I just read about another high school student who was refused permission to include thanks to
God for His many blessings in her graduation speech.
Moriah Bridges’ Beaver Area School District principal Steven Wellendorf said, “The selected
students may still address their class and indicate the things that they wish/hope for their class, but they may not do it in the style of a prayer and most certainly may not recite a prayer that excludes other religions (by ending ‘in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” or “in the matchless name of Jesus.’” [sic]
I couldn’t help but think of Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter novels. Nearly every witch or wizard dared not utter his unmentionable name, and referred to him instead as “You-Know-Who”, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” or “the Dark Lord”.
Of course, in those novels He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is a villain, which is the antithesis of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but it seems that some are trying to convey the idea that terrible things will happen if the name of Jesus is mentioned.
Continuing with the Harry Potter analogy, the Unspeakables were not permitted to talk about their work. They were also unable to remove prophecies from the Hall of Prophecy or even take them off their shelves. Sounds like what some are trying to do with our Bible.
Perhaps this is making too light of what is becoming an issue that Christians need to confront directly whenever it occurs, as Moriah is doing. She did leave the prayer out of her remarks, but she subsequently contacted First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s top religious liberty law firms.
“The last lesson this school district taught its students is that they should hide their religious beliefs from public view,” said First Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys. “That fails the test of the First Amendment. It wasn’t Moriah who broke the law, it was the school district.”
You can read Todd Barnes entire article “School: You may not recite prayer in the name of Jesus Christ,” but I’d like to finish with some of the words Moriah Bridges didn’t get to speak aloud at her graduation ceremony.
Lord, surround us with grace and favor everywhere we go. Soften our hearts to teach us love and compassion, to show mercy and grace to others the way that you showed mercy and grace to us, even to the ultimate sacrifice. Help us love our brothers and our sisters deeply. Lead us to bless them. Make us selfless. Make us just. Make us successful people, but more than that, make us good people.
In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Watch Moriah Bridges revised speech.