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June 3rd, 2012
05:56 PM ET

Graduations and Invocations

At a high school in Texas, a debate is taking place involving religion and school.

The valedictorian wanted two words removed from the graduation program.  The school changed the words, but critics say it should have kept the program the way it was.

After you see the story in Monday's show, tell us what you think of the controversy.

Carl Azuz, Anchor


Filed under: News Coverage
soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. Adena

    I think that the school should have changed the script because if that school isn't supporting that religion, then some people might get offended.

    June 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Natalie

      I totally agree if schools arent supporting that religion alot of peole might get offended. And then maybe not even go to that school.

      June 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
      • Gisselle

        IF i was graduating i will still say thanks to god for letting me passed all my grade levels and for going to college and having a Carrier.

        June 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Bryce

      I think that they should not change it because of one athiest person i mean think about it that could offend God i vote that you all shouldn't change it. God would watch you all change it.

      June 5, 2012 at 7:41 am |
      • sophie

        i agreee with you its ok to have 2 words that someone doesnt agree with i mean seriously?2 word are not worth changing.

        June 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jared

      I think it is wrong to leave out god in the graduation

      June 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Gisselle

      Well is true if they dont changed that script i get offende cause am catholic and cristian.

      June 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • esmeralda

      your totally right if my teacher seas this than hi but that school seems very intresting

      August 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  2. Rose

    I think that anyone who believes god has the right of religion. The valedictorian should not say that the two words should be removed from the graduation program. It would stay the same if only the school didn't have two words changed.

    June 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Brandon

      While people have the right to religion, that doesn't mean they should force it on others. While people who are Christian don't mind, they really don't notice how invasive benediction and the "god" deal are on the schools part. Because the school is public(state), it should NOT have a thing to do with church.

      June 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
      • Bhagwat

        Abnormal this post is totaly untlaered to what I used to be looking google for, but it surely was once listed on the first page. I suppose your doing one thing right if Google likes you enough to position you at the first web page of a non related search.

        July 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Melissa

      You are right that people should have the right to believe in whatever they want, but that should go for people who don't believe in God. If someone feels uncomfortable about the graduation program, the school should change it. It was good of the valedictorian to speak up about the problem.

      June 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  3. Derek

    More things looking like obstacles in US society are waiting for getting rid of. This is one of them.

    –An audience from China

    June 3, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  4. Emily

    I believe that it would have been more fair if the graduating class got in on it. I mean to me what is two words going to make difference wise. Unless it's somebodys name, I think it doesn't matter. But the graduating class still should have helped with the decision.

    June 4, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  5. Liam

    He is right, tradition isn't always good. If he doesn't believe in god, thats his choice. We must all respect eachothers beliefs.

    June 4, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Jenral

      Abnormal this post is totaly uanlerted to what I used to be looking google for, but it surely was once listed on the first page. I suppose your doing one thing right if Google likes you enough to position you at the first web page of a non related search.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  6. tiare

    my opinion is that they really shouldnt of have changed it but at the same time it would also be a good thing to do

    June 4, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  7. celestyn

    I think see people by their religion is a bad thing. It's just an outside of personality. Everybody has something diffrent about that. Besides, like you can't judge people by their appreance, you can't prevent someone saying anything becase the perrson has some problem only to you.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • joe

      ii believe every one should have something to belive you man dude

      June 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • celestyn

        I believe people have thier own thought and no one, even thier closiest people like parents, sis and bros can't tell someone that he or she is wrong.
        Everyone has their own personaility, relision is the same thing.

        June 6, 2012 at 3:22 am |
  8. Mave

    Glad to hear the valedictorian standing up for a voice that seems very lost.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:14 am |
  9. Justin

    I respect the graduate's view that church and state should be seperated according to the constitution. Personally, I believe the removal of two words isn't so significant. Loving God isn't about saying two words; it's rather a beautiful lifestyle. If we put strong emphasis on two words, everything will just be a religious practice rather than a genuine relationship with God.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  10. Michaela

    I think that they should leave the program alone because it's two words that resemble religious beliefs,and its one person that complaint not the whole school so they shouldn't change it.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  11. Bailey

    I would change the words. If it's just two words to change then it shouldn't be a big deal and you can always change the words back next year.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  12. Belllah

    I think they should have kept the program the way it was. Even though the guy is atheist, everyone else there isn't and it's tradition. I am Jewish and if it is a tradition to say something about Jesus in the program I would have no problem with it because the majority of the people believe.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  13. Jonathan

    I believe in Christianity but im not against other religions including non religious people I have a friend who is gay and a friend who is lesbian so I think everyone is in titled to believe or dis believe I dis believe in theories so I could not say I think what he is doing is wrong so they should leave him and his family

    June 4, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  14. Josè

    I think that it was okay that they removed the phrase from the booklet, since it upsetted the student.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  15. Daniel

    I think the controversy is kind of a bad idea because people should be able to practice any religion they want.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  16. Lexie & Paige & Bailey

    I don't think they should change because, well it's a tradition!

    June 4, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  17. lauren

    I think they should have left the two words that he wanted out. If he's affended then it won't matter. It's one against a whole school they don't have to change it for one person. He shouldn't worry about it that much because it's not like they are forcing him to believe in god.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Jose

      ummm first Religon if your a muslim its a sin to marry outdise your religonthen its usually if you wear a headscarftthen its personiltaryi am just generally speaking

      July 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  18. Malachi

    I think he had the right to have it changed because school isn't church!

    June 4, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  19. Fups

    I don't think it should even matter what it says in the program because it is just words and stuff that does not matter.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  20. Griffin

    I think it should stay the same because one person doesn't make the school change because there will probably be more atheists in the future.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  21. Alex

    Just go with it it's his beliefs, and he shouldn't have to go against his beliefs.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  22. jonathan

    Dear person i do not argue with taking god out of graduation. you may want to do this but you have to think of others. you are an idiot if you think you can do that. the Lord is your saver and he is the reason you live. you mat not believe me but at lease i know that it is true.If i was you i would go with the rules.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Meg

      I like your comment! I am totally on your side! God is deffinately an awesome God, and i think everyone should just accept it whether the believe it or not!

      June 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • celestyn

      but if that rule is wrong, what will you do?
      You must change the rule if that is so wrong, dude

      June 6, 2012 at 3:25 am |
  23. andrew

    i do not agree with that atheist guy he should not take the Lord God out of the program

    June 4, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  24. Despues

    I am an atheist myself, and I believe that schools should not try to force religion onto a group of people or an individual who does not want to. Not every person in the world has a belief in a God, and not everyone believes in the same God. I believe that the guy who asked for the "religion" part to be cut out is fine, because again, not everyone believes in a God.... It's kind of like your mom is making dinner, and you don't want to eat dinner, but she forces you to when you're not hungry.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  25. Trentin

    I believe that the valedictorian should be allowed to change the two religious statements or words on their graduation program. I think this because he is atheist and he should be allowed to do whatever he wants to do with religious sayings on a little epicenter of paper.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  26. Johnny

    The separation of church and state has nothing to do with this issue. Invocation and Benediction are more of a cultural and traditional part of graduations. Look at how separation of Church and state came about originally. Please folks, let's stop destroying America one day art a time.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Paige

      haha! I like that answer

      June 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  27. Austin

    As a American citizen it is the persons right to have a freedom of religion. If he is a atheist and they want him to talk about Christianity just because it's tradition, then he has the right to say no. It's like asking a Christian to talk about Buddhism in there graduation speech.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  28. Brianna

    He's right people should have the right to say what they believe in but they should keep in mind that when you pray some people may not be of the same religions . So i think he's right at what he's doing.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  29. Jacob

    I think it was ok for the change because we have a constitution saying on the first amendment you have freedom of speach and religion

    June 4, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  30. Paige

    Separation of church and state was formaly used to keep the state from interfering with the church not the other way around. At one point congress was supplying Bibles to the schools! Before we know it they will change the pledge of alligence and remove "under God."

    June 4, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  31. Matthew

    I think that tridation is ok to Change just a religion Not a massacre if they wanted the validctorian to fell comfortable it would be ok to change

    June 4, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  32. Claudia

    I think that the kid didn't need to cause such a big deal over the matter. I think he could of dealt with the two words and gotten over it. Plus most of the people there didn't have a problem with it and what about the people who didn't agree with his religion , would they switch it back for those kids?

    June 4, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  33. Muhammad

    If it Is tradition it should stay the same

    June 4, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  34. Jackie

    I think that this Atheistic student shouldn't be able to have those words removed. They shouldn't be that much of a problem to him. I still think students should watch what they say though carefully.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  35. Rebecca

    I myself believe it was completely fair. I'm an Athiest too. It's not like they (other religious students) were restricted from including words of their belief when this was passed. If I was in the graduation program myself, I'd feel slightly uncomfortable if everyone started talking about the Bible.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • bob

      yes but those students followed the rules

      June 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  36. Mackenzie

    I know many people believe in God and are very religious, but to have someone not believe in God and them being the validvictorian I think that they the kid should just deal with it. he made a big deal about it it's just two words why can't he just get it over with. What about all the people who don't agree with him? What will they do?

    June 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  37. Ronnie

    i think he right it does say in the 1 amendment freedom of religion so i do think all students at every school should have the choice if they want to learn religion

    June 4, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • andrew

      come on man i dont care god is All powerful

      June 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  38. Alex

    I think that thhe religious part could be okay but the kid could just live with it.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  39. Alex

    Ithink that just because the student or graduate is atheist it doesn't mean that everyone can't refer to their God or beliefs because since this student is a valedictorian shouldn't he be able to handle little comments that refer to God or Allah. Think the school district meant well but I don't think that the rule or exception was needed.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  40. Lindsay

    I think that the valedictorian should be able to handle other people's beliefs in Allah or god.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  41. Patrick

    I think that this is a good idea because there are students that are a different religion. But i do think that they can talk about religion in there speeches.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  42. Nick

    I don't get why people are worried about religion in school. I strongly commend schools for bringing religion in the mix; it makes Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. feel more welcome. America was founded on Christian standards; George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, they were all Bible believers who made more than a few references to God and Jesus Christ. We have enough atheistic methods in America. It'd make religous people feel less comfortable in school.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  43. Garrett

    this student has the right to do what he did since there are so many students in a school with different religions or no religion it's not fair for the school to try and impose their religion on the students

    June 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  44. Amber

    I think that they should still let people do everything and if its trdition then its trdetion but dont let one student change the whole thing

    June 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Jeremy

      I couldn't have said it better myself!

      June 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  45. Gavin

    He may have a right to his beliefs, but the removal of those words can be seen as offensive to some people. More thought should have gone into this "problem".

    June 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  46. robert

    I don't really care because it is there problem. But just because he does not believe in god they should not change their tradition. The principal should make the disceison.

    June 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • jonathan

      Robert i do not argue with you bhyyyyyyyyy

      June 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • andrew

      i do not agree with you

      June 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  47. marquise

    the school should take whatever actions they need to solve this problem.

    June 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Melissa

      Abnormal this post is totaly ueealrtnd to what I used to be looking google for, but it surely was once listed on the first page. I suppose your doing one thing right if Google likes you enough to position you at the first web page of a non related search.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  48. casiana

    I think that taking the prayer out of a graduation is like taking air out of the lungs.
    The prayer is very essential to this special day.
    This is not only wrong, its very unconstitutional.

    June 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Alex

      Every one has their own set of beliefs. If he can't be allowed to follow his beliefs, That's unconstitutional.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  49. sabrinna

    i think that they should let people change if they want to. its wrong for them to hold back people because of their of tradition.

    June 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  50. Rutta

    I have noting to same . I think they should live it the way it is . the kid should talk about it more so they

    June 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  51. melvin

    I think he all wack up on bitterness dude! Just have the graduation as normal, if he doesnt want to pray he doesnt have to.

    June 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  52. Bob

    It is just two words. I feel Mark was overreacting. He is upset about the two words but is willing to listen to other speeches with other religious references.

    June 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  53. Kasey

    I think it's okay they changes the words. Although it's an important tradition, people need to respect the valedictorians choice of religion. People should see this and understand there are people who don't believe in god out there and calm down.

    June 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  54. Shelley

    Speaking in economical terms, I think that they would lose a lot of money if they do the same thing as Medina High-School. In this economy right now, we need to think of the school systems. If they cut out that little bit of scripture, the school system budget will take a downfall. I was also raised in a traditional family, and I think we should maybe keep the tradition for the old folk who will be at this year's graduation.

    June 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  55. ASHUNTI

    this is a bad idea it can real hurt somone really bad

    June 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  56. Chris

    I think that they should not take it out but the people who don't belife in Gods should be able to leave until that part of the graduation is over.

    June 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  57. Soof

    I think Mark was overacting! IT WAS JUST TWO WORDS!

    June 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  58. Courtany

    I think that this is quiet an interesting story but truthfully everybody has opinions and i think this is just one of those times where we should respect others opinion's and if this guy doesn't like whats being said he shouldn't have to say it so I think something good will come of this. I mean we do have the "Freedom of Speech" and yes i get its a Tradition but sometimes trying something new is a good thing!

    June 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  59. Mathieu

    I think they should change the tradition to where they don't mention anything about ANY god because this country has freedom of religion which I think that means that schools should not mention anything just about one religion.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  60. Brittany

    This country was founded by a search for religious freedom. The religion the pilgrims wanted freedom for was their Christianity. Way to many people forget that!

    Why are people using the "separation of church and state" as an excuse to eliminate any trace of religion in this country? "Separation of church and state" was actually put in place to stop one religion from ruling, and making every person follow it. It was a rule to protect the Christians from being persecuted again. Once God is eliminated from something, be it a person, a community, or a Country, that being will eventually face destruction. Our minds have twisted and destroyed that original meaning WAY to far!

    I do want to honor the valedictorian's decision to not believe in any God, but he does not have to take everyone's freedom of religion away. If he does not want to use a reference to God, fine, but if somebody does want to use the reference the should definitely be allowed to!

    June 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  61. tyler

    i think they should change it because it wrong. i don't believe in god so i don't like that they had it. i think people should keep religion out of school and ot have anything to do with it in school.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Brooke

      This whole thing is blown way out of proportion. If we change something because one person didn't like it when will it end? What if someone wanted to change the national anthom because it says God bless America. Would you say go right on ahead because ONLY ONE PERSON spoke up about it? How about a couple dozen? If one person doesn't like it they can speak their opinion, but you have to think about the other peoples' as well. If the majority want it changed than go right on ahead and if not don't. Another thing to consider is the economy now-a-days and that the school will have to pay all that money out of its own pocket to have the words changed. We just give to much to the people so it gets to the point where when one person wants someting done a certain way it gets done a certain way. I say that you can't please eveybody, and you don't like it tuff, majority rules.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  62. Brittany

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that if anyone had a different religion, other than a christian, they should be allowed to speak about their religion too. Religion is what holds the universe together, and eliminating it completely would create unimaginable problems. (More so than we already have:)

    June 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  63. andrea

    Well i think that they should keep the word but just have that one person say something else. It is not fair for the other kids that want to have the word think its important to keep it because of the tradition.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  64. Daniel

    I think they should because they have the right to protest and if they don't like it it is up to them. They're the ones who decide to go with it or against it

    June 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  65. zach

    just because hes not traditional doesn't mean he need special options and treatments. so he should do what the district says. He needs to obey by the rules

    June 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  66. Class 223

    Our class is divided:
    One half thinks sodas should be ban because they are not healthy for you, the other half of the class thinks it is a person's choice and the governemnt does not need to choose for us.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  67. Optomistic22

    I don't care. But if i did care i would say it dosen't matter because it their dessicion. Also the people who critisized it are stuck up and don't like change.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  68. Emily

    As a Christian, I personally believe in Jesus Christ, God, and the Bible, however I do not think that it is a serious issue if a student wishes to remove religious connotations from a public ceremony. I can only think of how uncomfortable I might feel if someone were to mention their personal religion or belief in a ceremony that I was apart of.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  69. Bret

    What about the the other religions? The majority of the united states is religious, this could offend them that some other belief takes priority over theirs, and some have so they created their own seperate school. I agree that religion has no place in schools but neither does the support of a lack thereof. If they cant handle TWO words then I suggest they make sperate schools.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  70. Jade.B

    Ifell if some people have that religion then thay should be aloud to express that and nor get angrey over what serten people belive in and what you beliven is all that matters.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  71. Mitchell

    I think it's a bad idea because it's the towns main religion so I think it should stay that way.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  72. Crysta

    I am graduating June 5th and nothing in the program says anything about god but it's okay because that is what makes the person is what is inside of him. To me, I kinda feel like a valedictorian but I can see he is kind of nervous. I think that it would be a great idea because that way they dont too confused

    June 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  73. Emily

    If the whole situation means that much to him its a good thing that he's standing up for what he believes in. it's a tradition at the school, but i don't think it should be required for him to say it. those two words won't change who he is so he shouldn't stress out about it.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  74. Zane

    I personally think that sometimes school religion shouldnt be counted for changes or not. Sure religion can be a big deal in the world. As a christian, I respect peoples choices of what religion they can believe in. If someone is Atheist, (sorry dont know how to spell that word) let them be what they want to be. No man or child can be judged or misguided because they dont believe in something or they are something that may offend you. So theres no reason to judge one another. It wont effect anyones gradauation. It will only effect yourself and others.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  75. Samantha

    I think that who ever is the valedictorian that should say what they want to say but, it has to be apporpriet.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  76. Brian

    This story to me is a difficult decision because i am a christian and to me he should change and not be so picky and just abide by the rules

    June 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  77. Brandon

    It's good to keep in mind that in the speeches, these people could rehearse the Bible and Quran for all anyone cares. It's just that the school should not have a prayer for a situation where there are people who don't pray/ practice religion.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  78. Matt

    If people believe in their religion they should have nobody should care what happens at graduation cause that is a time where everyone goes off on their own ways on their own lives so they should wait and discus till graduation is over.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  79. Misty

    If the class speaker really didnt care he should not have made suha big deal , causing attention to his school and the graduates , as long as they were not attacking him, forcing religion on him, He is doing the same thing , forcing something on them .

    June 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  80. ISabella

    I think it was fine, because even if you don't believe in that religon, you just ignore it.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  81. Blake

    this isnt right there is a god he is our lord and savior it could hurt other people just by saying that

    June 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  82. Cooper

    As long as it is in there speech, then it is not a big deal. BUT... if they ban it in the All speeches, it can get weird and violent at the same time.

    June 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  83. Miju

    I believe in God and I only follow him, but if that's what they want, they have the right to change it. But really, to be honest, the only religious words I've heard in speeches is about God in christianity.

    June 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  84. Katy

    I think that the val-dictorian is taking this way too far! It is only two words, and the school officials have the right to say them, according to the freedom of speech. Also, the school is not forcing anyone to believe in Christ, although they are acknowledging his presence.

    June 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  85. Aaron

    I can understand the schools concern about not offending a student.Not everyone has a religion so i can get behind this act.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  86. Ashley

    I think if a student is brave enough to stand up for their belifes and asks if something as simple as changing a few words they should do it, it's not they are asking to change the whole cerimony, it's only a few words.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  87. Jimmy

    I think that the words should be left in. It is a Christian Ccuntry and two words won't hurt anyone. If they do not believe in God then they dont have to participate.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  88. Monique

    I think everyone is entitled to their own religion. Just because one person is a Christian doesn't mean that he has to be also. it offends some people to have to talk about or believe in something that isn't what they believe in. its unfair. How would Christians feel if they had to believe in a buddhist celebration?

    June 4, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  89. Elijah

    I think that people have the right to chose wether to involve or not to involve religious practices in any cerimony.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  90. Naiomi

    They should have left the words on. Or maybe they should have voted( because obviously if those words are in the program it shows that most people in the school are religious in some way) Anyway he should have expected that. Not everyone believes god isn't real.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  91. Thomas

    I think that he was overreacting, just because there was a speech with god in it, he shouldn't go after the media to stop it.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Ashely

      cupcake8million Posted on congrats- your lnviig my dream since you won't see your family/ friends for a long tie you could go cheesy- wish you were here or on the trail again or Where in the world is (your name)? Best of luck!

      July 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  92. Ina

    By changing this high graduation program students who don't believe in God won't be offended. Bringing religion into school is against the law and the high school shouldn't risk going to court. I think that it's a great that the school is changing their traditions for students.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  93. Lisa

    By changing this high graduation program students who don't believe in God won't be offended. Bringing religion into school is against the law and the high school shouldn't risk going to court. I think that it's a great that the school is changing their traditions for students.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  94. kyle

    I think that they should have taken out the two words because if someone does have a religion and they think something is offending, hurtful, or something they don't like then they have the right to tell whoever wrote it to change it.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  95. Eliana

    I feel that just because the valedictorian says that he is just worried about the seperation of law and state, it is just an excuse to not have something said at the graduation he does not believe in. It is fine to believe in what you want, but this has been said for years and he is just causing a big commotion over something tiny, plus it might make his school lose money too.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  96. Adam

    Seperation of church and state? what is this the 1400s? If the school has a tradition 2 words will not make a big impact on the granduation, and he said he doesnt want this problem to overshadow the graduation, if people want to say something let them say it

    June 4, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  97. Carson

    we are talking about the human rights when we go agenst some thing like that.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  98. Carson

    Peolple can hve rights to spaek out of there belives and some things are best un talked about in a good time like this

    June 4, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  99. Sarah

    It should not be in the speech, because you can say what you want to, but you shouldn't have to say what you don't want to.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  100. Amanda

    I feel like its okay for the valdeictorian to have his opinions but I don't think they should have to affect anyone else. I do think that you are intitled to your religion even if other people don't belive it. You should just take that time to do something else two words shouldn't take that much time out of your life. Anyways it would affend people either way you can't make everybody happy all the time.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  101. Steven

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the student said that he just wants to support the separation of church and state as stated in the US Constitution...
    Google the US Constitution, open the document and search for separation, church, religion...any of those words..and there is nothing mentioned. I think people are misinformed about where that is stated. It is stated in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a minister..
    Wiki the letter (just Google separation of church and state and click on the blue link to the letter)
    in context, Jefferson is saying that the gov. shouldn't interfere with religious freedom, not religious involvement in the gov.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  102. Breanda

    Religion is always a touchy subject, especially when it comes to school.. And since I am a Christian and If I was in a situation like the valedictorian where I was told to say words going against my beliefs I would be pretty upset/offended.His views do make sense, but the fact that only two words brought this much attention is quite ridiculous.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  103. Merliah

    I agree, this person should not have said that. Because everyone has the right to believe in what religion they are waht they want. I think that the valedictorian shouldn't have said that, because yes it is true he has the freedom of speech and the right to say what he thinks. BUT, he does NOT have the right to offend us.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  104. Suhyun

    It is very good to change the tradition. But if that two words make this confusion, I think we should better stop it.

    -An audience from Korea-

    June 5, 2012 at 3:54 am |
  105. Rachel

    I think it really have to change because religion is students freedom, and saying words are very old traditon and we are living on new generation!

    June 5, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  106. sarah

    the school doesn't have the right to change the words be cause it's not their religion people have the right to speak let them!

    June 5, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  107. kevin

    Public school is public and does what it does for its own reasons

    June 5, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  108. Katie

    I can understand why the valedictorian would want those words removed from his program. It makes him feel uncomfortable. I still think that it wasn't that big of a deal though, and those words, religous or not, shouldn't have been removed.

    June 5, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  109. Rob

    I feel that if the valedictorian wanted the words removed they should be removed. Since he is not religious it could be taking away from his experience graduating while taking it away would not do as much harm to the religious students as it would to him if they left the words in.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  110. Alex

    I am a atheist but if some one said a prayer at a graduation would not care, if they believe in a god than that's what they believe in.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  111. Michael

    I think that he should just deal with it than having a complaint filed. He should let it be than making a stirring in the school. Let any religious group be!!!

    June 5, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  112. Delaney

    People have to think about others at events like graduations. Some people have different religions so something that you say might offend them and their beliefs. Just like those two words that the valedictorian wanted removed from the graduation program. In the constitution it states "Separation of church and state” meaning that in this case the school has no right to be able to put those two words in the graduation program in the first place.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  113. Megan

    I think they should have taken it out, if it was against or something hurtful to that specific religion. Whats two words going to change?

    June 5, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  114. Cole

    I truthfully think that it isn't necessary to take away the two words from the program, the only circumstance that they should remove words is if there was a name that didn't need to be on there.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  115. Cory

    I think that tradition is tradition, But I know it always best to advocate for yourself for what you want done and what you believe in. So for me I would say that we being US Citzens have the right to change something if we feel strong about it. I think it would've been good if the 2012 class got together and that they decided as a class rather it would be a good decision to take out the couple of words and that to me would've been fair then it would been a class decision but it hard because everyone has different beliefs so then it turns into fights so but I don't think he did any harm think he just was advocating for what he wanted done regardless if it did happen or not he did a good job for standing up for what he was believing in. But we all have our beliefs which makes things diffcult like this.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  116. Kobe

    i think they should because it is in are constitution and they should have freedom of spech.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  117. austin

    If These two words are against this mans religion they should be taken out if he requests it.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  118. Galen

    I think it is a good thing that the schools is taking the words out because i believe that there should be almost complete separation of state and religion.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  119. Reed

    In America there is a separation from church and state, this means that there can not be any forced worship or talking about religious beliefs. All so there are other religions out there other than Christianity, so if they talk about christianity they should also talk about Jewish and Islamic thing as well

    June 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  120. Evan

    Everyone has their own opinion but I do not think the school should pay any attention to changing two words that do not matter. The changing of the words doesn't add anything to the graduation so I do not see why it was changed.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  121. Dorota

    In my homeland over 90% are Christian but I've never heard of any reference to God during ceremonies in public schools. Now I think it would be a good idea.

    June 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  122. ashley h.

    this is bad why would they takje our people who dont belive in gods

    June 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  123. ashley

    leave there belifes alone

    June 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  124. Kaylee

    I think that they should'nt have taken out the words because i think that whoever was offended should have lived with it because whoever it was, was almost out of school anyway and should have lived and forgot.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  125. Mikaylah

    I think that it should be fine for the valedictorian to write about god because the teachers picked a person to write a speech for graduation. So the person wrote the speech and then was asked to take out words. Well they shouldn't pick a person to write a speech for graduation if there going to be very picky about the speech and what it has to say.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  126. Ashlie

    I think that the valedictorian was thinking right, because everyone either believes in God or doesn't, and in this case, he didn't. He could have ignored this part of the graduation ceremony tradition, but he decided to stand up for what he believed. I think that he must have had a lot of courage and that it might have been hard for him to do that if he didn't stand up for himself.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  127. Adrienne

    I dont think they should put it back in because what if alot of people have a religion and it offends them, alot of people do.Then the school could lose students and money.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  128. Faith

    I think schools should do nothing with a kids religion. The school should not change the words in graduation program because of a certain religion. In my opinion think they should just leave it all alone.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  129. Sammi

    No one should take out religon, it's not smart, even if you believe otherwise. I have a religon that some of my friends don't so we should just stick our noses out of other people's buisness. Don't Take Out RELIGON! Don't Take Out RELIGON!

    June 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  130. Samantha

    I think that if the valedictorian doesn't believe in god, than thats his fault. No one should tell him whats wrong or whats right. We all have different beliefs. So in his speech when he said that he doesn't believe in god, everyone shouldn't be ashamed. Thats his belief.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  131. Josalynne

    I think that since the valedictorian feels that strongly about changing two words in the prayers then he should be okay with changing them, but for others that don't agree with his decision should get over and not let it happen again but i still do think the two words that are gonna be changed should still have some spiritual conspiracy in them.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  132. Shannon

    I believe that the graduating valedictorian shouldn't have taken out those religious words, because after all, religion matters. In my opinion, if we didn't have our own beliefs nad religions, would there even BE America? That's why we need to consider the beliefs of others. Sure, there could be a few atheists out there, but, they shouldn't have to complain about it. It's their fault for choosing their ways, so they have no reason to protest about it. Same goes along with religion.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  133. Eliyah

    Schools are not in the wrong for associating school with religion, but believe that it can really affect the schools aura. The valedictorian is an atheist, meaning he doesn't elieve in God. But that does not exclude him from the First Amendment, which includes Freedom of Speech(1) and also Freedom of Religion(2). He was right to speak what he believed and it was well deserved since he was the valedictorian of his school.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  134. NIck

    We have Freedom of Religon. Many people have a religon. It"s not right to take out the part about god for one or a few people. The peoplewho do not belive in god just don't have to listen. Tune it out. Just enjoy their graduation.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  135. thomas

    I think mark was overreacting, just because there was two words of religion in the graduation doesn't mean he has to get the media involved.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • LILY AND BRITTNEY

      He wasn't over reacting it just bothered him and we can sympathize.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  136. zachary

    i think that they should keep the religious things because there are more students that are vary religious and it is a traditional

    June 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  137. LILY :)

    I think that they shouldve left the two words out. If it made the student uncomfortable, then its smart that he spoke up for himself. Another school in a neighboring city just spent so much money for the same case. It was smart of the school to just give in and change the two words.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Brittney :-)

      I agree with you soooooo much they,should show you're comment on the news!

      June 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  138. Athena

    I believe that the two words definitely should've been removed, because not everyone shares certain beliefs. By removing the words, they are not supporting atheism, they are just making the script neutral.

    June 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  139. Angie

    I think leaving the 2 words out is fine. Schools, in my opinion, shouldn't point to any religion in particular ever. Whether it is spoken or written down. For the over all comfort of the students everything should remain neutral. Religion shouldn't be spoken about unless its in history class or in calm individual conversations. It shouldn't be out in the open.

    June 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  140. Lily

    Everyone has the freedom of religion and speech i feel the only reason he is making it a big deal because he know he can get attention. the valedictorian is over reacting acting like a smartie pants and needs to realize tradition is tradition.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  141. Brittney :-)

    I think it was right for them to take out the words so the school wouldn't have to face the consicuence it was good that they just gave in to the teen and they didn't have to waste a lot of money,like that other school did.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  142. Murtaza

    I think the boy and his girlfriend are both responsible. First of all you don't text while driving. The girl should have used her brain, I mean seriously texting a person that's driving. Now this dude should concentrate on the road.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  143. LILY AND BRITTNEY

    LILY: I think the school was smart to give up another school spent money, and I mean a lot of money on the same case.

    BRITTNEY: same here

    P.s. heyyy carlll
    Peace out!

    June 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  144. Isaac

    I think we should have the freedom to drink and eat anything we want.I don't want people to tell me what to eat its me choice.Isn't that why America a free country?

    Ps,Carl love your jokes!

    June 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  145. Jordan

    I think the two words should be left out because those two words are like telling people what they have to believe in. If that made the student uncomfortable then it should be taken out. America is all about freedom of religion and those two words are against the rule.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  146. William

    i think he has every right to have the words removed. however some christians like my class mates oppose this and think it to be religonously stupid.(some kids call it racism which makes no sense. do you have some cents for their sense level l:)

    June 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  147. Anonymous

    I do understand this kid wanting his rights, but it's a school tradition. What difference does it make to him if the school says something about God? The school isn't telling him, "you need to be Christian because we said you should", it's just what the school has always said. I feel the same way about employees at stores saying having to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah". If someone said to me when I was buying something "Happy Hanukkah" (I'm a Christian, I celebrate Christmas), I would say "You Too!. What do I care if I don't celebrate Hanukkah or have the same beliefs? Someone wished me happiness. I just don't understand why people can't accept that.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  148. Chey

    He was valedictorian of that class. If he wanted something changed he should've had it been changed.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  149. natasha

    I think that if it's just two little words it shouldn't need to be changed. I mean yes, if it's something that he doesn't believe in then sure say something, but other people just might disagree. I honestly don't think it should matter too much to make a big deal about.

    June 7, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  150. Nate.

    I understand that we have to try to as politically correct as possible, but if it's not offending anyone and it's not a huge problem. Why Change anything?

    June 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  151. Donny

    I don't think that one Athiest person should be the reason why the school doesn't support religion, religion is a good think for a lot of people and makes them feel better and possibly more comfortable

    June 8, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  152. Angel

    I think they should have changed it. At my school, we aren't allowed to discuss religion. The two words may have offended somebody of an opposite religion. At the same time, however, somebody of that religion may have been offended when it was changed, but it's better to make it equal for everyone at a school.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  153. Mario

    I can see why we have to keep religon and school in two seperate catgoreys , but if it not effecting anyone , or offend anyone then whats is the big problem?

    June 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  154. caytie

    The crazy people in the world are the one's whp do the great things and the others are the people watching

    June 12, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  155. Kasey

    I think everyone should not overreact to the slight change in the event. It's only two words and an event like this may happen again. If you are going to honor the valedictorian than you have to be able to respect their religious beliefs. The valedictorian needs to feel comfortable with who he's speaking in front of and if he thinks they are all against him he won't want to be valedictoian.

    June 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  156. jataiveon

    the pun of the year is when the cat hit the back flip you have to belive that was cool

    June 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  157. Toby

    My family renetd a condominium at Orange Beach, Alabama for three nights. We had a wonderful time digging in the sand and watching the dolphins swimming out in the Gulf of Mexico.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:38 am |