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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Deputy General Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, once a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Nov 13, 2017

When a high school graduating class was told they could not sing a rendition of the Lord’s Prayer, they stood up for their religious freedom and recited it instead. Listen now to hear about this incredible stand for religious freedom at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing


Every high school graduation has its own traditions. For one East Liverpool, Ohio, high school, the tradition had been for the graduates to sing a rendition of The Lord’s Prayer as part of the ceremony.

But, in 2016, a secular activist group got wind of the decades-old tradition and, for the first time in decades, complained, putting an end to the practice.

The song of the graduates was silenced, by order of the school board, but that’s not the end of the story. Toward the end of the ceremony, the graduates recited the Lord’s Prayer. It started with just a few, then more, until the entire class was on their feet quoting the Lord’s Prayer from memory.

The students were not only technically right (they had only be instructed not to sing the Lord’s Prayer), they were right on the law as well. You might call it an act of civil disobedience, but you cannot argue with the fact that it was, in fact, private speech. That is, it was the speech of the students and not, as the original complaint alleged, the official speech of the government endorsing religion.

Students should be reminded that their speech is the most protected at school and they ought never to be intimidated when speaking about their faith, whether in class or at graduation.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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