Thursday, August 30, 2007

Where Have All Our Freedoms Gone?

If you have watched our American culture long enough, you are aware of an erosion of our basic freedoms. And this is true in both the private and public (government) areas of life.

Especially, if you’re a Christian.

At Christmas time you can’t ring a bell and monitor a Salvation Army collection kettle in front of certain major department stores that were once friendly, or at least neutral to the Christian holiday.

You can’t even mention the name of Jesus Christ in the land of the free.

Just ask Lewis-Palmer High School valedictorian Erica Corder.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, she graduated from the school in 2006 and was chosen to give the conclusion of a commencement speech shared by 15 valedictorians at the Tri-Lakes-area high school in May of last year.

Each valedictorian was given thirty seconds to speak at the ceremony. Corder added an evangelical comment to her speech, and what she said was;

“We are all capable of standing firm and expressing our own beliefs, which is why I need to tell you about Someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in Heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don’t already know Him personally I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice He made for you so that you now have the opportunity to live in Eternity with Him.”

(Gee, that’s really offensive, eh?)

After the speech, the school’s principal, Mark Brewer, ordered Corder’s diploma to be withheld from her and told Corder to meet with him to get her diploma. He then threatened to withhold her diploma until she apologized for her speech. Corder did not apologize for what she said, but she did agree to write a letter to explain her actions. She wrote in her letter; “I’m sorry I didn’t share my plans with Mr. Brewer or the other valedictorians ahead of time.”

Erica Corder and her parents sued the district for violating her right to freedom of speech.

The Gazette report said;

“In the lawsuit, Corder contends her First Amendment rights of free speech were violated when the district ‘refused to present her with her diploma unless she issued an apology for mentioning Jesus Christ in her graduation speech’ and also required speeches to be rehearsed. The suit also says her 14th Amendment rights to equal protection were violated, in part because district practices ‘treat religious speech differently than nonreligious speech.’”

And of course, remaining true to their cowardly, intolerant nature, people in authority at the school district, Robin Adair, district spokeswoman, Superintendent Raymond Blanch, and Board President Jes Raintree did not return phone messages that were left Wednesday evening, and Board Vice President Dee Dee Eaton deferred a call from The Gazette back to Adair.

But keep in mind that they consider themselves to be liberal and progressive.

District Spokeswoman Robin Adair sent an e-mail statement to the Associated Press stating that;

“The events that are the subject of the case occurred over a year ago, at which time a complete review of the situation was performed by the District.

Since then, representatives of the District have met on several occasions with the parents and the former student.

While we are disappointed that this matter has resulted in litigation, we are confident that all actions taken by school officials were constitutionally appropriate. As a result, we intend to vigorously defend the claims. (emphasis added)

Beyond that, it is the District's policy not to comment on pending litigation.”

Erica Corder is now nineteen years old and is a student at Wheaton College in Illinois. She said the reason for the lawsuit is because “I want to make sure the school understands what they did was wrong.”

The Corders have retained Liberty Counsel, a group that specializes in cases involving religious freedom.

To read the full news story, click here


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