A tradition of prayer puts a high school graduation tradition on the line.The separation of church and state has been and continues to be tricky, touchy, and rarely simple. This complexity often pertains to gray areas when determining if something is a First Amendment right or if imposing religious agenda. This past weekend, with thousands of young graduates across America on the brink of their bright futures, there arose another such instance where the two sides of the argument came head-to-head, and people took matters into their hands.
For 70 years, the graduation ceremony of East Liverpool High School in Ohio has included a performance of "The Lord's Prayer" by the school's choir. This year, however, the performance was prohibited much to the chagrin of the student population. The Freedom from Religion Foundation contacted East Liverpool High and informed the school board president that they would undergo a lawsuit if "The Lord's Prayer" was included in the graduation ceremony. Student board president Larry Walton found himself choosing between forgoing tradition or paying legal fees. He came to this decision:
We said 'okay, we just won't do it anymore.' It was a decision made because we don't have a lot of money and we'd rather hire teachers than pay lawyers.But the student body had something else in mind. When the valedictorian took the stage for his remarks, he ended up leading a spoken recitation of the Lord's Prayer which resulted in a standing ovation from the crowd gathered for the event, showing support of following through with the tradition. As the school did not sanction it, nothing can be done legally against the valedictorian, and many students and their parents were happy that he upheld the tradition––albeit, in his own way. That said, the school board president intends to organize a non-denominational baccalaureate service next year that will hopefully serve as a peaceful compromise. H/T: Nbc4i.com, Wtov9.com