I wouldn’t want to sit through a god-filled valedictorian speech

But telling the kid he can’t even mention how his beliefs and faith got him to that moment in his life? Do I agree with that? Soon to see.

I found the story in the Daily Mail. Kyle Gearwar gave his principal a copy of the speech he planned to deliver at his Vermont high school and was told he’d have to skip over every mention of god or rewrite the thing entirely.

Mr Blanchard defended his decision, saying public schools had to be careful about discussing religion at official events.

The First Amendment prohibits municipal, federal or state institutions from establishing one religious preference over another.

He said: ‘We are absolutely strong supporters of free speech. The federal law limits the kind of religious speech that’s permitted at a commencement at a public high school.’

But critics argued Kyle’s speech, which he reproduced in full on a Facebook page, was a personal testimony, not an act of proselytising.

Fox News provides a link to the complete speech he wound up giving plus what was ultimately edited out.

I have always dreamed of speaking about God in front of my school as the Valedictorian. This was the message God gave to me and I am not allowed to share it with you even though it my testimony, the most important change my life has ever experienced, and the one thing that I stand for no matter what.

Boo hoo. The testimony that got chopped is typical eye rolling drivel; he’s a Born-Again and a few weeks ago he got angry at people. He felt bad after that so he talked to a friend who quoted song lyrics at him, then read a religious book, prayed to Jesus a bunch, and eventually felt better. Truly a miracle happened there. Praise Jesus.

I have my own unique issues and problems, but they can include others like substance abuse, relationship problems, anger, pride, or depression. The way to escape this is through submitting to God.

There’s the proselytizing part, kids and kittens. There he is, shilling his religion as the cure for all that ails his classmates and society at large. Here he is telling them that only way to be “saved” is his way.

Well, fuck that shit and the horse that shat it.

He says it worked for him, great and terrific. We’ve heard others say the same, great and terrific. But it’s not the best way, it’s not the only way, and sometimes it might even be the worst way. Getting religion isn’t always going to be the solution. Sometimes it’s going to be the problem. Sometimes it’s just avoiding the problem.

If a person has anger issues, maybe a better idea would be to look into getting help from a professional on how to deal with that. The ability to recite a few peaceful bible verses isn’t really going to stop a person from lashing out again, is it? Plus, I think it’s worth pointing out that a lot of people dealing with “substance abuse, relationship problems, anger, pride, or depression” already believe in Jesus. How is that helping? Can anyone measure it?

Fox quotes an editorial piece from the Burlington Free Press chastising the move to stamp out the god talk.

“The school’s decision says much about how uncomfortable we all have become about discussing religion publicly,” the newspaper wrote. “We should be able to listen to others talk about their faith – those different from our own – without feeling threatened. Instead we live in a sad time when the risk of offending someone also carries the risk of being sued.”

The trouble isn’t the discussion of religion. The trouble is discussing it objectively, something devout followers of a faith are reluctant to do, or perhaps even incapable of managing. It’s more likely that some of them will want to claim this is further proof that all Christians are going to get crucified in America someday. They’ll add it to the pool of persecution “evidence” they’ve already collected, from the war on Christmas to wanting God out of the pledge. More “proof” that Christians need protection from the evil secularists that are out to get them…

Secularists aren’t always objective about religion either. I’m no hypocrite.

Gearwar, who will be attending the University of Connecticut, said he wrote the speech “for God’s glory” and said he’s been surprised by the attention it’s gotten.

Principal Blanchard said he’s worried “the public dialogue will be misconstrued.”

“I think it is a very valid topic to discuss and I’m hoping it doesn’t become misconstrued or simplified,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a simple issue.”

That’s true. It is valid, and it’s not simple. If belief in god was as far as this kind of thing ever went, stories like this would never become a big deal. He believes, she doesn’t. Let’s move on to something that matters in the world, shall we?

Only, pretty much everything that matters in the world has been co-opted and maligned by religious meddling, be it human rights issues like gay marriage, euthanasia, abortion, and birth control, all the way up to the way whole countries are run and how their foreign policies are run. It matters. Holy kaboodlydoodly, it matters!

Which is why secular and atheist groups are going to keep doing what they’re doing. The movements grow, the voices are heard. Maybe some day, one day, life won’t have to revolve around the Word anymore.

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