.- Wisconsin school officials reconsidered a previous decision and allowed one high school valedictorian to speak about Jesus in her recent graduation speech. When Miriam Cattanach, valedictorian of the Class of 2005 of Spencer High School, submitted her graduation speech to school officials, they said any reference to religion, God, or Jesus must go.
The committed Christian said in her speech that Christ is the hope for the future. When administrators censored her speech, her family contacted Liberty Counsel in Florida.
After the legal group got involved, the school changed its tune, says Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver.
"We wrote a letter to the school authorities and talked to them about what the Constitution says. We simply said that if they insist on censoring this religious message of her graduation speech, that it would be unconstitutional, and we would have to file suit in court," Staver reports.
Officials changed their mind, allowing Cattanach to give her address May 21.
"There is someone who can make the journey seem a lot easier. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ," the young woman told her classmates. "He is the ultimate source of success, love, laughter, dreams, and the future. He is the Creator of the universe who longs to have a relationship with you."
Staver says school administrators and others often “get the wrong impression.” The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit to prevent prayer at a Pennsylvania high school's graduation ceremony on May 28.
"They assume that the safe road is to censor prayer or religious messages,” he said. “In fact, it's unconstitutional to do so.
"While the school should not either force prayer, on the other hand they should not stop prayer or religious messages," he continued. "They ought to remain neutral."
And students honored as valedictorian or salutatorian, he said, should be free to "share their gratitude to God" with their fellow students and family members.