Prayer and public schools
by, 29th May 2011 at 11:47 PM (231 Views)
I hadn't posted anything in forever on this website, so I spent most of the weekend trying to figure out what to talk about. What I've been doing. An update on my fanfics that have seemingly stalled forever. You know, stuff along those lines.
That was before I came across the story of Damon Fowler and his high school graduation. I'm not sure how familiar people on here are with his situation, so I'll give the background here.
Damon Fowler recently graduated from Bastrop High School in Louisiana. Now, Damon is an atheist and his high school is in a very religious area. Every year at graduation, the students say a prayer, a practice which the school sponsored, even going so far as to publish it into their programs. Now this wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that Bastrop High School is a public high school and this action violates the Constitution.
Damon went to the school and told them to not say the prayer. Organizations such as the ACLU also stood with Damon, threatening a lawsuit if the prayer happened. At first, this seemed to work just fine. The school removed the prayer and replaced it with a moment of silence, allowing everyone a chance to personally reflect in their own way.
However, when word got out that Damon was involved in getting the prayer removed from the program, he faced backlash far beyond he probably could've imagined. He was berated by his fellow students, some even threatening to jump him. One of the teachers made a comment to a newspaper how this had never been a problem before, everyone else had just let the majority do what they wished. She also remarked, and I quote, "And what’s even more sad is this is a student [Damon] who really hasn’t contributed anything to graduation or to their classmates."
The worst was yet to come as Damon found himself thrown out of his home by his parents. Yes, you read correctly. THROWN out of his home. His parents simply put his stuff out on the lawn and cut off any financial support to him. Luckily for Damon, his brother has taken him in and he will be helping to pay for his college.
But perhaps one of the more revoulting actions happened at the graduation practice and ceremony. Despite being told by the school not to say the prayer, the school's valedictorian, Laci Rae Mattice, went ahead with the prayer anyway, an action which was clearly directed at Damon for speaking out. The video to the prayer is linked below. On a side note, somebody in the crowd shouts out, "First Ammendment," supporting the prayer. However, it is pretty much common knowledge that the First Ammendment is what makes their action illegal to begin with.
Now, for those few of you on here who may have me as a friend on Facebook, you know that I identify myself as a Catholic. However, I feel like I must use that term lightly. I feel that there are many ways that religion can be good, but it should not be what a person is defined by. That's why I hate it when somebody comes out and directly states that they are a Catholic, or a Protestant, or a Jew, or a Muslim, etc. That doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is what kind of person you are.
What particular saddens me are the actions Damon's parents and the community of Bastrop. They have basically told Damon that his beliefs do not matter. They contend to be a Christian communtiy, yet their actions are very un-Christian. Unfortunately for them, there is a very good chance that thieir actions could lead to some serious consequences for the community. History is not on their side in cases like this and it is likely that, unless a settlement is reached outside of court, the school could be facing some major penalties.
However, I save my biggest hatred for this article, posted by the Christian Broadcasting Network. They attempt to make Damon seem like the villain in this situation, going so far as to make the headline: "Seniors Hold Prayer Despite Atheist's Threats." The content is particularly sickening. For that, I must give the Christian Broadcasting Network the one-finger salute. And no, it doesn't mean that Jesus is number one.
Honestly, I don't know what else to say. Damon deserves a helluva lot better than he got from this so-called Christian community and I hope that he is able to move on to better things in his future.
Video of prayer
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