On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Texas valedictorian says she’ll pray during her graduation speech and is willing to go to jail

Graduating high school senior Angela Hildrenbrand says she’s willing to go to jail if that’s what it takes to be allowed to thank Jesus as her Lord and Savior during her valedictorian speech this weekend.

The Texas State Attorney General and her school district are fighting to see that she will be allowed to pray. But if they lose the court battle, the 18-year-old announced in front of the Alamo, she will pray anyway and pay the consequences.

CLICK HERE to read update: Amazing last-minute win for Angela! Three federal judges overturn the ban!


“I’ve been looking forward to my high school graduation day for a long time. And I had hoped it would be a cause for celebration, not for conflict,” said Hildenbrand.

CLICK HERE to read how Angela finally graduates — and prays as the crowd cheers

A prayer ban at her graduation in a San Antonio suburb went into effect after an agnostic family and their graduating senior filed a lawsuit last week. A judge granted their injunction banning any prayer at the graduation. Now Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is joining the Castroville school district’s appeal to allow students to express themselves.


Abbott said the judge’s ruling banning students from praising God or offering Him thanks during their commencement speeches is unconstitutional.

“The last thing these students should have done is to have ripped out from under them their ability to participate in a ceremony they’ve been expecting for the last four years,” he said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery had ruled that students and their parents cannot ask the audience to join in prayer, bow their heads or even say aloud the words “prayer” or “amen.”

School board President Roland Ruiz argues that permitting students to express their religious views in school does not mean the district endorses religion. In fact, the district printed a disclaimer in each graduation program noting the content of each student speaker’s message is the private expression of the individual student and does not reflect the endorsement of the district.


Hildenbrand said she simply wants to thank God for his blessings in her speech to students and wants permission to use some language that’s been barred by U.S. District Judge Fred Biery: words like “Lord,” “in Jesus name,” and “amen.”

Hildenbrand said it is the language of her personal faith.

Furthermore, she added, “I intend to pray in my speech on Saturday. And I feel that the court’s ruling does infringe upon my rights to freely express my religious views, and so I hope the appeals court will do the right thing.”

Her father, Timothy Hildenbrand, said, “As a parent and as a citizen I would just like to say that I’m so proud of my daughter for standing up for our First Amendment rights.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Barbara Barrett

    Evi: Because in America, Every single person has the same rights, regardless of their belief or lack of belief, regardless of race, creed, social standing, etc. and even if the majority wants one thing that is illegal, its still illegal. This country is not a majority rule. It only takes one person to point out a wrong. under your hypothetical situation, if Miss. Hildenbrand is allowd to say her Christian Prayer, then any student can stand and say a prayer to Satan. Or Shiva. Or Buddah. Or Allah. Or the Flying Speghetti Monster (praise his noodley appendages). What it coms down to is that as Valedictorian, Miss Hildenbrad has a responsibility on behalf of the school which has an obligation as an agent of government to remain secular. It is the same as if she i at some point hired by a company who has a policy against prayer. She must either follow their policy or risk being fired.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment richard a orme

    i praise god for you like it says in the great christian hymn stand up for jesus so what if some agnostic dont like tell them they can kiss my foot its about time that we as christians who are born again start standing up for jesus amen

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Birdie

    I am proud of this young lady! If I still lived in San Antonio I would gladly attend her graduation (assuming I could) and stand with her in prayer to our Lord & Savior. So it’s okay to grant freedom of speech to fools and not to those of us who know the truth? Shame all over them! I agree with John, I fear for this country. It has come to coddle the few and disregard the many. This country was founded under the dictates of God. Atheists and agnostics, whatever you call yourself, if you don’t like it go found your our country! This one belongs to God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment EILEEN

    When one feels grateful for something God has done for them why can’t they express their thankfulness? God’s company makes a journey seem shorter. Miss Hildenbrand is expressing herself.She is not pushing anything on any one. If those that don’t want to hear her, maybe they should not attend. I bet there are more that applaud her and those that don’t. Majority rules.May our Lord Jesus Christ who loves us and by his grace encourages us strengthen you in every word. I PRAISE God for you.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Les

    Go Girl- You know your religious freedoms and you are in the right!
    As the valedictorian I bet you could teach some of the rest of us about the original intent of the forefathers who opened each and every Constitutional meetng with prayer invoking the help of almighty God, just like you ! ( Maybe Kenneth thinks they should be imprisioned too-apparently the British did!) God Bless America….Let’s say it AGAIN, God Bless America- it’s right now and it was right then.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Drew Squires

    Thank the Lord for young adults like Angela. More Young adults like here will save this country! May the Lord Bless her now & in the future! In the mean time, we who believe should pray for the salvation of the opposing parents & thier son. (and the judge.) I pray the Lord will open their eyes & they will seek His free gift of salvation. Amen & Thank You Angela!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment David Ameen

    The saddest part is that despite the !st Amendment we still have to fight the Federal Government for the right to practice our faith.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment DJJayito

    She would likely have a more solid career advantage if she spent 4 years in jail as opposed to 4 years in school – given this economy. There are so many laws out there that are helping those “who are less fortunate” than others. Plus, she wouldn’t have to spend a DIME on her education. LOL

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment DJJayito

    AND… On another note… What is the deal with this whole separation of church and state nonsense, anyway. Gays in America cannot get married, because the united states government has laws against it. Isn’t that a 100% combination of church and state!? I guess the gay community should start a class-action lawsuit against the US government for being forced into laws that WRONGFULLY combine church with state.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Barbara

    Thank you young lady for upholding our Lord Jesus Christ! You go ahead and pray all you want the, courts can go to hell as far as I am concerened! This is a bad joke on their part but one the media loves to revile in. Anything to tell on t.v.. They really don’t care if you pray or not it’s just something to get on t.v. about. The people who filed against you praying are enjoying this just as much as the media. They love “stepping” on other people’s toes. And starting trouble.There was no reason to do this wicked thing other then to get on T.V. Anyway Miss Hildenbrand ,you, know our GOD, you know HE is in on this thing with you and HE will bring you through. You know to hold HIS HAND and pray the enemies socks off.
    We the people are all with you and so proud of you we will pray you through that speech. It’s about time someone decided to fight back..AMEN!! Hallelujah!!

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