A Victory or Hype on Graduation Prayer?

May 17, 2010

The Alliance Defense Fund -- a group that promotes the rights of religious students, among others -- on Friday issued a press release saying that it had secured for students at Mohave Community College the right to have prayers at the nursing students' graduation ceremony. The fund announced that prayers, which have been common in the ceremony, had been eliminated and were being restored because of the fund's action. In an interview, however, Michael Kearns, the president, said that the college had never banned prayer at the ceremony. He said that a university committee had designed a template for graduation ceremonies, and that the benedictions were designated (as they have been in the past) as optional, with student organizers given the right to invite someone to offer prayers. He said that the fund apparently saw that prayer was not listed as a mandatory part of the template, and took that to mean prayer was being banned. He said that for the fund to claim credit for restoring prayer to the ceremony was like claiming credit "for the sun coming up tomorrow morning."

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