Monday, June 19, 2006

Free Speech (unless you are speaking about Christianity)

In a quiet blow to the right of free speech, a high school shut off the microphone of their valedictorian during her commencement speech because it included too many references to God.

In the 750-word unedited version of McComb's speech, she made two references to the lord, nine mentions of God and one mention of Christ.

Did you get that? 12 references to a divinity and she gets silenced. So where is the ACLU in their relentless protection of free speech?

Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the ACLU of Nevada, had read the unedited version of McComb's speech and said district officials did the right thing by cutting McComb's speech short because her commentary promoted religion.

"There should be no controversy here," Lichtenstein said. "It's important for people to understand that a student was given a school-sponsored forum by a school and therefore, in essence, it was a school-sponsored speech."

Free speech but no proselytizing! Included:

...a reference to God's love being so great that he gave his only son to suffer an excruciating death in order to cover everyone's shortcomings and forge a path to heaven.

Don't talk about God's love! Nooooooo! Oh, and the school's policy allows for just this type of speech.

The remainder of [a] [school board] amendment allows for religious expression during school ceremonies.

Where students or other private graduation speakers are selected on the basis of genuinely neutral, evenhanded criteria and retain primary control over the content of their expression, however, that expression is not attributable to the school and, therefore, may not be restricted because of its religious (or anti-religious) content," it states.

Oops. It looks like we're right. Freedom of speech is ok, and is even ok with the school board's rules, just not when a student refers to Jesus as their Savior. I wouldn't worry about this - I'm sure they would have censured a Muslim student, too.

No comments: