Popular country singer Lee Greenwood has said that he found it offensive as a Christian that a New York City elementary school principal decided to pull his song, "God Bless the USA," from her students' graduation ceremony.
"I wrote 'God Bless the USA' about the love I have for this country and the struggle we have gone through to remain free," Greenwood said through a spokeswoman, the LA Times reported. "Our country was founded on the principle that it welcomes people of all cultures and gives them the same rights we have as citizens. However, I feel compelled to echo the faith of our forefathers, who all believed in God and a respect of a higher authority. Personally, denying the children of PS 90 to sing 'God Bless the USA' offends me as a Christian. My song is about hope, faith, spirit and pride. How could that be wrong on any level?"
The PS90 principal, Greta Hawkins, who is a Jehovah's Witness, said the patriotic lyrics to the song were "inappropriate for 5-year-olds" and that it might offend those of other cultures. The June 20 graduation is for PS90's kindergarten students. more >>
A group that advocates for the separation of church and state is claiming a victory after it was announced that the Department of Defense is removing military edition Bibles from its exchange stores. A chaplain alliance group is asking Congress to investigate whether the action taken was religious discrimination.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) said that the Holman Christian Standard Bibles editions "prominently emblazoned with exact replicas of the trademarked emblems of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force" could be seen as the official religious text of the four branches. more >>
A South Carolina high school has reversed course and is now allowing its student of the year to cite a Bible verse in her graduation speech Saturday.
Provost Academy South Carolina, an online public charter school, had previously told Michal "Mariah" Kirby, 16, that she could not use Proverbs 13:4 in her speech. But after receiving a letter from the Alliance Defense Fund, which argued that school officials were violating her First Amendment rights, the school gave Kirby the green light to "deliver her speech as written."
"Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas, and that includes individual student expression contained in a graduation speech," said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco in a statement Friday. "School officials have wisely decided to allow Mariah to include the proverb, and we hope other schools will follow their example in acting quickly to respect the constitutionally protected rights of their students." more >>
A 22-year-old Dartmouth College student will appear in court early next week after he allegedly used his car to run over a pro-life display set up by a student organization.
According to the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education (FIRE), the man, Emery S. Coxe, has been charged with disorderly conduct after he allegedly drove his Toyota Camry off of the road and into a display created by Vita Clamantis, a pro-life student organization, in mid-April. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
The display was called the "Cemetery of the Innocents," the Vita Clamantis blog explains, and featured 546 American flags that were set up to represent the 54.6 million lives lost to abortion since the case of Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. more >>
The American Civil Liberties Union, which supports same-sex marriage, is defending a Connecticut high school student who was ordered to remove his anti-gay T-shirt.
Sandra Staub, legal director for the Connecticut chapter of the ACLU, sent a letter to Dr. Joseph Monroe of Wolcott High School regarding Seth Groody, a junior whose shirt was considered to be in violation of school policy.
"The ACLU has fought hard for same-sex marriage and we couldn't agree with Seth less on that issue, but he is absolutely correct about his right to express his opinion," said Staub. more >>
A high school student from Colorado won first place in Focus on the Family's Day of Dialogue blog contest for her effort to answer the question, "Does God really care?"
The national contest was held in conjunction with the family ministry's sponsored event earlier this year that encouraged students to talk to their friends about God's love and design for marriage and sexuality.
Katie, 17, whose last name was withheld by FOTF, wrote that "God always has something new to teach us … Especially throughout high school, hormones are running rampant. Relationships become a big deal. Our dreams fade and change. We face drama with friends, teachers, boyfriends, girlfriends… It's a lot to deal with for someone who hasn't even lived two decades yet." more >>