In the past, Munford High School graduations started with a student saying a prayer and ended with another student-led prayer.
But at Monday night’s commencement ceremony at Dr. Sid Witherington Stadium, due to intervention by the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties
Union, the tradition was broken. A new twist was added with a group of prayer supporters picketing and a not-so-quiet moment of silence.
Munford principal Darry Marshall asked the 1,500-plus audience for that moment of silence so everyone could “reflect on what makes this day so special.”
Most of the audience stood, bowing their heads. Then, most of the 286 graduating seniors pulled out laminated bookmarks and folded up pieces of paper that
they had been given earlier and began reciting “The Lord’s Prayer.” Students said beforehand that they knew that the moment of silence would be their chance
Once those in the audience realized what the students were doing, they broke into wild cheering as the silence in the football stadium was broken by the
verses of the prayer.
“Please be seated,” Marshall told the crowd. “We appreciate the community’s support.”
“I think it’s awesome. They should have the right to do that. I can’t see how that can offend anybody,” said Tom Page, whose son was performing in the high
Personally, I have to disagree with the triumphalist tone of the above.
I don’t see a problem with requiring a moment of silence, as opposed to the recitation of a specific prayer.
Even though “The Lord’s Prayer” doesn’t violate any tenets of my faith, (it happens to be very similar to the Kaddish in content), and I’m not sure it violates the tenets of Islam, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be members of a graduating class who happen to be Buddhists, or some other type of non-monotheistic practicianer.
I’m not sure whether there was some sort of pre-commencement vote on whether or not there should be a prayer, and if there was, and the students voted in favor, then that would make the ACLU’s meddling uncalled-for.
Either way, I don’t think anyone can just assume that it’s the south, or it’s America, and therefore everyone’s bound to be Christian.
I know quite a few Americans, (and not immigrants), who are either atheist, agnostic, or some other religion other than Christian, and who deserve to have their sensibilities respected, just as the Christians do.
The group I just mentioned also includes other monotheists who are just as conservative as myself, so it can’t be chalked up to “Well, what do you expect, they’re liberals.”