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 Virginia

    What a courageous young woman you are. Your parents have every right to be proud of you. Praise God in all things. We should not be afrid to give Him the glory or praise for all things in our lives. I still have a hard time accepting that we can’t pray in public settings. I will always pray no matter what. God bless you. Glad I graduated before it became unacceptable to pray!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kevin D. Williams

    Jesus advises us not to build up treasures here on earth because they will be here today and gone tomorrow. But rather, lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: My girl, you are doing just that in what you are attempting now. Do not let your detractors convince you otherwise! Doing God’s will or that on man. The choice may be hard but in this case the path is so clearly defined. Please stay on course and your rewards will not only be here from close friends and family but eternally from your heavenly Father. Godspeed in your efforts. Your brother in Christ, Kevin Williams.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Pam

    This young lady has every right under the first amendment to freedom of religion. How is she imposing her belief on anyone else? This is how she believes, this is her speech, what SHE IS THANKFUL FOR!Others have a right to think however the choose. Why is the majority always being punished for the rights of the few?
    I will be praying everything works out of her and applaud her decision to stand up for HER RIGHTS!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Barbara

    To bad those “agnostics” don’t believe in the POWER of PRAYER..Glory to God I praise him everyday. That O’Hare gal who stopped the prayers in school is dead but her son is a minister now. We can turn this around and bring prayer back into schools, courts etc. If you “agnostic people” don’t believe in the Lord, then shut your eyes and hold your ears or just plain leave and do us a favor keep this out of the courts!!!It has no business there. You only have the power because we have let you take it. Let’s quit giving over to nutcakes and step forward for our LORD!

  • http://None Patsy Davis

    My name is Patsy Davis and I live in Charlotte, N.C.

    HURRAY for the valedictorian who said that she didn’t care whether or not she was going to be put in jail for praying to God for everything.She is a true Christian and is able to stand up for God like all of us should! Thank you, God, for making this woman!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment lls Gods child

    It all boils down to the devil having his hand in everything and trying to grasp everyone. He is using any tactics he can to steer Gods people from salvation. When long ago when God was in everything, the world was a better place. But a lot of people let their EGO’s lead them to which they think they are greater than God. Why is it that a country that was once based on God and our savior trying to please the athiest. The answer is money. Greed has led many to sell their souls. It’s sad to say our government isn’t as strong as it use to be in the past. Not to say it was perfect then, but our foundation was build from the word of God. Slowly but surely nay-sayers are going momentum and if we do not change this the world is in for a cruel awakening. I pray it doesn’t take this for people to want to praise God & Jesus. If one doesn’t want to hear what another had to say about their religion, then let them walk away. Just because you are offended by praise doesn’t give you or the government the right to quiet people to speak about their religion.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lena Simon

    Everyone should give praise to this young lady who isn’t ashamed of giving thanks to our Lord. I really commend her on her strength in which she received from God to not out him last. We (The world) need more strong individuals as this young lady to help turn the world around. God thank you for continuously shown your children there is still a chance for this world to change. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also Ye are called in one body, and Ye be thankful. Colossians 3:15

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pam

    go girl I stand by you to proclaim that JESUS CHRIST Is our Lord and Savior,whoever boldly proclaim His name without shame will surely have an enternal life.parents if you feel u’re doing ur son good,sorry cos u’re going to reap from destroying his soul.I support ur faith cos I live by the same faith.congratulations on ur graduation.remain Blessed in Jesus name,Amen.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment omg

    i believe that the first ammendment provides for all religious expression. the govt cannot mandate a specific religion, as is done in England or even the middle east. in addition, the separation OF church and state is not the separation of church FROM state. as a valadictorian she is setting an example by staying true to her faith and demonstrating that fact for all to see. im sure that her fellow graduates are familiar with her after 4 years in the same school. they couldnt care less. they just want to get on with their lives. live and let live….

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kim

    Dear Kenneth,

    Thank you for the entertainment this morning ! God bless !

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