Graduation Choir Wants to Sing 'Lord's Prayer' in Honor of Deceased

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By Doug Huntington, Christian Post Reporter
May 28, 2007|11:32 am

A Michigan high school choir wishes to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” at their graduation this week in honor of one of their deceased classmates but is still in the process of receiving approval over feared church-state issues.

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Christian litigation that defends the right to speak the “Truth,” sent an information letter to the superintendent of Comstock Park Public School District explaining that the Comstock Park High School choir would be not be infringing upon any laws if they allowed the religious song. The group has even promised to defend the school if the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a group notorious for its anti-Christian lawsuits, takes legal actions.

The song is reported to be the deceased student’s favorite tune.

“The Establishment Clause does not ban religious songs at graduation, and it’s ridiculous that anyone would try to censor students wanting to honor a deceased classmate with one of his favorite songs,” said Jeremy Tedesco, ADF litigation counsel, in a statement. “We sent the information letter to the Comstock Park School District to let them know that ADF will defend the school if the ACLU or any of its allies has the audacity to sue over this.”

Nick Szymanski, a sixteen-year-old classmate at Comstock Park High School, passed away during this school year after being accidentally electrocuted while painting a house in October. Szymanski was a Christian and also a part of the school choir.

The students in the choir decided to sing “The Lord’s Prayer,” the departed boy’s favorite song, in honor of him during their graduation, and had been able to perform the song at other school functions throughout the year. The choir ran into resistance from officials over the upcoming commencement.

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A member from the singing group contacted ADF for help in the matter, and the Christian attorneys went on to contact the head of the school district.

ADF staff is blaming the school’s refusal to allow the homage because of misunderstandings that officials have over what is legal at graduations. And ADF attorneys credit the ACLU for most of this confusion.

“Schools are confused these days because of the ACLU’s relentless campaign of fear, intimidation, and disinformation,” commented Tedesco. “Even though the law is on their side, some school officials censor religious songs and sentiments at graduations because of the bullying tactics of the ACLU.”

The ACLU, an organization that provides legal assistance in cases in which it considers civil liberties to be at risk, is best known among Christian circles for its efforts to remove prayer, religious symbols, federally-funded abstinence programs, and Bible classes from schools, among others.

Earlier this month, the ACLU sent a letter to a Louisiana school district advising them to censor graduation speakers if they include religious themes and prayer with their presentations. Another legal group, Liberty Counsel, in response affirmed that the students have a right to religious themes if they should choose to use them. As long as the school itself is not forcing the students with religious content, students have free speech rights, it noted.

“For students, parents, and faculty at Comstock Park High School, forbidding the song would compound the tragedy they’ve experienced in losing a much-loved student,” Tedesco added.

The Comstock Park High School’s graduation is set to be held this Thursday.

 

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