Banned by school officials, the Lord’s Prayer stood tall and was heard by all, thanks to a group of Ohio graduating seniors who kept the tradition going despite the ban.
For 70 years, the Seniors at East Liverpool High School had been singing a version of the Lord’s Prayer during graduation. But this year, officials at the school, decided to nix the song from the graduation program. The reason? Fear of being sued by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The organization has said the song promoted religion, thus violating U.S. Constitution. Being sued would drain the school of money. The school board president Larry Walton explains:
“It was a decision made because we don’t have a lot of money and we’d rather hire teachers than pay lawyers.”
Needless to say the seniors were not happy about breaking tradition out of fear. They decided to deal with the situation themselves.
In total defiance towards not just the school board, but also the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the students stood up and went for it. They recited the famous prayer, which begins with, “Our Father who art in heaven.” This went down right after class valedictorian, Jonathan Montgomery had welcomed the audience to the graduation ceremony.
East Liverpool Superintendent Melissa Watson stated the following:
“It was totally spontaneous, apparently something the kids wanted to do. I had no knowledge of it. The crowd seemed to support it.” Robert Hill is the father of one of the students and he said the following: “I’ve always taught my two boys to stand up for what you believe is right. The same lesson my parents taught me. It doesn’t matter if it’s over religion or something else – take a stand.” Nevertheless, school officials may consider doing a nondenominational baccalaureate graduation for next year’s graduating class.
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