Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

District pulls plug on speech (Valedictorian's speech unwelcome by ACLU)
Las Vegas Review-Journal ^ | Jun. 17, 2006 | ANTONIO PLANAS

Posted on 06/19/2006 3:08:08 PM PDT by FerdieMurphy

Foothill valedictorian criticizes decision to censor her proclamation of faith

She knew her speech as valedictorian of Foothill High School would be cut short, but Brittany McComb was determined to tell her fellow graduates what was on her mind and in her heart.

But before she could get to the word in her speech that meant the most to her -- Christ -- her microphone went dead.

The decision to cut short McComb's commencement speech Thursday at The Orleans drew jeers from the nearly 400 graduates and their families that went on for several minutes.

However, Clark County School District officials and an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that cutting McComb's mic was the right call. Graduation ceremonies are school-sponsored events, a stance supported by federal court rulings, and as such may include religious references but not proselytizing, they said.

They said McComb's speech amounted to proselytizing and that her commentary could have been perceived as school-sponsored.

Before she delivered her commencement speech, McComb met with Foothill administrators, who edited her remarks. It's standard district practice to have graduation speeches vetted before they are read publicly.

School officials removed from McComb's speech some biblical references and the only reference to Christ.

But even though administrators warned McComb that her speech would get cut short if she deviated from the language approved by the school, she said it all boiled down to her fundamental right to free speech.

That's why, for what she said was the first time in her life, the valedictorian who graduated with a 4.7 GPA rebelled against authority.

"I went through four years of school at Foothill and they taught me logic and they taught me freedom of speech," McComb said. "God's the biggest part of my life. Just like other valedictorians thank their parents, I wanted to thank my lord and savior."

In the 750-word unedited version of McComb's speech, she made two references to the lord, nine mentions of God and one mention of Christ.

In the version approved by school officials, six of those words were omitted along with two biblical references. Also deleted from her speech was a reference to God's love being so great that he gave his only son to suffer an excruciated death in order to cover everyone's shortcomings and forge a path to heaven.

Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the ACLU of Nevada, had read the unedited version of McComb's speech and said district officials did the right thing by cutting McComb's speech short because her commentary promoted religion.

"There should be no controversy here," Lichtenstein said. "It's important for people to understand that a student was given a school-sponsored forum by a school and therefore, in essence, it was a school-sponsored speech."

Lichtenstein said that position was supported by two decisions by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in 2000 and 2003.

Both cases involved graduation ceremonies and religious speeches given by commencement speakers. In the 2003 case, Lichtenstein said, the plaintiff even petitioned the Supreme Court to have the decision reversed, but the request was denied.

In 2003, the Clark County School Board amended district regulations on religious free speech, prohibiting district officials from organizing a prayer at graduation or selecting speakers for such events in a manner that favors religious speech or a prayer.

The remainder of the amendment allows for religious expression during school ceremonies.

Where students or other private graduation speakers are selected on the basis of genuinely neutral, evenhanded criteria and retain primary control over the content of their expression, however, that expression is not attributable to the school and, therefore, may not be restricted because of its religious (or anti-religious) content," it states.

"To avoid any mistaken perception that a school endorses student or other private speech that is not in fact attributable to the school, school officials may make appropriate neutral disclaimers to clarify that such speech is not school sponsored."

District legal counsel Bill Hoffman said the regulation allows students to talk about religion, but speeches can't cross into the realm of preaching.

"We review the speeches and tell them they may not proselytize," Hoffman said. "We encourage people to talk about religion and the impact on their lives. But when that discussion crosses over to become proselytizing, then we to tell students they can't do that."

McComb, who will study journalism at Biola University, a private Christian school in La Mirada, Calif., doesn't believe she was preaching. She said although some people might not like the message of her speech, it was just that, her speech.

"People aren't stupid and they know we have freedom of speech and the district wasn't advocating my ideas," McComb said. "Those are my opinions.

"It's what I believe."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Nevada
KEYWORDS: aclu; antichristian; antitheist; braindeadschool; christophobia; churchandstate; freespeech; godlessliberals; wwfsmdo
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051 next last
Had she been quoting from the Koran there would have been no problem!

This school system (and their ACLU buddies) need bombardment.

1 posted on 06/19/2006 3:08:09 PM PDT by FerdieMurphy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy


Evac her and the others that believe in her true right to free speech, and nuke the site from orbit...it's the only way to be sure the situation is solved.


2 posted on 06/19/2006 3:12:29 PM PDT by in hoc signo vinces ("Houston, TX...a waiting quagmire for jihadis. American gals are worth fighting for!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

The ACLU, if they were really worried about folks' civil rights under our constitution would be suing the school administration on this girl's behalf.


3 posted on 06/19/2006 3:12:43 PM PDT by Past Your Eyes (Every time you think, you weaken the nation.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

The stinking commie left keeps attacking American faith. They fear it because it has a system of accountability in it -- ethics, morals, the concept of right versus wrong.

This flies in the face of the far left, like a silver cross in the face of a vampire...


4 posted on 06/19/2006 3:14:23 PM PDT by EagleUSA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

Curious what the response would of been if they pull the plug on a "Gay Pride" event. So much for "Celebrating Diversity". One of the most despicable things about the Modern Political Left, their rabid hypocrisy.


5 posted on 06/19/2006 3:15:44 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (The Democrat Party! For people who prefer slogans over solutions!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
"We review the speeches and tell them they may not proselytize," Hoffman said. "We encourage people to talk about religion and the impact on their lives. But when that discussion crosses over to become proselytizing, then we to tell students they can't do that."

I'd be interested in knowing the criteria they use to judge "talking about" from "proselytizing" and if that criteria is ever applied to your average humanities professor's lectures.

6 posted on 06/19/2006 3:17:36 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

And the ACLU most probably collected a fat check from the school district.


7 posted on 06/19/2006 3:18:02 PM PDT by Sometimes A River (Nations who do not know their national identity will become the prey of other nations - Atatürk)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: A_perfect_lady

Oops, this is high school, not college. Sorry. Still would like to know the criteria.


8 posted on 06/19/2006 3:18:43 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: EagleUSA
The stinking commie left keeps attacking American faith. They fear it because it has a system of accountability in it.

Kinda makes the point of Ann Coulter's book - in spades.

9 posted on 06/19/2006 3:19:40 PM PDT by JaguarXKE
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

"McComb, who will study journalism at Biola University"

Excellent. But I hope she doesn't expect to get hired by the NY Times.


10 posted on 06/19/2006 3:19:47 PM PDT by I still care ("Remember... for it is the doom of men that they forget" - Merlin, from Excalibur)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
"an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that cutting McComb's mic was the right call"

Another left-wing fascist anti-American Nazi piece of scum being paid with our tax dollars and living high on our money. Is it not a shame that congress will not change the law so that these scum bags can no longer live high off of our tax dollars?
11 posted on 06/19/2006 3:20:34 PM PDT by YOUGOTIT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
From its ceaseless efforts to establish atheism as the official state religion and abortion as its sacrament, the ACLU has silenced untold millions of voices.

This is just one more.

12 posted on 06/19/2006 3:21:04 PM PDT by JCEccles
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

ACLU = Anti-Christian Liberals United


13 posted on 06/19/2006 3:21:08 PM PDT by JaguarXKE
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

It's time for separation of school and state. Does this type of behavior from the American Communist Lawyers Union really surprise anyone?


14 posted on 06/19/2006 3:21:20 PM PDT by MichiganConservative (Government IS the problem.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

The USA now follows the ACLU and scraps the Constitution.


15 posted on 06/19/2006 3:22:08 PM PDT by Spirited (`)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JaguarXKE

Ann said it best...They're "GODLESS"!


16 posted on 06/19/2006 3:22:42 PM PDT by gruntSGT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
She'll be on Hannity & Colmes tonight...


17 posted on 06/19/2006 3:23:03 PM PDT by pookie18 ([Hillary Rotten] Clinton Happens...as does Dr. Demento Dean, Bela Pelosi & Benedick Durbin!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

There's a reason they call it the Anti-Christian Liberals Union...


18 posted on 06/19/2006 3:23:39 PM PDT by atomicpossum (Replies must follow approved guidelines or you will be kill-filed without appeal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

If the President of the United States of America can speak about God, Faith, and even Jesus Christ, I don't see that any organization in the country can say otherwise to a school girl.


19 posted on 06/19/2006 3:26:27 PM PDT by alancarp (NASCAR: Always turning left, but can never keep up with the Liber-commis.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
[Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the ACLU of Nevada, had read the unedited version of McComb's speech and said district officials did the right thing by cutting McComb's speech short because her commentary promoted religion. "There should be no controversy here," Lichtenstein said. "It's important for people to understand that a student was given a school-sponsored forum by a school and therefore, in essence, it was a school-sponsored speech."]



This is a perfect example of a double standard. Those who scream the loudest for students' free speech rights to be respected when they advocate for causes dear to the political left are also the first to scream that students have no right to mention the name "Jesus" on school property because someone might be offended.

It disgusts me that the God-haters feel the need to ruin the reputation of those of us who are simply not religious by trying to repress the mention of God in public on the pretext that they're critically offended.
20 posted on 06/19/2006 3:33:16 PM PDT by spinestein (The Democratic Party is the reason I vote for Republicans.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: A_perfect_lady

Yes. These haughty school arbiters sitting back and just waiting for the word "Jesus" to be uttered before gasping and pulling the cord.


21 posted on 06/19/2006 3:33:54 PM PDT by jwalburg (If I have not seen as far as others, it is because of the giants standing on my shoulders.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

I like the story of the valedictorian who sneezed and all the audience said "God Bless You"


22 posted on 06/19/2006 3:36:28 PM PDT by sgtbono2002 (The fourth estate is a fifth column.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: alancarp
If the President of the United States of America can speak about God, Faith, and even Jesus Christ, I don't see that any organization in the country can say otherwise to a school girl.

It's time to stop their anti-free speech/anti-religious crusade, speak your mind anyways! They are not in any position of authority. Run roughshod right over them.

It's time to stop this nonsense!!!

24 posted on 06/19/2006 3:40:26 PM PDT by sirchtruth (Words Mean Things...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: hamhand

"The citizens need to take things like this in hand by dragging the a school officials and aclu gooners out and hanging them."

Advocating that behavior makes you as Godless as them.

Get a grip. You sound like a knight in the Ku Klux Klan


25 posted on 06/19/2006 3:47:52 PM PDT by Integrityrocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy; Clemenza; Congressman Billybob

Someone ought to prosecute the ACLU on RICO charges.


26 posted on 06/19/2006 3:50:13 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Integrityrocks

"Get a grip."

Perhaps his screen name just fits. ;)


27 posted on 06/19/2006 3:52:25 PM PDT by L98Fiero (I'm worth a million in prizes.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
These Stinkingly Humanistic Insulting Tactics (S.H.I.T) have to stop and now is too late. Let's get on it. Surly we can make as much noise as the illegals. Rise up and demand this S.H.I.T. ends. FREE SPEECH FOREVER
28 posted on 06/19/2006 3:52:35 PM PDT by Frwy (Eternity without Jesus is a hell-of-a long time.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EagleUSA

"The stinking commie left keeps attacking American faith. They fear it because it has a system of accountability in it -- ethics, morals, the concept of right versus wrong.

This flies in the face of the far left, like a silver cross in the face of a vampire..."

Have you read Godless? If not, I recommend it -- makes your point in excruciating detail...


29 posted on 06/19/2006 4:11:11 PM PDT by piytar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
Here is another 'opinion' that many stations around the country won't play.

This was presented at a Las Vegas Diamond Rio concert. They received an immediate resounding standing ovation, and continue to do so every time they perform it! "Everyone who loves America will be so thrilled to hear this song!"

Although Diamond Rio has never before done a statement song, they felt compelled to record "In God We Still Trust." But guess what? Sadly, major radio stations wouldn't play it because it was considered politically incorrect. Consequently, the song was never released to the public.

So, America, see what you think. If this offering speaks to your heart and you feel to share it with friends and loved ones, please do. Then, regard-less of our ethnic origin, let us cease being the silent majority and join together. Not as a particular political party, but as Americans! Let us voice to the media and the powers that be how we feel about having God erased from everything that is sacred to us.

(turn up your speakers)

Brittany McComb we're standing with you!

30 posted on 06/19/2006 4:12:24 PM PDT by yoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yoe
I'm an attorney, and I still don't get some of these decisions being handed down from the courts. Simply because the school is providing the forum in which she is making the statements does not make it school sponsored, unless the school is specifically asking her to include those references, which is highly unlikely.

There are a multitude of student led religious organizations throughout our public schools; Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Youth Alive, and See You at the Pole are just a few Christian organizations I am aware of. Each one of these organizations is accorded some type of aid from the school whether it be a classroom to meet, or a flag pole to gather around. The key words are STUDENT LED! I don't see this as being any different.

I once heard a Christan comedian say this: "How can someone be offended by something they don't believe in?"

Enough of my rant!

31 posted on 06/19/2006 4:26:13 PM PDT by alvindsv
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

Thinking about it, the ACLU cutting the valedictorians microphone during her speech has probably caused a greater effect, for the good, than her speech would ever have made.

I can almost guarantee that most people who heard her silenced, will laugh the next time the Democrat-ACLU alliance tells them "they are not anti-God".

Or they hear clueless newspapers spout off on how there is "no war against Christianity".


32 posted on 06/19/2006 4:37:51 PM PDT by I still care ("Remember... for it is the doom of men that they forget" - Merlin, from Excalibur)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: atomicpossum

I may be all wrong on this....but I've long had the feeling that the ACLU is primarily made up of Jews alienated from their
religion.


33 posted on 06/19/2006 4:39:00 PM PDT by markoman (The man with the rubber glove was....surprisingly gentle.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
The ACLU is not really a legitimate source for information on the difference between "proselytizing" and "religious references".

Unfortunately for them they now have a lawyer who thinks he's the Pope or something.

34 posted on 06/19/2006 5:04:19 PM PDT by muawiyah (-)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
"It's important for people to understand that a student was given a school-sponsored forum by a school and therefore, in essence, it was a school-sponsored speech."

Somehow she made it out of the publix skool system without a "school-sponsored" brain. Good for her!

I've heard a lot of Valedictorian's speeches over the years that DON'T mention God or Christ. Seems to me she's doing her part to try to make things equatable. I would have thought the ACLU would have approved of that. /sarcasm off

35 posted on 06/19/2006 5:15:13 PM PDT by zlala ("History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." -Dwight D. Eisenhower)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MichiganConservative
It's time for separation of school and state.

An organization by that very name exists in the home of FreeRepublic: Fresno, California. The founder's name is Marshall Fritz... you can find it on the internet!

Alliance for the Separation of School and State

36 posted on 06/19/2006 5:18:11 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Looks like all DU got for Fitzmas was a beat-up scooter!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: TenthAmendmentChampion

Yes, They have changed hundreds of years of tradition. Perhaps, sadly we should end graduation ceremonies at schools and host them at churches instead where our freedom to exercize our beliefs will prevail.


37 posted on 06/19/2006 8:02:55 PM PDT by sgtyork (Prove to us that you can enforce the borders first.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: FerdieMurphy
Godless liberals censor religious speech. Why are they afraid of it? It certainly can't be due to the phony excuse its a violation of the separation church and state rule. Last I heard, a valedictorian speaker is NOT a public official.

(Denny Crane: "Every one should carry a gun strapped to their waist. We need more - not less guns.")

39 posted on 06/19/2006 11:42:23 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah
The ACLU should be listed as a subversive organization.

Fat chance of that happening with the lousy congress we keep electing and sending to Washington.

Their activities are anti-American and as such should be treated as an enemy of this nation.

Local school officials to buy into a scenario like this one need to be petitioned for recall!

40 posted on 06/20/2006 4:22:26 AM PDT by FerdieMurphy (For English, Press One. (Tookie, you won the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes. Oh, too late.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy
"Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the ACLU of Nevada, had read the unedited version of McComb's speech and said district officials did the right thing by cutting McComb's speech short because her commentary promoted religion." What a bonafide lie. Her speech sis not promote religion, it reflected her persaonl feelings about her religion. The ACLU Thought Police strike again. Looks like he's in the Templke Of Doom - "Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here"
41 posted on 06/20/2006 4:33:47 AM PDT by redstatesrock
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redstatesrock
That man would have been a regional commisar if things had gone his way earlier.

Checking the trim on his beard I'd suggest he been watched.

42 posted on 06/20/2006 4:39:11 AM PDT by muawiyah (-)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: FerdieMurphy

God moves in mysterious ways. The unintended consequence of cutting this speech short is the testimony of this Christian woman reaching millions through cyberspace. I would imagine the newspaper article will be posted on many blogs, just like it has appeared on FreeRepublic. Had the speech gone uninterrupted, it probably would have been forgotten already. Perhaps this incident will plant the seeds for the ultimate downfall of the ACLU and the liberation of true free speech in this country.


43 posted on 06/20/2006 4:42:25 AM PDT by SC DOC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SC DOC

"God moves in mysterious ways. The unintended consequence of cutting this speech short is the testimony of this Christian woman reaching millions through cyberspace."

Amen. Thank you for that.


44 posted on 06/20/2006 5:57:17 AM PDT by redstatesrock
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To everyone who posted,
As you look at the posted photo of Allen, the ACLU guy, pray for his salvation...and may the power and grace of God be shown when he comes to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Nothing is impossible with God!


45 posted on 06/20/2006 3:41:07 PM PDT by freeinChrist (PRAY)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: freeinChrist

Thank You Jesus that You LIVE! I sing the AMEN to your prayer, freeinChrist.


46 posted on 06/21/2006 2:13:45 AM PDT by .30Carbine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: SC DOC
Perhaps this incident will plant the seeds for the ultimate downfall of the ACLU and the liberation of true free speech in this country.

Amen.

47 posted on 06/21/2006 2:18:47 AM PDT by .30Carbine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: .30Carbine

The school district believes the valedictorian is a representative of them. Well, Christians cannot serve two masters. This incident serves to highlight the need for Christians to abandon the state school systems.


48 posted on 06/21/2006 7:26:58 AM PDT by isthisamerica
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: yoe

Thank you.


49 posted on 06/22/2006 8:31:39 AM PDT by PreviouslyA-Lurker (...where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: PreviouslyA-Lurker

read later.


50 posted on 06/22/2006 2:01:16 PM PDT by PreviouslyA-Lurker (...where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson