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separation of church and state

Discussion in 'Religion & Spirituality Forum' started by gridfaniker, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. gridfaniker

    gridfaniker Loathsome

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    Hypothetical:

    A senior at a public high school is the valedictorian of his class. A professed Christian, he naturally wants to mention his faith and attribute his success as as a person to it. A review of his veledictory shows that he in no way wants to promote his Christian beliefs by urging his classmates and those who will be attending the commencement ceremony to accept the Lord as their personal savior. In no way does he question the beliefs of those who prescribe to other religions. In fact, no others religions or faiths are mentioned. In a nutshell, he simply wants to credit the Lord for his achievements. While that is the standard theme of his valedictory, it is far from being a sermon. In fact, it contains most of the standard fare from most speeches: be true to yourself; never give up; etc. etc.

    Question: should he be permitted to deliver the speech or should it be banned on the grounds it violates the First Amendment?
     
  2. vpkozel

    vpkozel Professional Calvinballer

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    I would hope that he would understand that a graduation is not the place for a long disertation on how God and his impact on his life. Should he mention it and move on, sure and if someone had a problem with that I would say they were wrong.
     
  3. gridfaniker

    gridfaniker Loathsome

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    I would agree that a high school graduation is probably not the place for it, but my question is: does it violate Constitutional rules separating church and state?
     
  4. vpkozel

    vpkozel Professional Calvinballer

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    Are any tape recorders confiscated?
     
  5. gridfaniker

    gridfaniker Loathsome

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    no.

    which side do you think the ACLU would fall on? Remember, this is an agency that professes to protect individuals' Constitutional rights, one of which is the right to free speech.
     
  6. vpkozel

    vpkozel Professional Calvinballer

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    Well, that's the thing. This would not be a free speech issue because no one is preventing him from saying these things or threatening retribution if he does. It is a lot like the HOF/Tim Robins thing, IMO. It is just not an appropriate place to say some things. No one will punish him for these beliefs, but they have no obligation to provide him with the forum to share them.
     
  7. gridfaniker

    gridfaniker Loathsome

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    what if in the hypothetical he was told that he had to delete any and all references to his faith or not be allowed to address his classmates. Does that make it a free speech issue?
     
  8. kshead

    kshead What's the spread?

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    You'd think the second brother would have sense enough to not tip his hand before the speech. :) But I guess not.
     
  9. vpkozel

    vpkozel Professional Calvinballer

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    Not really. Now if they told him that they would flunk him if he did it or not provide a transcript or arrest him, then it would be different.

    There is no right to give valedictory speeches in the Constitution that I am aware of.
     
  10. gridfaniker

    gridfaniker Loathsome

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    you're correct, there is no right to give valedictory speeches in the Constitution, but they are given nonetheless, at thousands of schools each year. If someone was told that he couldn't include mention of his faith in his speech because it violates separation laws, does he have a legitimate gripe?
     

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