Students at one Ohio high school didn’t take kindly to a ban on prayer during graduation ceremonies and rather than kowtow to demands from administrators – who were facing threats of lawsuits based on separation of church and state arguments – they launched into the Lord’s Prayer anyway.
East Liverpool High School maintained a tradition for 70 years of singing the Lord’s Prayer at each and every graduation ceremony. But this year, administrators received a threat of a lawsuit from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which argued the choir couldn’t go forth with the prayerful song because it violated what they argued was the Constitution’s guaranteed separation of church and state, the Independent Journal reported.
Larry Walton, president of the local school board, said members agreed to cave.
“We said, “OK, we just won’t do it anymore,'” he said. “It was a decision made because we don’t have a lot of money and we’d rather hire teachers than pay lawyers. It’s a war we can’t win.”
But 2016 class vice president Cami Post didn’t agree, and neither did many of her fellow classmates.
“I know a lot of my student body was uncomfortable with it, just because it is tradition to have prayer at our school,” she said, the Independent Journal reported. “We’re really big at traditions at this school and I think it would’ve been nice to have the same as my brother had whenever he graduated.”
So Post, along with her senior classmates, agreed to go forth with the prayer, regardless of the FFRF’s threat and school board’s decision.
Valedictorian Jonathan Montgomery took the stage, raised his arms, and led the entire class into reciting the Lord’s Prayer. And the response so far?
The crowd erupted in applause, and the school board announced it would reconsider how to appease both the FFRF and those who want to honor the religious tradition of East Liverpool in the coming years, the news outlet reported.