In a recent article on the Todd Starnes website an 18-year-old at West Prairie High School in Illinois had his speech changed by school officials to exclude any mention of Jesus Christ.

Class Valedictorian Sam Blackledge would not be allowed to deliver his remarks until he removed any references to Jesus Christ from the text.

The school administrators felt that the mention of Christ was not appropriate for a high school graduation ceremony. (You can hear the full uncensored speech here.)

You be the judge.

Why Remove Two Words?

Why did the West Prairie High School administrators feel the need to remove “Jesus Christ” from Blackledge’s speech?

As we all know there’s no mention whatsoever of the separation of church and state anywhere in the US Constitution.

The inferences to God are all over the Declaration of Independence. The Supreme Court proudly displays the Ten Commandments.

Yet as we also know the Supreme Court has been very ambiguous about their interpretation of the First Amendment when it comes to religious practices in government supported places.

If a tax dollar is used Jesus, Mohammad, or Buddha are not welcome.

Schools can’t condone religion at school supported activities. No praying on the field but it is of course OK to disrespect our national flag by kneeling.

Were the admin’s afraid they’d lose their tax-exempt status? The state and federal money would stop flowing into their academic trough?

Would someone complain, and they’d have to make a tail between their legs apology? Better to error on the side of caution.

Obviously, no one would come forward asking why there was no mention of Jesus in the speech.

Just kick it out and you’re home free — case closed.

In the aftermath school administrators asked for a meeting with Sam and his parents but when told they would be bringing legal counsel of course the meeting never happened.

No, I think this topic goes much further than two words.

It’s not that any mention of religion is offensive; it’s the politics and actions of those who practice it that some find offensive. Sort of a religious privilege.

How can the Golden Rule or Love Thy Neighbor be offensive to anyone? Isn’t that what almost every religion on earth teaches?

Some Final Thoughts

Sometimes we confuse the teachings of religion with the actions of those who practice it. The two can be far apart.

We are not a perfect people. Some take religion too far; others not far enough. But we still have the other part of the first amendment called Freedom of Speech.

To express our opinion even though that opinion might be offensive to others is —if you’ll excuse the expression “a God given right” — school administrators notwithstanding.

Is the school right or is Sam Right? Comments below.

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