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Liberty Counsel Protects Assaults on Students' Religious Rights

The Liberty Counsel is protecting the religious freedom of students, including in graduation speeches. (Ali Hanlon via Flickr)

Every spring, atheists and other secular thinkers seek to remove God from public school graduations. Every year, Liberty Counsel acts to ensure that prayer and religious viewpoints are not censored during these ceremonies.

Already, Liberty Counsel is helping a school create a policy that will protect religious freedom and allow constitutionally protected prayer.

This year, Liberty Counsel launches its 15th annual "Friend or Foe" Graduation Prayer Campaign. Liberty Counsel's web page offers legal memos, pocket guides for religious freedom and even red "I WILL PRAY" wristbands that can be a reminder for students who wish to pray. This campaign seeks to protect religious viewpoints at every graduation ceremony across the nation. Liberty Counsel will first educate and then, if necessary, litigate to ensure that prayer and religious viewpoints are not suppressed during graduation ceremonies and throughout the year.

"The key is that public schools should remain neutral towards any expression of a religious view, including graduation prayer," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "The school cannot command or prohibit religious language."

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Liberty Counsel was responsible for winning a precedent-setting case against the ACLU that went all the way to the Supreme Court. In Adler v. Duval County School Board, Liberty Counsel successfully defended the right of students to pray or give religious messages at graduation. The case established the legal principle that public schools are free to adopt a policy that allows students or other speakers to present secular or religious messages, including prayer, at commencement ceremonies.

"If the school allows a variety of viewpoints but bans religious viewpoints at graduation, then that is hostility to religion. That school's actions would be unconstitutional. Students do not lose their constitutional right to free speech when they step to the podium at graduation," said Staver.

This article originally appeared at lc.org.

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