STANFORD, Ky. – A high school student in Kentucky received a standing ovation during his graduation ceremony on Friday after he led attendees in prayer despite complaints from students who had sought to thwart the invocation.
Class President Jonathan Hardwick was also echoed in an “amen” after he acknowledged God from the platform.
“Thank you for helping us get here safely today, Lord,” he prayed. “And thank you for the many blessings You have given us.”
At first, the room filled with claps and cheers for Hardwick, but several seconds later, graduation attendees rose to their feet.
Prayer has been a tradition at Lincoln County High School, but this year, six students approached Principal Tim Godbey and asked him to put an end to the practice.
“This is a place for school. not a church. I feel like I’m graduating from Lincoln County High, not Lincoln County church,” student Bradley Chester, an atheist, told WKYT-TV. “I feel like you shouldn’t force your religion upon anybody. And a lot of people are saying if there are prayers at graduation, you don’t have to participate, you can sit there and not listen, close your ears. Well, one, it’s my graduation. I shouldn’t have to close my ears.”
Principal Godbey, a Christian, replied to the complaints by noting that while school officials cannot pray at public events or otherwise endorse a particular religion, the Constitution [Read the full article here: Prayer in school]