Published On: Mon, Jul 14th, 2014

California school district says they were ‘obligated’ to censor God, Brooks Hamby’s free speech

The school district in California which attempted to silence 2014 salutatorian Brooks Hamby from mentioning God or his faith in his graduation speech is unapologetic and is now declaring they are ‘obligated’ to ban God and silence the free speech.

Brooks Hamby delivering graduation speech, including references to God and Jesus Christ  photo/screenshot YouTube

Brooks Hamby delivering graduation speech, including references to God and Jesus Christ photo/screenshot YouTube

“It is well established in the Ninth Circuit and California that a public school salutatorian has no constitutional right to lead a prayer or include sectarian or proselytizing content in his/her graduation speech,” responded the law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo on behalf of the district per a July 13 Christian News article.

“The district was legally obligated to ensure prayers and other sectarian, proseltyzing content were omitted from Mr. Hamby’s speech. … Censorship of the speech was necessary to avoid an Establishment Clause violation.”

Hamby was bold during his speech, explaining that he had submitted several drafts of his speech, each of which were rejected because of their religious content, and urged students to do what is right, even if they must stand alone.

“In coming before you today, I presented three drafts of my speech, all of them denied on account of my desire to share with you my personal thoughts and inspiration to you—my Christian faith,” he said. “In life, you will be told, ‘No.’ In life you will be told to do things that you have no desire to do. In life, you will be asked to do things that violate your conscience and desire to do what is right.”

“The advice I give to you is this: No man or woman has ever truly succeeded or been fulfilled on the account of living for others and not standing on what they knew in their heart was right or good,” Hamby declared.

The Liberty Institute says that it may take the district to court over the matter, and remains confident that Hamby had a right to speak about his Christian faith during his salutatorian speech.

“I think it should never be acceptable to silence students who mention the word God or Jesus,” Hamby told commentator Todd Starnes this week. “I know in my heart that kind of thing is not okay.”


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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.


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