of Church/State separation? Does it matter whether the person attempts to lead the group in prayer or just says one?

Of course, comments on Cessandra's original question are still valid as well.

The last post, by depocali, was:

I agree that probably the valdictorian could get away with the speech. Then again, my question is what would happen to someone heckling or disavowing the prayer?? Would they be exercising Freedom of Speech?? Or would they be considered out of order, disoderly conduct? What if while the prayer is going on, or a minute of silence to thank god is called upon a student shows their discomformity through stating their lack of belief in god, or disturbing the moment of silence. We all know they would be in trouble.

Rather than repost Cessandra's original question, I'll leave that up to her decision.

05-28-1999, 09:15 AM
What an interesting thread (the original, I mean). I have followed it closely. Now, it's not so hypothetical anymore. Check out http://www.cnn.com/US/9905/28/graduation.prayer.ap/ And what they did isn't even unconstitutional. I feel sorry for the poor guy.

TheDude

05-28-1999, 11:10 AM
No, it is not unconstitutional for a valedictorian to say a prayer. The valedictorian is not acting in any capacity on behalf of the government, so his or her speech is entirely his or her own and is protected. The government may not initiate or support a religious activity, such as a prayer, but it also may not prevent a citizen, acting in his or her private capacity and not on behalf of the government, from engaging in a religious activity that does NOT require government support. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom FROM religion. This question is much easier and clearer-cut, BTW, than Cessandra's original question, which posited at least some minimal governmental involvement.

05-28-1999, 11:32 AM
Exactly what is it that the advacates of forcing someone to listen to prayer hope to accomplish? Is their relationship to God so shaky that they need to display before an assembly? If you want your god to "bless" your event, all you have to do is ask. One on one.
I don't think prayer belongs in school functions, any more than Pepsi or Taco Bell commercials. Or military recruitment, for that matter.
Cessandra is absolutely right on this one.
Peace,
mangeorge

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"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything" Mark Twain 1894

05-28-1999, 01:01 PM
I didn't read the article you cited in quite the same manner you did, Dude. As I read it, the moment of silence was interrupted by a prayer, but that prayer did not offend the majority of the audience who, to the contrary, joined in. The government (school) did not prompt it or encourage it; it just sort of happened. Would a different result have occurred if someone had interrupted the moment of silence with something calculated to offend the audience, such as a prayer to Satan? Certainly. The audience for sure wouldn't have joined in; they might have been indignant enough to shut the prayer-er up forcefully. Hey, you exercise your right to free speech in a way calculated to offend a large number of people, you take your chances.

But, as I read the article, the boy didn't do the interrupting. He merely left the room when the prayer began, so he wasn't the source of the disturbance. I agree with you that it was a shame that they wouldn't let him back in; in effect, his choice was to sit through the prayer or forfeit the right to graduate. I think he handled it as well as he could by leaving when the prayer began, and the school's general policy of not allowing students to reenter an event after leaving is a lame excuse for not letting him rejoin his graduation. But you say:

My question is not whether it is unconstitutional or not (I already acknowledged that it is not), or whether it is against the law (it clearly is not), but whether it is right.

Whether what is right? The guy reciting the Lord's prayer? His perogative. The kid leaving? His perogative, and an acceptable, low-key way of demonstrating his disapproval of the prayer. The security guard not letting him back in? No -- he should have let him rejoin his graduation.

05-28-1999, 02:55 PM
Jodih and Dude



I am not sure that I agree with your conclusion that what happened in Maryland was constitutional. To me it appears that the school made a pretty transparent end run around the constitution and violated its agreement with the student and the attorney general. Even if we accept that the prayer was "Spontaneous" (Spontaneous my foot!), do we believe that it is generally the school's policy to allow interuptions during school ceremonies? In any other case, those responsible for the interuption would be silenced and then probably disciplined. The fact that the school allowed this interuption makes it pretty clear that the moment of silence was intended as a moment of spoken prayer.



Look at the following quote and ask yourself, did this person intend to comply with the constitution? "This is a churchgoing community, and no one in Annapolis or Washington,

D.C., is going to tell us when and where we can pray," said Linda

Kelley,, president of the Calvert County Commission



I hope that the ACLU and the state attorney general does not allow the school to get away with their maltreatment of Nick Becker and the constitution

05-28-1999, 03:16 PM
EZRA -- I have two responses to your take on this: the practical and the legal.

Practically speaking, you apparently feel that once a member of the audience at a graduation starts a prayer that is, assumably, acceptable to the majority of the audience, someone on behalf of the school should . . . What? Shout him down? Forcibly make him stop reciting the Lord's prayer? I don't see how this would improve the overall ceremony; indeed, you might find the graduation disintegrating into a melee of various factions shouting at each other. So, as a school official, though you might not have expected or condoned the prayer, you probably would feel that the greater part of valor is to just let it pass and get on with the graduation.

Legally, the government cannot establish or promote religion. This does not mean they have any obligation to stop the establishment or promotion of religion by private citizens -- indeed to the contrary, they can't do that, either. If an individual decides to say a prayer at a graduation, be s/he the valedictorian or a member of the audience, the government has no duty to shut that person up. The prohibition on the establishment of religion applies expressly and ONLY to the government itself. For this reason, your question of whether the individual quoted in the article "intended to comply with the constitution" is an irrelevant one; the constitutional prohibition in question does not apply to private citizens, so what she did or did not do, and her motivations, are under no circumstances unconstitutional. You infer that the school somehow had prior notice of the intention to say the prayer and that it "intended" the moment of silence to be a moment of spoken prayer. I read nothing in the article that would support this inference. But even if the school HAD known about the prayer, as I said above, it had no constitutional obligation to stop it.

05-28-1999, 03:52 PM
I just wanted to answer one question from the last thread:

I understand what you mean, I sort of said the same thing... I was just under the impression that Cess did not want a prayer of any kind, student or school initiated, at her graduation. The scenario was just that... one possibility of what might happen, and Axel, I do not think it is unconstitutional if someone just up and started a prayer at the graduation, you almost make it sound as if the student would be in cuffs the moment they left the stage. Be honest... if a student did say a prayer without anyones prior knowledge and not sanctioned by the school, (of course) who would press charges?? That would be crazy and everyone knows it. I suppose I will have to wait for Cess to read these latest posts... Cess, did you want to stop the school from initiating a prayer or just the prayer itself? As I said, it seemed to me you did not want any prayer at all, and the scenario was just a possibility to think about.


Please go back and read my posts. I have stated at least twice that I would not in the least be offended by students standing up and deciding they want a prayer. It is the school involvement which offends me.

05-28-1999, 03:59 PM
Exactly what is it that the advacates of forcing someone to listen to prayer hope to accomplish? Is their relationship to God so shaky that they need to display before an assembly? If you want your god to "bless" your event, all you have to do is ask. One on one.
I don't think prayer belongs in school functions, any more than Pepsi or Taco Bell commercials. Or military recruitment, for that matter.


I think that students who feel a need to parade their Christian beliefs before the eyes of the world should please refer to Matthew 6:5-6

As for the man who interrupted the moment of silence, well, that was just rude and that's all there is to say about it.

05-28-1999, 04:43 PM
jodih,
Although I usually am not pleased by what you have to say, I can never find fault with it. You are, of course, correct that there was nothing wrong with the whole situation (except for the refusal to let the kid return). You are also correct that the majority of the audience wanted the prayer to happen, although I still think the interruption of the moment of silence was rude and wrong and is just as offensive to those using the moment of silence for their own meditations (be they religious or not).

My own feeling is that there would be no problems if everyone simply worshipped their deities (or lack thereof) on their own time and did not feel the need to expose them to others. That having been said, there is nothing illegal, or even necessarily wrong, with people exposing their beliefs in such a way. I just find it irritating. Were I in such a position I would have kept my head up and my mouth shut, confident enough in my beliefs to not have to profess them to the world.

TheDude

05-28-1999, 05:12 PM
Jodih



Practically, yes I believe that if the school agreed to a moment of silence instead of a prayer, the school should make good on its promise by forcing that decision. If the school had good information that there was to be an "audience led" prayer during the moment of silence, the school should have either stated that this was not acceptable, or cancelled the moment of silence. I'm sure that if someone had used that moment of silence to express any utterance other than a Judeo-Christian prayer they would be silenced. As has been stated many times in the previous thread the fact that the majority was in favor of this prayer is irrelevant.



Legally, if the moment of silence was intended as a back door to allow spoken prayer into the graduation then yes, I believe it is unconstitutional. If the school had a custom of having moments of silence in which it allowed anyone who wished to speak to do so (note the inherent contradiction), and this year the audience happened to fall into prayer, than I would agree it was not unconstitutional. But saying we're having a moment of (ahem) silence and winking at the prayer is tantamount to prayer in itself, and is especially offensive because the school had agreed not to have a prayer only under pressure from the ACLU and attorney general. It really looks like they were looking for a way to get out of their agreement.



I'm curious to see what the Maryland courts think about this issue.



The reason I included the quote was that I was under the impression that as president of the county commission that women had some influence over the school, or some connection to the school board. At least I was under the impression that her views were those of the school board.

05-28-1999, 05:25 PM
THEDUDE -- Oh, stop, I'm blushing. :) Seriously, you are most kind, and I appreciate it. I also happen to agree with you entirely.

EZRA -- I don't necessarily disagree with your post either, except to say that I think it is based in large part on assumptions that are not borne out in the article we both allude to. You hypothesize: "If the school had good information that there was to be an 'audience led' prayer during the moment of silence..." and "if the moment of silence was intended as a back door to allow spoken prayer into the graduation ...." We can come up with a hundred hypotheticals under which a prayer would be unconstitutional, but nothing in the article indicates this particular prayer was unconstitutional. If you disagree with this assessment, please quote to me from the article something that indicates the sort of "winking" complicity you claim the school engaged in.

05-29-1999, 12:31 AM
In the example that I cited in my last post, it was not the valedictorian leading a prayer, but rather, a random student from the audience interrupting a mandated moment of silence (which replaced the usual prayed under objection from the ACLU and the student in question). My question is not whether it is unconstitutional or not (I already acknowledged that it is not), or whether it is against the law (it clearly is not), but whether it is right. If some heckler chose to interrupt the moment of silence with a prayer for Satan, I have a feeling things would have been different.

TheDude

05-29-1999, 01:24 AM
mangeorge
Member posted 05-28-99 11:32 AM
I don't think prayer belongs in school functions, any more than Pepsi or Taco Bell commercials. Or military recruitment, for that matter.

You've stumped me here, MG. Exactly what other legitimate jobs shouldn't be offered at high school job fairs if you're going to ban the military from them?

05-29-1999, 10:03 AM
Hey Monty, How about all the other jobs that harrass women and discriminate against homosexuals? The military's history is spotty at best, and until they clean up their act, banning them from the schools is the only way to go.

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"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter Thompson

05-29-1999, 10:17 AM
As a teacher of "at-risk" high school students, I'd like to point out that the military offers some excellent opportunities for young people who don't have the means to attend college or obtain a job with any kind of future.

I think my kids would be the losers if recruters weren't allowed on campus, not the military.

05-29-1999, 10:27 AM
PapaBear, what do you tell your homosexual students when the recruiters come around?

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"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter Thompson

05-29-1999, 10:28 AM
I tell them to join the Marines!

05-29-1999, 10:39 AM
Sorry. My reply was a little flip. I work in a city that has the second largest gay population, west of the Mississippi. (Long Beach, CA). We practice a certain "don't ask don't tell" in the way we relate to each other here. The sexual preference of my students, is really none of my concern.

That said, I have a female student, who by simple observation, is obviously a lesbian. Since ninth grade her desire has been to join the Marine Corp. She has been to see the recruters and has every expectation of being enlisted after graduation.

She is fully aware of the history of homosexual-exclusion in the military and is prepared to face those challenges when they present themselves.

05-29-1999, 10:52 AM
"You've stumped me here, MG. Exactly what other legitimate jobs shouldn't be offered at high school job fairs if you're going to ban the military from them?"
---Monty
----------------------------------------
No logic intended here, Monty. Just plain old prejudice.
If you accept any other job and find it's not for you, you're free to go somewhere else. Without screwing up your life.
They lie to the kids, Monty. With the possible exception of the Marines.
"It's not just a job, it's an adventure"
Bullshit!
Peace,
mangeorge


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"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything" Mark Twain 1894

05-29-1999, 03:21 PM
Slythe - How would you suggest I find out these things, apart from hearsay? I have no concrete evidence of what you say. At first glance, your posts seem to indicate you have a real grudge against the military and that you wouldn't recommend military service for anyone, regardless of their sexual preference.

On the other hand, I have several first hand accounts of people who have successfully used military service as a stepping stone into a successful adult life.

The kids I deal with have very few options in life and your really going to have to give me more than antadotal evidence to convince me that I should discourage one of those options.

05-30-1999, 12:00 AM
PapaBear, I was in the military for eight years. I suggest you find out what happens to lesbians(or even suspected lesbians) when they are found out. Women have died in basic training, asleep in their beds, in recent history. Also, on some bases lesbian is defined as someone who won't sleep with their superiors.

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"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter Thompson

06-04-1999, 10:46 AM
OK, Back from vacation.

Jodih managed to convince TheDude (and maybe even Cessandra) that it's OK to lead others in prayer at government functions as long as x, y and z.

The issue here is really about what constitutes x, y and z. Johih's view appears to be that as long as it's not a government employee, or someone officially representing the government, it's ok (in other words, 'the government' = 'government employee'. But let's see if this holds up.

If the school principal chooses to go to church and speak as a lay minister, is that OK? Of course, you say, and I agree. What if s/he leads a community group (non-government) in a prayer outside of church? Still OK? Probably, although some might argue that s/he 'carries the authority' of a school principle and shouldn't be allowed to do it in the school district or whatever.

This disproves Jodih's implication that the government is a 'who' rather than a 'where'. It's both, and both are relevant. People do have the right of free speech, but there are conficts between the different rights of the people, and one of them occurs at government functions, where people's right to free speech conflicts with the right of the people not to have a religious government. And if you are speaking at a government function, you are, in a sense, representing the government (I suggest). There is no final proof either way on this, and the fact that it's not a government employee isn't necessarily the deciding factor. Jodih states that it is the deciding factor, and apparently assuming that the right of free speech is supreme over church/state separation, but no proof of why this should be so.

Regarding impromtu prayers, another limitation on free speech is the fact that you can't interrupt a function or violate it's procedures to give your message. The audience has no right to free speech there whatsoever. Would it be okay for the person in the audience to start heckling during a speech, or between speeches, interrupting the proceedings? Of course not. The person might well have been stopped in some way.

When the schedule called for silence, anyone speaking during that time, let alone speaking to the whole group, was violating the rules and should be stopped. They are interrupting the event just as surely as if it were during any other part of the ceremony. Free speech does not extend to interrupting ceremonies.

Jodih:
Practically speaking, you apparently feel that once a member of the audience at a graduation starts a prayer that is, assumably, acceptable to the majority of the audience, someone on behalf of the school should . . . What? Shout him down? Forcibly make him stop reciting the Lord's prayer?

Answer: They should do whatever they would do to anyone else forcibly interrupting a government function, regardless of the content of their message. Whether it would also be church/state violation is a separate issue. I would say it is, because people have a right to government functions that are free from any form of religious promotion.

What if the religious right started doing this all over the country; getting "moments of silence" through legitimat processes and then interrupting them with prayers in order to promote religion. Everyone's legally clean, right? After all, assuming the moment of silence is acceptable, then only the impromptu preacher is promoting religion, and, according to Jodih, that's okay. Hey, what if a particularly religious president has a moment of silence before each State of the Union address, then allows the mics to pick up an impromptu prayer from an audience member.

These are differences of scale, not principle.

Cessandra: When is graduation? Do you plan to yell out "This prayer is unconsitutional!" during it? Go for it. Apparently, according to the principles Jodih espouses, this would be OK!

Jodih, not to kiss butt, but you are clearly the most thoughtful representative of the prayer-is-okay side on these threads, and that's why I find your views interesting to debate.

06-05-1999, 07:27 PM
For anyone interested, graduation was about a week ago. I was unable to attend but I hear the prayer went on as though I had not said a word. I think I just waited too long to start trying to fight it, but I fully intend to bring this up again next year, and the year after that if I have to. Let me just say thankyou to everyone who offered their advice, even those who disagreed with my choice of action.

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Cave Canem. Beware the Dog.

06-11-1999, 01:32 PM
Cessandra: Congratulations on graduating!

Everyone:

http://www.infidels.org/activist/current/wire/

This is the Internet Infidels newswire, which has lots of daily news about religion, including stuff about graduation prayers and other church/school issues.

Have a great Summer, Cessandra!

06-11-1999, 01:45 PM
Keep it up, Cessandra, and congratulations.
I think you're pretty cool.
Peace,
mangeorge

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Work like you don't need the money.....
Love like you've never been hurt.....
Dance like nobody's watching! Source???

06-11-1999, 09:59 PM
Cessandra said:

"I was unable to attend"

Hmmmm...you really didn't think that I'd let that pass did you?

What does "unable to attend" really mean?

How about:

1. Didn't have the grades, so they didn't let you

2. Incapacitated due to illness

3. Out of the country

4. Mom wouldn't allow you to go because you threatened to cause a big scene

5. Just couldn't bear to bring yourself to attend beacause og the big, bad prayer.

6. Couldn't attend due to theats upon your life.

We'd really like to know...besides, I haven't heard from you since I proved to you that you were the OP of a scripture-based post in GQ...remember the "Stupid prayer at graudation thread" thread over in the Pit? Kinda faded from the scene after I proved you wrong...didn't you?

BTW, I really think that your threat to screw with the graduation ceremonies of future graduating classes is completely classless and immature. You failed to impose your will upon your own class...take your loss like an adult and let it go.

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Contestant #3

06-11-1999, 10:45 PM
Contestant #3 said:

Cessandra said:
"I was unable to attend"

Hmmmm...you really didn't think that I'd let that pass did you?


Frankly I couldn't care less.


What does "unable to attend" really mean?


If you must know, I was out of town visiting a friend who is leaving the country for the summer.


We'd really like to know...besides, I haven't heard from you since I proved to you that you were the OP of a scripture-based post in GQ...remember the "Stupid prayer at graudation thread" thread over in the Pit? Kinda faded from the scene after I proved you wrong...didn't you?


Basically, I'd forgotten about the Raca post. So, I willingly concede that point. Other than that I found your pathetic allegations of hypocrisy beneath response. I am not an atheist, and as I have tried to make clear, I have an interest in scripture and religion. I go to mass. I follow the teachings of Christ, not because He may or may not be the son of God, but because to me, He made some sense. Guess what, C3, I even own a bible. And a Catholic prayer book. Does that make me a hypocrite, too?


BTW, I really think that your threat to screw with the graduation ceremonies of future graduating classes is completely classless and immature. You failed to impose your will upon your own class...take your loss like an adult and let it go.


It is not a threat. Who was it that accused me of not having the guts to actually take a stand and do something real? Who was it who stomped his feet and yelled at us all for always talking and never doing? I believe that was you, C3. And now you're mad because I want to try and change something I think is wrong. Make up your mind, C3. Stop
throwing a hissy fit everytime someone doesn't agree with you, and realize that the best part of America is that we have the right to fight for what we believe in. Maybe I'll lose this fight, but that sure as heck doesn't mean I won't even try.


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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
-- Henry David Thoreau

06-12-1999, 10:02 AM
Cessandra said:It is not a threat. Who was it that accused me of not having the guts to actually take a stand and do something real? Who was it who stomped his feet and yelled at us all for always talking and never doing? I believe that was you, C3. And now you're mad because I want to try and change something I think is wrong. Make up your mind, C3.
One cannot make up what is not there...

But besides that, he did the same thing in the original prayer at graduation thread. He first whined because he said you weren't doing anything, and then when you responded to explain what you'd done (which he'd have known if he'd bothered to read the thread), he complained about that as well.

All in all, I think it's safe to say that he will whine no matter what you do. This is why I rather doubt his claim that he is the father of three teenagers -- he acts as immature as a 12-year-old, not like the father of one.
Stop throwing a hissy fit everytime someone doesn't agree with you,
And here you've hit on the focus of his problem. Well said.


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"The best medicine for misery is neither myth nor miracle, but naked truth."
-- Richard Walker, The Running Dogs of Loyalty: Honest Reflections on a Magical Zoo

06-12-1999, 10:43 AM
Cessandra - every time I read one of your posts, I admire you even more.

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Mastery is not perfection but a journey, and the true master must be willing to try and fail and try again

06-12-1999, 11:11 AM
I'm the father of FOUR teenagers David.

Let me get this straight... She does little to nothing about the prayer at HER OWN graduation ceremony...a ceremony that she had previously droned on about how it was SO important to her...but then didn't even attend for suspicious reasons...but she's vows to TRY HARDER to screw up the ceremonies of future graduateS at her school and you losers APPLAUD HER???

No...you people are completely wrong...David doesn't even HAVE any children (thank goodness!!). Do the human race a favor David Bloomberg...DON'T REPRODUCE PLEASE!!!!

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Contestant #3

06-12-1999, 08:08 PM
Contestant #3 said:

Let me get this straight... She does little to nothing about the prayer at HER OWN graduation ceremony...


You're right, I didn't do as much as I could have. I feel like I should have done more. So now, I will.


a ceremony that she had previously droned on about how it was SO important to her...


Yes it was. And it was important to the other four hundred seniors at my school, who should be allowed their secular graduations.


but then didn't even attend for suspicious reasons...


Okay! Okay, C3! You win! I failed Algebra 2! Does that make you feel better? I really hope it does; I hope at least you are able to gleam some satisfaction from my failure, because it's caused me nothing but pain.


but she's vows to TRY HARDER to screw up the ceremonies of future graduateS at her school and you losers APPLAUD HER???


I am not trying to stop this prayer for any selfish reasons, but because I think it is wrong, so it does not matter to me whether this prayer happens at my graduation or next year's or the one the year after that. What matters is that it's happening, it's wrong, and it needs to stop.
Somebody help me with a quote. It was by a survivor of the holocaust. It went something like:
'First they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, but I was not a Trade Unionist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Catholics, but I was not a Catholic, so I said nothing. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak.'


No...you people are completely wrong...David doesn't even HAVE any children (thank goodness!!). Do the human race a favor David Bloomberg...DON'T REPRODUCE PLEASE!!!!


How awful it would be if David had children, and raised them to believe that they should stand up and fight for what they believe in. We should all, instead, follow C3's lead, and learn to sit quietly while our rights are stripped, but raise hell if anyone fights back.


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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
-- Henry David Thoreau

06-13-1999, 10:09 AM
Cessandra said:You're right, I didn't do as much as I could have. I feel like I should have done more. So now, I will.
And, per his standard operating procedure, he will criticize you for that as well. He isn't even worth the time to respond to him.
I am not trying to stop this prayer for any selfish reasons, but because I think it is wrong, so it does not matter to me whether this prayer happens at my graduation or next year's or the one the year after that. What matters is that it's happening, it's wrong, and it needs to stop.
Precisely. Not that you'll change the troll's "mind."
How awful it would be if David had children, and raised them to believe that they should stand up and fight for what they believe in. We should all, instead, follow C3's lead, and learn to sit quietly while our rights are stripped, but raise hell if anyone fights back.
:) You'll make a good mother someday, Cessandra. In fact, you'll make a good contribution to our society no matter what you decide to do. After all, you're already more mature than the supposed father of 4.


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"I don't believe in destiny or the guiding hand of fate
I don't believe in forever or love as a mystical state
I don't believe in the stars or the planets
Or angels watching from above" -- Neil Peart, RUSH, "Ghost of a Chance"

06-13-1999, 02:24 PM
Let's examine this situation rationally...

We have here an 18-year old high school student that disrespects her parents and flunks out of graduation...in the other corner we have a self-righteous middle-aged man...neither have any children...

Each pats the other on the back, assuring each other that they'd make really good parents...

...nah, defies rational examination doesn't it?



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Contestant #3

06-13-1999, 04:10 PM
256 posts on prayer at graduation. Leave it be, people...leave it be!!! The old chestnut of an obsession: religion and the American people.

06-15-1999, 09:16 AM
C3 said:We have here an 18-year old high school student that disrespects her parents and flunks out of graduation...in the other corner we have a self-righteous middle-aged man...neither have any children...
Thanks for showing, once again, that you don't have the foggiest idea what you're talking about (as if we needed more evidence).

------------------
"I don't believe in destiny or the guiding hand of fate
I don't believe in forever or love as a mystical state
I don't believe in the stars or the planets
Or angels watching from above" -- Neil Peart, RUSH, "Ghost of a Chance"

06-15-1999, 05:12 PM
I have a question: why does everybody think that the school was so wrong in not letting the student re-enter his graduation? He broke a very common and well-known (at least around here) rule meant to protect students and others at school-sponsored events. I really don't think that anything in the article suggested that the school was somehow pucnishing him for protesting the prayer, but rather for breaking the rule.
(For those of you who don't know, most schools do enforce a no re-entry policy at school events. This is to keep students from leaving, getting drunk or high, etc. and then coming back.)

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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
-- Henry David Thoreau

06-15-1999, 05:39 PM
Jodih wrote: "Legally, the government cannot establish or promote religion."

As current court decisions go, this looks about right. It's interesting to compare Jodih's words against the written Constitution, wherein establishing a religion is banned but supporting a religion is not addressed. Also, the same Amendment prohibits the government from interfering with with religion.

As an atheist, I have no interest in religion, although I do believe it to be more a force for good than for harm. As a believer in civil liberties, it bothers me that our Constitution can be so easily "amended" by Court decisions into something different from what was originally written.

I feel like a member of a small minority in objecting to improperly reasoned Supreme Court decisions, even though I approve of the result (like Roe v. Wade.)

06-15-1999, 07:21 PM
Cessandra asked:I have a question: why does everybody think that the school was so wrong in not letting the student re-enter his graduation? He broke a very common and well-known (at least around here) rule meant to protect students and others at school-sponsored events. I really don't think that anything in the article suggested that the school was somehow pucnishing him for protesting the prayer, but rather for breaking the rule.
Well, several things.

First, he wasn't just prevented from re-entering the graduation, but also from attending a later dance (the rule did not apply to going to something later -- he was barred because they were afraid he'd raise a stink about what had happened earlier).

Second, their violation of the law and rules caused him to leave. Thus, they should either enforce the rules or not -- they should not do so selectively, as they did here. It certainly looks to me like they did it just to keep out a "trouble-maker."

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"I don't believe in destiny or the guiding hand of fate
I don't believe in forever or love as a mystical state
I don't believe in the stars or the planets
Or angels watching from above" -- Neil Peart, RUSH, "Ghost of a Chance"

06-15-1999, 07:36 PM
David B. said:


First, he wasn't just prevented from re-entering the graduation, but also from attending a later dance (the rule did not apply to going to something later -- he was barred because they were afraid he'd raise a stink about what had happened earlier).


Really? I don't remember reading that part, must have missed it. I had something kinda like that happen to me once, it really stinks.

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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
-- Henry David Thoreau

06-16-1999, 12:24 AM
Um, two things?

One is that C#3 is obviously just pushing buttons. He hasn't actually SAID anything, at least nothing pertinent or constructive. Just ignore him.

Second, if anyone is still interested in the topic, can I go back to something jodih said?
once a member of the audience at a graduation starts a prayer that is, assumably, acceptable to the majority of the audience, someone on behalf of the school should . . . What? Shout him down?

I don't actually disagree with you that the principle "wrong behavior" in the case described was the refusal to readmit the student, though it seems to me there were others.(The article isn't at that link anymore, unfortunately, so I'm having to infer what it said from other posts). What I must object to is the use of the phrase "acceptable to the majority of the audience". Implicit in this is the idea that the right to freedom of religion (or its lack) is subject to the will of the majority, at least in certain instances. I don't want ot put words in your mouth, but that is how I take this. Please correct my mistake: surely it doesn't make any difference whether the majority approved or not? A right is individual, and the religion of the majority should be forced an individual under NO circumstances, even in the context of a graduation ceremenoy.

As for what action the school should have been taken, hindsight is 20/20. Perhaps the idea is that from now on the school should make clear to valedictorians that prayers are discouraged during their speeches, and why.

06-16-1999, 08:43 PM
"First, he wasn't just prevented from re-entering the graduation, but also from attending a later dance (the rule did not apply to going to something later -- he was barred because they were afraid he'd raise a stink about what had happened earlier)."

And let's not forget that he paid for that event in advance. And he didn't get his money back...


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Lynn the Packrat

06-17-1999, 05:01 PM
december:

The principle of separation of church and state comes from a combination of the constitution itself and the founder's explanations of their reasoning behind it. If separation only means the government can't establish a religion, then the government could adopt a state religion legally, as long as it already existed, and separation would have little meaning.

The founders said that their intent was to create a "wall of separation between church and state", and while the courts are somewhat loathe to let investigations of intent overrule a constitutional principle, they do look to intent to clarify constitutional principles.

For example, Jefferson got a law passed forbidding priests from entering public schools at all, and the founders generally tried to resist this kind of religious influence.

Today the House approved the State's right to allow the 10 Commandments on classroom walls. This appears to be a "we've got to do something right now!" reaction to the Columbine High incident and others. This, of course, directly promotes Judeo-Christianity, and thus violates Separation. No one seems to consider it important to show evidence that it will actually help prevent violence (although such studies certainly could have been done) because the real reason is obviously that the religious right wants to undo Separation and now has an excuse and enough influence in Congress. I say it will pass in the Senate, but the Supreme Court will eventually bail us out yet again.

To put it another way, december, Iran, Iraq, and Libya did not establish Islam, so by your definition they meet the principle of separation of church & state. If by "establish" you mean "establish as the state religion", then those nations would still be in compliance as long as they don't officially do so, and in theory allow all religions to exist there.

That's not enough, folks. We must not allow the government to push any kind of religious thinking, because it excludes those who don't agree. It's just not fair. Besides which, Freedom and Democracy depend on the reasoned debate of issues, not on assertions of faith.

Someone asked about the original thread. It's still there, it just may not show up on the list anymore:

http://www.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000537.html

06-18-1999, 11:13 AM
FYI, I started a thread in Great Debates ("Will Congress Never Learn?") on the 10 Commandments thing. That area is where we should really be having this discussion anyway.

See ya there!

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"The struggle to be freed from the tyranny of superstition and ignorance resulted in nothing less than the greatest accomplishments of our species."
-- Dr. Dean Edell, Eat, Drink & Be Merry

06-18-1999, 01:20 PM
Hmmm. David's been picking my pockets again. ;-) Here's the url for his thread. You kids go play outside!

http://www.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000045.html