Todd Starnes: Federal judge gives Jesus the heave-ho at graduation

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Jesus has been all but booted from graduation ceremonies in Greenville County, South Carolina.

Federal Judge Bruce Hendricks issued an order last week against the Greenville County School District banning school-sponsored prayers, Sacred music, and the use of religious venues at public school graduations.

“The district shall not include a prayer — whether referred to as a prayer, blessing, invocation, benediction, inspirational reading or otherwise — as part of the official program for a graduation ceremony,” Judge Hendricks wrote. “The district also shall not include an obviously religious piece of music as part of the official program for a graduation ceremony.”

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The order is the culmination of a six-year legal battle between the American Humanist Association and the school district.

“The school district subjected countless students to school-sponsored prayers on what should otherwise be a celebratory and inclusive occasion for all students, religious or not,” American Humanist Association executive director Roy Speckhardt said in a prepared statement.

I spent the past year researching the stealth attacks to eradicate Christianity from the public marketplace. My findings are published in my new book, “Culture Jihad: How to Stop the Left From Killing a Nation.”

And the court ruling in South Carolina is just the tip of the iceberg, folks.

The idea that a school choir cannot perform “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” or that a child cannot invite people to pray is flat-out Christ-shaming.

Judge Hendricks also ordered school leaders who review student speeches prior to graduation ceremonies should remove any references to prayer.

However, if school officials do not review the student’s remarks, the judge said the student would be allowed to pray “provided that no other persons may be asked to participate or join in the prayer, for example, by being asked to stand or bow one’s head.

“Moreover, in the event that a student’s remarks contain prayer, no school officials shall join in or otherwise participate in the prayer,” the judge ruled.

First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s top religious liberty law firms, denounced the federal judge’s ruling.

“The judge’s order requires school officials who review graduation speeches for vulgarity and obscenity to censor out any prayer. That’s outrageous,” attorney Jeremy Dys told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show.

“We are thrilled that the court is finally putting an end to flagrant school-sponsored prayers and Christian hymns at public school graduation ceremonies,” said American Humanist Association attorney Monica Miller said in a prepared statement. “This was a long fight for justice for students who do not wish to encounter government-sponsored religion at their own graduation ceremonies.”

One of the speeches the judge found objectionable was delivered at Greenville High School in 2017.

Dear God, thank you for bringing the class of 2017 together today as we celebrate our hard work and accomplishments we have made. We thank you for our military and those who have protected our freedoms. Please bless our teachers that have given us a strong foundation and opportunities to achieve our goals. Inspire the graduates to put to good use all the knowledge, skills and life lessons gained through their time at Greenville High. We thank our friends and family who encouraged us to strive for success along. I thank you for the friendships, spirit, laughter, and memories we’ve made at Greenville High School. I pray that as we begin the next phase of our lives we look up to you for courage, wisdom, and strength. In God’s name we pray, Amen.

The judge also declared that Sacred music would no longer be permitted. Among the songs listed in the original lawsuit were “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” “Irish Blessing,” “Exsultate,” and the Greenville High School Alma Mater which included the phrase, “And pray God bless you.”

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The idea that a school choir cannot perform “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” or that a child cannot invite people to pray is flat-out Christ-shaming.

The American Humanist Association and Judge Hendricks are part of the unrelenting war on our beloved traditions. Sadly, it appears that they will not stop until our history has been reduced to a pile of rubble.

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