Stand for something, or fall for anything.Courageous young man!!!
I suspect the reaction would have been quite different had this young man
exclaimed "Allah Akbar!" or bore witness to Joseph Smith restoring the
gospel to the Earth, but as long as the majority support his views, he's a
hero against liberalism and has great courage, or something like that.
Not courageous at all. Just a typical teenager thumbing his nose at authority.
Just because it had a religious overtone doesn't make it impressive.I don't understand why a prayer needs to be said at all. Religion
is a personal thing. What this kid did seems more like standing on a Rameumptom
than defending religion, especially since no one was attacking it.We
didn't have a prayer at our local high school graduation a few weeks ago.
I wasn't offended. I doubt the Lord was either.
If this young man had torn up his speech and shouted a bunch of curse words,
would he be applauded? Or if he had given a political speech? What if he had
endorsed a religion other than Christianity?Maybe by some. But most
people would have been offended that they were forced to listen to something
with which they disagree while at a public function.Just because he
appealed to beliefs shared by the majority does not make him right.
Why would this even make the paper here. What's your agenda DN?
If he'd been a Muslim and done the same thing, they'd be calling for
his head on a pike.Secularism doesn't mean the absence of
religion; it means that religion is a private matter.
As much as I want to say this was good I have to agree with some of the comments
that if this was something else I think the tone and reception would have been a
lot different. Glad we have some good people out there but not sure this was the
best solution. Send them out preaching or service. Can you imagine if at a ball
game here in the USA someone sang the North Korean or Iranian National anthem?
Maybe that is a stretch but you get the gist. There is a time and place for
Onward Christian Soldiers! What will fill the moral void created by the
educational theory our children have been subjected to? I believe the most
important battle today is that between Christians and atheists. I congratulate
this courageous young man for standing up for Christian virtues, which atheists
seek to destroy at the peril of civilized society.
Good for him! May he ever have the courage to stand up for his core beliefs and
be an honor to God, and to his parentsbeliefs in spite of this nations
governmental muzzling of religious christian principles.
Hooray for that courageous young man. The angels have recorded what was done
and said today.
Freedom of speech? until you talk about Christianity, even if the majority has
the same belief.I say hooray to this young man, he did what is expected of
a Valedictorian, he spoke from the heart to encourage his fellow class mates for
life, and did not buckle to the politically correct group. Had it been a muslim
speaking his uplifting beliefs I would support him as well, though if there were
any problems the government and attorneys would come to his defense. As
Claudio stated earlier "Religion is a personal thing." I agree, so is
the morals and standards of our great nation a personal thing and needs to be
fought for. Once again I say Hooray to this young man.
"Religion is a personal thing."Yes. A personal thing which
is expressible through free speech, whether in public or in private.
This is wrong--and the positive “Hooray for this young man!”
comments are wrong--on so many levels. Most of us would agree we
should “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Yes. That
sounds fair and right. How would we have reacted if the young man
had been a Muslim, ripped up his approved speech, and testified there was one
God—Allah—and Muhammad was his prophet?Probably not very
well. How would we have reacted if the young man had been an
atheist, ripped up his approved speech, and argued there was no God?Probably not very well.If we would object to that, why would we
feel good about this?
pragmatistferlifesalt lake city, utahWhy would this even make the
paper here. What's your agenda DN?-------Dialogue,
perhaps?SASSandy, UTSecularism doesn't mean
the absence of religion; it means that religion is a private matter.----------And freedom OF religion isn't the same as freedom
FROM religion or MARGINALIZING religion by pushing it into as small a space as
possible.As for me -- and I gave the prayer at my high school
graduation years ago -- perhaps the best alternative would've been for
those who wanted a prayer to hold a separate prayer service before the
graduation ceremony, even if it were a day before, and invite all who would like
to attend. That would draw those who wanted to acknowledge and thank the Lord,
and might also act as a proselytizing service for the curious or interested. In
many, many cases there is a third alternative, especially when the only
alternatives are banned or offensive.
I doubt all of you who applaud this young man's cheek would be cheering if
he were a Muslim. Did the young man flaunt authority because he
wanted to bear testimony, or because he wanted to pray on the street corner?
Only God knows and He rewards in secret.
Rational,They held a moment of silence. Sounds like a perfectly
good compromise to me. Nate et al,I don't recall
saying he should be forbidden to do anything. Just because one is free to do
something, doesn't mean one should. This young man was free to say bigoted
comments about his classmates over the microphone as well, but he didn't.
There was no threat or loss of the freedom of speech here.SigmaBlue,Who said atheists complained? Maybe the LDS voiced
concern because the prayer wasn't to their format. Maybe the Muslims
objected. Maybe the Jews. Since when did Christians have a monopoly on prayer,
or the right type of prayer?The Pharisees prayed in public for
attention and gratification from the masses. Seems this boy knows that Bible
story quite well. History does repeat itself.
@ClaudioHe mentioned religion in his speech because it was important
to him- the valedictorian ,the school chose him to speak and he wanted to
share a message with religious overtones .A typical teenager is not
a valedictorian to begin with. A typical teenager would be in the crowd half
listening and plan on popping his pimples that night before going to see a
"fast and furious " movie talk about girls and cars.Don't
mistake typical for atypical.
Finally somebody with the nerve to push back. Sounded like the said something
that I believe the founders of the country would have been proud of. And it did
take courage, way more courage than most of our politicians have.
Well said, SAS. If this was a Muslim the Christian right wing in America would
be going berzerk.
I like what SAS said. Anyone who thinks the Founding Fathers meant that
religion should be a private matter that you don't discuss with anyone
needs to do a little bit of research. It seems to me that the reason for people
coming to this country in the first place was to practice their religion without
goobermint interference...of course, I may have been wrong since history is
being revised by the socialists.
@Claudio: You missed the point. It wasn't so much about the prayer itself,
but that religion was being attacked and he responded. The school district used
to allow graduation prayers until atheist groups shut them down. This
courageous young man fought back, and I applaud him for it. Furthermore, as the
valedictorian, I doubt there was much of the authority-nose-thumbing you speak
of. I see this as a very thought out, principled, and appropriate response.
Where in this story does it say atheists were the ones who objected? How do you
know it wasn't Muslims? Jews? Mormons, who disagreed with the format of
the prayer? Hindu? Sikh? Nothing, absolutely nothing in this story said
atheists had anything to do with this. I did not ever suggest, imply, or
otherwise say that he or anyone should be forbidden from speaking about their
religion. I simply said there is no reason for one religion to be placed in a
special position during a public ceremony for kids of all faiths.I
didn't miss a point. I am capable of analyzing a situation for myself and
forming my own opinion. Yours is different. That's fantastic.
That's freedom of speech. No need to condemn me. I'm not condemning
the kid. I disagree with him and I certainly don't think this was
courageous. Nothing wrong with my opinion.Opinion 47,I'm sorry your experience with teenagers has left you with such a
negative opinion. Your description of a typical teenager certainly doesn't
agree with mine. I find them far more intelligent, compassionate, and involved
in their community than they are given credit for.
@Rational: I'm not calling for the exclusion of any religion, just
saying that I don't find such ostentatious displays to be all that
productive--or in particularly good taste. Most people, whether they share the
same views as the student or not, can respect the student's faith if he
mentions it. (A lot of atheists and agnostics included!) But the more his
speech becomes a sermon, the greater the chance that disagreement will turn into
disruption--people came to see a graduation, not to be told to repent. So
better to tread carefully.The First Amendment was proposed in
response to several centuries of religious wars in Europe. Both parts are
important--keeping religious liberty, while not officially endorsing any
particular religion. A moment of silence does that quite well, I think.(And it's surprising to see some of the comments being made against
atheists on this very board--I wonder how people would react if other religions
were condemned in the same way.)
"Secularism doesn't mean the absence of religion; it means that
religion is a private matter"No it doesn't - religious people
have the same freedom of speech as everyone else - a "secular" person
has no more right to be insulated from religion speech than a religious person
has the right to silence everything they disagree with = it is disingenuous for
secular fundamentalists to advocate tolerance while simultaneously refusing to
offer it - that is merely politically correct passive/aggressive bulling
I disagree with this person. He had committed to talk about Topic A and he
talked about Topic B instead.Yes, I do believe in freedom of
conscience and the first amendment. I don't like people who are
suppressing expressions of religious faith. It isn't their right to
prevent the rest of us from experiencing diversity simply because it makes them
uncomfortable.But he needed to stick to his agreement. In the short
term it might be good for his viewpoint, but in the long term it is not. That
is the thing about morality, it takes the long-term view.
Thank God for a new wave of young patriots that reflect constitutional and
religious values as defined by the Founders.
Said it before and I will say it again - religion is not under attack - rather
the world is tired of the "religious" shouting from the rooftops about
God. God never intended religion to be that way - rather the
“religious” should concentrate on taking care of the poor, the
needy, the sick and the afflicted - that is a much more powerful statement that
will not be silenced or forgotten. Throughout history - that is what the great
religious people did and we remember them – those who shouted from the
rooftops and did nothing to help others will soon be forgotten.
for a different prospective, google sante fe school prayer.From
2000. A lds and catholic family sued to stop student led prayer at football
games.Proving, that all those "prayers" are fine, unless
they bother you.I have no problem with this student doing what he
did. It was an individual thing. Now, had the school approved his religious
speech, that would have been a problem.
Would you all have applauded if he changed his speech to talk about putting an
end to bullying the gay and lesbian students at the school? Would you be proud
of this young man if he had recommended that Christians be more inclusive and
tolerant of people of other faiths? Would this man have been as brave if he had
stood up for the forgotten and marginalized of his society.Make no
mistake--this was not a spontaneous act; he planned this out. He turned the
podium into his own personal Rameumptom for all to see. There are much better
ways to stand up for religious freedom. This was not the best way to go about
it--at the expense of others' freedoms.
"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion nor
prohibiting the free exercise thereof, freedom of speech..."That
is what the first amendment has to say about religion."All
legislative authority granted herein belongs to a congress consisting of a house
of representatives and a senate."Those are the words of the very
first part of the constitution following the preamble.Legislative
authority is the power to create law. Only congress has it. Not the President.
Not the SCOTUS. If congress were to pass a law prohibiting prayer in school how
would it not violate the first amendment? If congress, who's job it is to
create law cannot do it, how did the SCOTUS do it when they are prohibited from
creating law?What is prayer if it is not speech? It is speech to
God. So what if some people think that God does not exist? Can they outlaw
speech just because of who we were talking to? "The law
perverted! ...and, in its wake, all the collective forces of the
nation—the law, I say, not only diverted from its proper direction, but
made to pursue one entirely contrary!...""The Law" by
Many teenagers are engaged in acts of service, inventive improvements, and
diligent study. This young man is one of them and my commendations go to him for
expressing himself well.
@SASOn which planet would a Muslim be persecuted for speaking up at a
graduation? Certainly not in America.Muslims are a protected class. If
anything, a Muslim speaking his mind would have greater protection than a
Christian.We have courted terrorists in the name of multiculturalism.
Religion under attack?There are approximately 350,000 religious
congregations in the U.S. Of those, 314,000 are Protestant or other Christian
denominations and 24,000 are Catholic. Any so-called attack on
religion in the U.S., especially Christianity, is exaggeration at best, and mere
propaganda at worst. It's strange people think certain things
about school prayer which just aren't true. First, anyone is allowed to
pray in school if he/she chooses. It simply cannot be organized by the school
or appear mandatory. Students are and always have been allowed to conduct
private prayer. The reason organized prayer is not allowed in school is to
protect those who choose not to pray from undue pressure and/or discrimination
based upon that decision. And if you don't think there is
pressure/discrimination in high schools based upon conformity, you are either
completely naive, you have forgotten what high school is really like, or you
were one of the bullies.
I'm sure that had the young man done the same thing, but recited an Islamic
prayer, the audience would have been just as thrilled.Not.The funny (ironic) thing is that your Lord despised the hypocrites of his day.
I don't doubt he feels the same way about the hypocrites of today. I don't see this young man's actions as "courageous",
I see them as self-serving and selfish, placing his own religious beliefs above
The first post in this comment section was right on.
Claudio "Mormons, who disagreed with the format of the prayer?"I'm a Mormon who hears lots of nonMormon prayers here in Virginia and I
am happy to hear them, and I'm sure God is too.
What's expected, what's accepted and what is uncalled for. Sure we all
need to know what is expected, I call the 10 commandments, the great
expectations. I can accept that others don't, but There are things that
have a time and place for. even thou chances are good that our own opinion is
unacceptable. So all you can do and go with is what you think is right, and if
your wrong is hope for forgiveness.
Who was it that said, "the best way for evil to win is for good men to do
nothing?"Hooray for this good man who did something.
" If congress were to pass a law prohibiting prayer in school how would it
not violate the first amendment"Congress did not pass a law
prohibiting the yelling of FIRE in a theater. But, isn't that
interpretation a good one?If a school opened up the giving of a
prayer to any and everyone who wanted to, I believe that would not be a
violation of the constitution.But, we all know that the majority
would have a major issue with some of the prayers.And can you
imagine the turmoil that it would cause?How can one not see that it
is best all around to just not go there?
@Claudio,Bubble,SAS,AZ Blue & Red, etc..: Folks, I'm now a
"Granny". I've lived a number of years and experienced MANY changes
in society. I am a "caregiver" for the truly "elderly". Last
night my client and I invited some of the other women in the facility to view an
older Doris Day movie. There was a song sung(natch, it's a Doris Day
movie!), with heaven mentioned in it and dialog where high moral standards were
mentioned and insisted upon from a play for the town at large. It was obvious,
though not directly "preached", that these high standards were as a
direct result of strongly based Judo/Christian beliefs. These beliefs is what
this GREAT country were founded upon. I have witnessed that the more
"politically correct" our society in this country has become the more
violent, immoral, and decadent our society is! That's all I have to say....
The town has probably had a history of why it is called Liberty and that may
have been in their process of why he did what he did.However, if I
remember, South Carolina believed that Mitt Romney was a member of a
non-Christian church, being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints.He may not have thought that way as he gave a speech that
included the Christ or Lord's Prayer but that is what the majority of
Republicans in that state seemed to espouse in their process as the myriad of
other candidates went around their state of South Carolina. In the
picture of the Superintendent, School Board, Principal and Assistant Principals
and Teachers, none of them seemed to show signs of being upset what he did.
After living in Germany after WWII and the suppression of a people and their
religious beliefs, traditions and brandishing their DNA on their shoulders,
maybe the youth in South Carolina are realizing what our government is trying to
do in their personal life.
@Counter Intelligence said "religious people have the same freedom of
speech as everyone else".... Right on!!!!! The PC police seem to have
forgotten this. and "it is disingenuous for secular fundamentalists to
advocate tolerance while simultaneously refusing to offer it - that is merely
politically correct passive/aggressive bulling" ....Replacing prayer with
"a moment of silence" is a cop-out and only used to "silence"
the point of view that the secularists don't agree with. What the PC crowd
don't seem to understand is that "tolerance" does not mean
'acceptance" Christians tolerate a lot of things we do not agree with
or accept, It's the PC crowd that bullies people and tries to force people
to "accept" their views. There is no "right to not be
offended". In God we Trust....deal with it.
I am glad he spoke out. It is time for the majority to start speaking out too.
Prayer should be back to high schools as it used to be. Maybe that will help our
youth to think about morals and values for once.
Better to live humbly for a cause, than to hold an audience captive that is not
there to listen to you.
TA1 "rather the world is tired of the "religious"
shouting from the rooftops about God."Actually I am tired of a
lot of zealous preaching from many special interest groups that have nothing to
do with religion - are you suggesting that I have the right to silence them,
that I should be tolerant but you should not or that they have some sort of
exception that religious people do not?Please consider this my shout
from a rooftop that such hypocrisy represents intolerance in its worst form.To those who ask - what if a Muslim prayed etc - since I belong to no
church, every prayer is not of my faith - but I respect it for what it is.Joeblowall Sante Fe proves is that Mormons are not monolithic -
but I think Harry Reid already proved that
Claudio,You say one thing eluding to "typical" teenagers,
than another calling them "intelligent...etc...Your word play
undermines your shallow posting. Bored in Springville? LOL
Would I offer a prayer as part of my valedictory speech under normal conditions?
Probably not. However, if you tell me that I cannot and may not do it, and I
will guarantee you that I will stick my prayer right in your ugly face.
Prohibitions against prayer in graduation ceremonies call exactly for this kind
of defiance. Bravo, young valedictorian, bravo!
Uncle Rico,I'm sorry you found the honest expression of my
beliefs shallow. I'm also sorry you lack the ability to comprehend both
posts, as you falsely believed there was a contradiction in them. All the best!
No, not courageous. Tearing up the approved speech in front of the audience?
Rather defiant and insubordinate. Not the kind of young man I would employ.
"Therefore, whosoever desired to worship mut go forth and stand upon the top
thereof and strech fort his hands toward heaven and cry with a loud voice . . ..
""Now when Alma saw this his heart was grieved; for he saw
that they were a wicked and perverse people, yea' he saw that their hearts
sere set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all manner of fine goods.""Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were lifted up onto great
boasting, in their pride."Alma 31
@Christmas Carole"I have witnessed that the more "politically
correct" our society in this country has become the more violent, immoral,
and decadent our society is!"You grew up in a period where
segregation was a standard across large chunks of the nation. I reject the idea
that we're getting particularly worse overall.
So interesting to read all the comments, I am amazed and the same old
commentators whose only objective is to scan the DN articles and post
anti-religion, secularist opinions. (Not to mention the anti-LDS bias--so much
for respecting everyone.) This young man can say what he wants,
the speaker at my graduation was a politician who spoke only of himself and yes,
we all sat there and listened. Folks can listen or get up and walk out and
return when he's done, no "careful treading" needed. He earned
the honor to speak and can share his life's experiences as he sees fit.
Get off your "I'm so offended" high horse and learn to live in the
world with others, appreciating them for their differences. Isn't that
what ya'll who are disagreeing are all about…appreciating
differences??? Rock on young man!
I wouldn't have been offended by his words, he was expressing himself and
how his beliefs shaped him, that's fine. But let’s get one thing
strait here; this is heralded as “courageous” and “good for
him” because he expressed a message that represented a majority religious
belief of the audience. Had this kid mentioned Joseph Smith or the Book of
Mormon, he would have likely been boo’d out of the place. Imagine if he
mentioned that his parents lead him to the Koran and espoused his love for Allah
and thanked Mohamed? The slant of the story would have been MUCH different.
Yet he’s just exercising free speech right? This kid new he was in the
safe zone with this speech.
@WRK"Who was it that said, "the best way for evil to win is for
good men to do nothing?"Hooray for this good man who did
something."So not talking about Jesus in a valedictorian speech
is evil? Not saying a prayer before a graduation ceremony is evil? I think that
you have a very interesting definition of evil.
The young man may have had some worthwhile things to say. But the loudest
message is the one he communicated by example. To wit, one's word of honor
Courage's? Not hardly. Getting up and saying things that make your audience
applaud does not take courage. What it takes is arrogance, and contempt for
people that are different than you.
Moabmom says:"It's the PC crowd that bullies people and
tries to force people to "accept" their views. There is no "right to
not be offended". In God we Trust....deal with it."---Surely you see the irony of your bullying statement against bullies.
"... deal with it." (i.e., if you don't like it leave - pretty
standard Utah response - and one of a bully).
Slow day in Syria, or just tryin' to stir the 'religion is
If people are offended because some people speak up for religion, II am sure
that there are just as many offended when they hear people speak up for gay
rights. However the first amendment protects religious speech as well as
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they
love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that
they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.""But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou
hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which
seeth in secret shall reward thee openly".Matthew 6:5-6
How can atheists claim to be tolerant of others, when they exclude and make
every attempt to stop those who are believers from expressing their religioius
beliefs?So you are offended by people of faith that choose to pray.
Did you ever consider that it's offensive to tell people that they cannot
exercise their constitutional right to worship?Just something to
"Verily I say unto you, they have their reward."______________________________Thanks for the quote, Fender Bender.
A timely humility reminder is always in order.Kids dream of doing
something ostentatious like Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe
malfunction’ at the Super Bowl, or an Oscar winner at the podium using the
moment to tell off the whole world about something or other. When suddenly
thrust into the spotlight, what does one do with his or her fifteen minutes of
fame?"They have their reward," a still small voice should
warn.I did some brash and foolish things when I was younger. Maybe
this kid was sincere and I should give him the benefit of the doubt. But I sure
don’t think that betraying a trust to speak as he agreed to was a display
Of course there is that little quirk about how this means the entire concept of
his speech was a lie and deception to the committee. Lying for the Lord I
As much as I agree with free speech and freedom of religion, with this
kid's religious views and probably his Biblical view, he forgot to honor
those parts of God's Word where honesty and keeping one's vow is
mandated for a child of God.If he was as valedictorial as he should
have been, this was an honor granted for the purpose of "bidding farewell
for the graduating class". (Webster, 2013). I can think of several ways
that he could have cleverly, respectfully, ethically spoke on this very topic,
sans the dramatic/rebel shredding at the beginning. I will have to read his
entire speech to see how bright his message really was.Being the
daughter of teachers who taught us principled living, and a father who became a
principle and then the superintendent, there were many times I wanted to
grandstand or let my rebel flag fly, (Class of '69!). Remembering that I
represented the "fruit" of my parents teaching and position stopped me
many times from plain tom-foolery. And I don't regret it.The
essence of this young man's message was no different than any religious
zealot challenging authority.
How is this different from:Breaking your word and your trust?Validating civil disobedience and disrespect to your elders/leaders, which is
unBiblical?Not being creative enough to weave your message in the speech
while retaining your honor as valedictorian?Disapproving of fatwas, then
issuing a fatwa against your school administration's rules?As
an avid, born-again Christian, I have to challenge my evangelical friends to
stop condemning Joseph Smith for allowing the destruction of the printing press
(that let his polygamy slip), if they cannot see where our young valedictorian
essentially trampled on his agreement to obey certain rules of "free
speech" also.There is a place for heroism and tyranny. The line
between the two depends upon which side you stand.
How can this guy be a Christian since he has not been baptized into the one true
But we have rules for good purposes. Let's see, we had a rule about sitting
in the back of the bus. We had a rule about people being property. We had a rule
about women not voting. This young man has learned that rules are made by
people, sometimes very flawed people, and rules can be changed by those willing
to challenge them. We have a new Civil Rights movement for our day - we are once
again struggling for the rights, not given by government or by man, but declared
God given rights by those who founded this nation. And on every generation falls
the responsibility to defend those rights.
I am seeing a lot of "Had we lived in the days of the Prophets..." in
these comments. There is no moral obligation to obey an illegal law or rule. You
who condemn this young man for breaking these rules are of like mind to those
who picked up rocks to stone Christ for breaking the laws of blasphemy. You lack
the courage to speak the truth and hide behind the "rules". Our schools
and our country is failing because you hide your heads and play it safe. Time to
repent and change your ways all you would be followers of Christ.