Liberty Counsel Again Ensures Students’ Free Speech

May 16, 2017

ORLANDO – Liberty Counsel is already negotiating with a school that attempted to censor students' free speech because of religious content. Every spring, atheists and uneducated individuals seek to remove God from public school graduations. Every year, Liberty Counsel acts to ensure that prayer and religious viewpoints are not censored during these ceremonies.

Graduation prayerThis year is Liberty Counsel's fifteenth annual launch of the "Friend or Foe" Graduation Prayer Campaign. Liberty Counsel's web page offers legal memos, pocket guides for religious freedom, and even red "I WILL PRAY" wristbands that can be a reminder for students who wish to pray. This campaign seeks to protect religious viewpoints at graduation. Liberty Counsel will first educate and then, if necessary, litigate to ensure that prayer and religious viewpoints are not suppressed during graduation ceremonies and also throughout the year.

"The key is that public schools should remain neutral towards any expression of a religious view, including graduation prayer. The school is allowed to neither command nor prohibit religious language," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel was responsible for winning a precedent-setting case against the ACLU that went all the way to the Supreme Court. In Adler v. Duval County School Board, Liberty Counsel successfully defended the right of students to pray or give religious messages at graduation. The case established the legal principle that public schools are free to adopt a policy that allows students or other speakers to present secular or religious messages, including prayer, at commencement ceremonies.

"If the school allows a variety of viewpoints but bans religious viewpoints at graduation, that is hostility to religion. That school’s actions would be unconstitutional. Students do not lose their constitutional right to free speech when they step to the podium at graduation," said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.