Erica Corder was one of 15 valedictorians at Lewis-Palmer High School in 2006. All were invited to speak for 30 seconds at the graduation ceremony. When it was Corder’s turn, she encouraged the audience to get to know Jesus Christ.
Corder had not included those remarks during rehearsals.
Corder’s lawsuit, filed Aug. 27 in U.S. District Court, said Principal Mark Brewer told her to prepare a public apology or she would not receive her diploma. She was still allowed to graduate.
First Amendment Center article
If you visit the above link you'll learn more about this particular story and find links to a handful of other similar stories. Regarding Corder I find it telling that she was sneaky enough NOT to mention Jesus in rehearsals but quick to proselytize when she had a large and captive audience bound by decorum to swallow what she shoved at them. That said, I think it may have been a little harsh to basically force her to apologize before she could get her diploma. But then, back on the other hand, she DID force an auditorium to listen to her spiel. If she was ballsy enough to surprise everyone with this she should have expected that there might be repercussions.
Anyway, what I wanna know is where the hell all these law-abiding school administrators were fifteen years ago. I remember one particular assembly when I was in high school and not only did the principal talk about Jesus but they had AN ACTUAL PREACHER urge us to accept Him. This was during the regular school year, during regular school hours when everyone was required to attend at A PUBLIC SCHOOL. And no one batted an eyelash. No one said squat. I wanted to say something, I honestly did. But I was a teenage girl who quite honestly was intimidated and scared. It's that freaky, slightly-inbred church-going-even-though-half-of-our-daughters-get-pregnant-before-they-can-drive mentality that puts a fake smile on everyone's face and seals the lips of anyone who lacks confidence and who might not be pure enough to pray to the Abrahamic God around the flag pole.
I've thought about it and decided that perhaps the recent hullabaloo is a direct result of Holy American Emperor George and his fundamentalist cronies (or puppet masters, depending on who you ask) and their efforts to convert everyone. The reason some folks are coming down so hard against those who stomp on the idea of separation of church and state is perhaps because they're just absolutely fed up. Trash habeas corpus, mutilate our Constitution, trick us into a war and now force your religion on us when we just want to see our kids graduate? Enough is enough! Now I've probably got someone screaming about the horrible delusion of 'the war on Christianity'. But if these folks would just pause for breath for a second they'd realize that, as far as I know, very few want to eradicate Christianity. We just don't want someone else’s beliefs dictating our laws and shoved down our throats. The reason it may seem to be a war against Christianity is simply because it's the most prominent religion in this country, not to mention the richest. They seem to forget that separation of church and state means separation of ANY church and state. Keep any and all religion out of government and out of public schools. I'm a pagan practitioner of witchcraft and I wouldn't want my beliefs forced on those who didn't ask for it. It's against the law, it's plain wrong and pointless to boot. How is FORCING someone to listen to your message going to bring them enlightenment, divine knowledge and holy inspiration? Answer: It won't. It's only going to violate their rights, piss them off and make them hate you.