April 13, 2012
Washington, DC – As students are donning caps and gowns, Liberty Counsel is launching the tenth annual “Friend or Foe” Graduation Prayer Campaign. The campaign serves to protect religious viewpoints at graduation. Liberty Counsel seeks to educate and, if necessary, litigate to ensure that prayer and religious viewpoints are not suppressed during graduation ceremonies.
“The key to graduation prayer or religious viewpoints is that the school should remain neutral - neither commanding nor prohibiting voluntary prayer and religious viewpoints,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. Liberty Counsel has published a free legal memo on graduation prayer, which is available online at www.LC.org.
In a precedent-setting case against the ACLU, Adler v. Duval County School Board, Liberty Counsel won the right of students to pray or give religious messages at graduation. The case established the legal principle that public schools are free to adopt a policy that permits students or other speakers to present secular or religious messages, including prayer, at commencement ceremonies.
“Students do not lose their constitutional right to free speech when they step to the podium at graduation,” Staver said. “To allow a variety of viewpoints except religious viewpoints at graduation is neither American nor is it consistent with the Constitution. While schools should not force people to pray, neither should they force them not to pray.”