Alabama School Facing Possible Lawsuit Over Baccalaureate, Graduation Prayer
By Todd Starnes
An Alabama school district could be one bowl of banana pudding away from a federal lawsuit.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a threatening letter the other day to Opp City Schools regarding the high school’s baccalaureate service.
For generations, public high schools have held baccalaureate services on the Sunday before graduation. It’s a sacred rite of passage steeped in our nation’s rich Christian heritage – with prayers, Bible readings, religious music and a message from a preacher.
But it turns out atheists are not big fans of baccalaureate services or, for that matter, our Lord and Savior.
“The school’s role in sponsoring a baccalaureate on school property would cause any reasonable graduating senior or parent to conclude that the District endorses the religious messages espoused at the service,” FFRF attorney Sam Grover wrote to the Alabama school district.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a perpetually-offended gang of atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers. They typically prey on small towns and communities that do not have the financial resources to fight back against their bogus threats.
“Opp City Schools has a legal duty to remain neutral toward religion,” Grover wrote. “It makes no difference how many students want religious speeches or wouldn’t be offended by them at their graduation.”
Opp High School held its baccalaureate service on May 21 in the high school auditorium. The program featured ministers from all sorts of denominations – along with the praise team from a nearby church.
The crowd sang songs like, “Good, Good Father” and “O Praise the Name.” There were also scripture readings from the Old Testament, a sermon delivered by the pastor of Southside Church and a message from the principal.
“It is our understanding that Opp High Principal Aaron Hightower led the seniors in prayer during the service,” the attorney revealed.
The attorney cited a 1991 Alabama court ruling that determined a local school district must “ensure that no other school officials promote, lead, or participate in the service.”
“The district must immediately end all involvement with the baccalaureate,” Grover demanded. “This means that no public school employees can be involved in further hosting, organization, planning, or coordination of the event.”
Does the Freedom From Religion Foundation really believe that hosting the baccalaureate refreshment table is unconstitutional? Would they really sue a teacher for dishing out bowls of banana pudding or putting an extra scoop of sherbet in the punch bowl?
The Freedom From Religion Foundation also took issue with a prayer that was delivered during the actual graduation program.
“According to our complainant, high school administrators scheduled a prayer for the event, which was included on the graduation program and was delivered to the audience by a student,” Grover wrote. “Principal Hightower also gave a speech with references to God and prayer.”
In other words, the Wisconsin-based atheists have a problem with people of faith who invoke their rights as defined by the United States Constitution.
The school district has yet to respond to the complaint.
“A graduation should be a celebration for all students, not an exercise in alienating nonreligious students with a Christian message,” Grover wrote.
The atheists and the secularists are waging a fierce war against people of faith. As I wrote in my new book, “The Deplorables Guide to Making America Great Again,” we must stand up to those who want to take away our freedom.
Just ask the good people of Opp, Alabama – they’re just one scoop of sherbet away from a federal lawsuit.