Last Friday’s standing-room only hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was among the most dramatic I’ve witnessed. There was outrage – outrage not just from me as I declared the State Department “AWOL” in our quest to free an American Pastor, Saeed Abedini — a U.S. citizen — captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard […]
Each year, we receive questions about graduation prayer – what’s permissible, what isn’t.
Students do enjoy constitutional protections when it comes to expressing their faith. However, when it comes to graduation, the legal landscape is anything but clear. Court decisions in different areas of the country have produced a myriad of rulings – sometimes creating confusion and conflict.
Even the U.S. Supreme Court has left open several issues regarding religious expression at graduation events that lower courts have addressed in a variety of ways.
What is clear is that it’s best to examine the law as it applies to your specific geographic area.
In an effort to provide information about this topic, we’ve produced a letter on prayer at graduation. It’s designed to address the questions and concerns you may have regarding the use of school facilities for religious baccalaureate ceremonies, religious content within speeches given by valedictorians and salutatorians, and organized prayer at graduation ceremonies at public middle and high schools.
We focus on questions like:
Are religious baccalaureate services constitutionally permissible?
Are valedictorians and salutatorians permitted to make religious remarks as a part of their speeches?
May school officials permit invocations at graduation?