Washington, DC – Students are buying their graduation caps and gowns, and Liberty Counsel is launching its annual “Friend or Foe” Graduation Prayer Campaign. The campaign serves to protect religious viewpoints at graduation. Liberty Counsel seeks to educate and, if necessary, litigate to ensure that prayer and religious viewpoints are not suppressed during graduation ceremonies and all through the year.
“The key to expressing any religious viewpoint in public school, including graduation prayer, is that the school should remain neutral – neither commanding nor prohibiting it,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. Liberty Counsel has published a free legal memo on graduation prayer. Students are encouraged to wear Liberty Counsel’s red “I WILL PRAY” wristbands as a reminder to pray.
Liberty Counsel has long been on the forefront of defending religious liberty in the public schools. In a precedent-setting case against the ACLU that went all the way to the Supreme Court, Adler v. Duval County School Board, Liberty Counsel won 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 permits students or other speakers to present secular or religious messages, including prayer, at commencement ceremonies.
“Students do not lose their constitutional right to free speech when they step to the podium at graduation,” Staver said. “To allow a variety of viewpoints except religious viewpoints at graduation is religious hostility and unconstitutional. While schools should not force people to pray, neither should they prohibit them from praying.”
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 legal assistance and representation on these and related topics.