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A group of Ohio graduating seniors stood up and recited the Lord’s Prayer at their high school graduation ceremony even though it had been banned by school officials.

Seniors at East Liverpool High School had been singing a version of the Lord’s Prayer during their graduation ceremony for 70 years. School officials had removed the song from the graduation program because they were afraid that they would be sued by the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religious Foundation because the organization said the song violated the U.S. Constitution and promoted religion. Rather than fight legal battles, the school removed the song from the program.

“It was a decision made because we don’t have a lot of money and we’d rather hire teachers than pay lawyers,” school board president Larry Walton told a local NBC News affiliate.

“I know a lot of my student body was uncomfortable with it, just because it is tradition to have prayer at our school,” said Cami Post, class of 2016 vice president. “We’re really big at traditions at this school and I think it would’ve been nice to have the same as my brother had whenever he graduated.”

The ardently anti-Christian organization continues to threaten small towns and average Americans for exercising their constitutional freedoms, advocating for separation of church and state. The senior class was not happy when school officials wanted them to break their longstanding tradition and weren’t letting it go or backing down easily. Instead of standing with the school board’s decision, they decided to stand together in defiance. Just after their class valedictorian, Jonathan Montgomery welcomed the crowd to the graduation; the students stood up and recited the famous prayer. They said in unison:

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; they kingdom come: thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”

Rather than sing the Lord’s Prayer, which the Wisconsin group demanded they stop, the students recited it instead.

“It was totally spontaneous, apparently something the kids wanted to do,” said East Liverpool superintendent Melissa Watson. “I had no knowledge of it.”

Their decision was met with a roar of applause from the stands and a standing ovation. Their decision was supported by many of the student’s parents and loved ones. Robert Hill, the father of one of the senior class members, said he was proud of the students for taking a stand.

“I’ve always taught my two boys to stand up for what you believe is right,” Hill said. “The same lesson my parents taught me. It doesn’t matter if it’s over religion or something else – take a stand.”

What these students did is a courageous example of what it looks like to defy atheists and stand up for Christ and we couldn’t admire them more for it!

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