View Full Version : " Federal Judge Prohibits Any Prayer at Texas Graduation Ceremony "

06-03-2011, 12:44 AM
A federal judge has ordered a Texas school district to prohibit public prayer at a high school graduation ceremony.

Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s order against the Medina Valley Independent School District also forbids students from using specific religious words including “prayer” and “amen.”

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Christa and Danny Schultz. Their son is among those scheduled to participate in Saturday’s graduation ceremony. The judge declared that the Schultz family and their son would “suffer irreparable harm” if anyone prayed at the ceremony.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the school district is in the process of appealing the ruling, and his office has agreed to file a brief in their support.

“Part of this goes to the very heart of the unraveling of moral values in this country,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told Fox News Radio, saying the judge wanted to turn school administrators into “speech police.”

“I’ve never seen such a restriction on speech issued by a court or the government,” Abbott told Fox News Radio. “It seems like a trampling of the First Amendment rather than protecting the First Amendment.”


Partial Bio:Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery
Biographical Information:

Year Service Began:
Appointed By:
President William Clinton
Judicial Experience:

Elevated to Chief Judge on June 1, 2010
Judge, United States District Court, 1994-present
Justice, Texas Fourth Court of Appeals, 1989-1994
Judge, 150th District Court, 1983-1988
Judge, County Court at Law Two, 1979-1982

06-03-2011, 09:36 AM
This article was deceptive. It tries to make it sound like the judge has just issued a gag order on all students... but, like similar cases, it only pertains to officiations of the ceremony itself - students are free to utter any prayers they like, or speak of their own personal beliefs, as it should be.

“These students, and all other persons scheduled to speak during the graduation ceremony, shall be instructed not to present a prayer, to wit, they shall be instructed that they may not ask audience members to “stand,” “join in prayer,” or “bow their heads,” they may not end their remarks with “amen” or “in [a deity’s name] we pray,” and they shall not otherwise deliver a message that would commonly be understood to be a prayer, nor use the word “prayer” unless it is used in the student’s expression of the student’s personal belief, as opposed to encouraging others who may not believe in the concept of prayer to join in and believe the same concept.”

“The students may in stating their own personal beliefs speak through conduct such as kneeling to face Mecca, the wearing of a yarmulke or hijab or making the sign of the cross.”