In the face of audience disapproval, Eric Workman — the Greenwood (Indiana) High School Class of 2010 valedictorian — delivered a brave speech lauding science, logic, reason and the separation of church and state. He, with the ACLU’s help, sued when his public school’s administrators decided to put the decision of whether or not to include a graduation ceremony prayer up to a vote. Read the entire transcript of Workman’s speeech here. Here’s an excerpt:
In September of last year, our remarkably doltish administration called upon us all to vote in deciding whether or not we wanted the Constitution of the United States to be flagrantly violated. Understanding the law and knowing right from wrong, I vehemently opposed such an atrocious act from ever taking place. However, my one voice and the voices of others were shouted-down by most of you. Our rights and the law were disregarded. You see, subjecting government-endorsed prayer to a majority rule is, in and of itself, unconstitutional, let alone the government approbation of said prayer. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson is quoted as having said, “All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in [most] cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate [them] would be oppression.”
Students like Workman give me hope.
And to the folks who disapprove of Workman’s laudable efforts: You cannot be a patriot and support the union of church and state. Our secular country was founded on the separation of church and state, which protects the most religious among us.