I applaud the Montana Supreme Court who ruled in favor of a former Montana high school valedictorian who was not allowed to speak at her commencement because of the religious references in her speech.
Among Renee Griffith’s planned comments were such statements as: "I didn’t let fear keep me from sharing Christ and His joy with those around me" — and "I learned not to be known for my grades…but for being committed to my faith and morals and being someone who lived with a purpose from God with a passionate love for Him." She was ordered by school officials to replace "Christ" with the words "my faith"; and to amend the other statement to say she "lived with a purpose, a purpose derived from my faith and based on a love of mankind."
Griffith, a co-valedictorian of her 2008 senior class, refused to do so and, consequently, was prevented from speaking at the ceremony.
Now the Montana Supreme Court has ruled 5-1 that officials at Butte High School violated Griffith’s rights to free speech and to freedom of religion under the U.S. and Montana constitutions. It was "unreasonable," said the court, "to conclude that Griffith’s brief mention of her personal religious views would materially and substantially disrupt the graduation ceremony…."
Religious freedom also applies to youth. They don’t shed this right just because they pass through the public school doors.
Originally posted at American Principles in Action
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