From the Religion Clause blog (see my blogroll to get there)
A Montana trial court this week upheld the action of Butte High School officials in refusing to let one of the class' ten valedictorians speak at her 2008 graduation when she refused to remove religious references from her remarks. Yesterday's Billings Gazette reports that officials asked Renee Griffith to replace the words "Christ and his joy" with "my faith" and "from God with a passionate love for him" with the words "derived from my faith and based on a love of mankind." The court concluded that the school board policy barring religious references in graduation speeches is a policy applied even handedly to all students in order to maintain the religious neutrality required by the Establishment Clause. Griffith's attorney plans to appeal the decision to the Montana Supreme Court, arguing that Griffith was not going to be speaking on the school's behalf, but wanted to express her own personal beliefs.
This is just ridiculous. It's state infringement on freedom of speech. A school should bar students from ridiculing people in these speeches --and they should bar students from obscenity in such speeches --but they should never interfere with free religious speech --especially in these non-proselytizing remarks in praise of Jesus Christ. A whole speech could be on the wonderful love, compassion and forgiveness teachings of Christ as a fine guide for future success in life --the success that matters in our relationships. And that would not be telling people to convert.
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible