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Denied a Diploma for Calling Jesus Christ ‘The Way’?

Denied a Diploma for Calling Jesus Christ ‘The Way’?

Meet Micah Price, the high school senior from Campbell County, Kentucky, who late last month was almost denied his diploma for giving Jesus Christ a shout-out during an off-script commencement speech.

Footage of Micah’s speech began circulating on social media last week.

“Class, before another word leaves my mouth, I must give the honor, the praise and the glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he said to the cheering applause of his classmates.

Micah has since explained that he was given permission to express as much by high school leadership. What they didn’t approve was the next part:

… Who in his very words tells us he is the light, he is the way, the truth and the life. Class, everyone in the audience today, I’m here to tell you that if you don’t have any of those things in your life, if you can’t seem to find the answer, then my Lord and Savior is your answer. He will give you the truth, give you the way, and give you the life.

While the crowd expressed enthusiasm for Micah’s additional remarks, not so the school’s principals.

In a TikTok video posted several days after the event, Micah revealed that he had not received his diploma at the graduation ceremony and that he had been told by a school principal he would have to go in front of the school board first and explain his actions.

“If anyone’s in the wrong, it’s me,” Micah conceded in the self-recorded clip. “I went against school policy, school rules. I went against that because I serve a higher power—because I serve Christ.”

“My message was not to be disrespectful,” he continued. “It was not to do anything except for express my love for Christ and how much he’s changed my life.”

Local 12 (WKRC-TV) out of Cincinnati has since reported that “Five days after graduation, Price sat down with his principals to explain why he veered from his approved graduation speech to give his classmates a lesson about God” and that Price has now been granted his diploma.

Micah told the station it is “an answered prayer” to finally hold his high school diploma in his hands.

However, he did not back down from his message, saying, “I would do it again times two.”

The place of faith in American public schools—the Christian faith in particular—is one of the “culture war” issues of yesteryear that was effectively lost by its proponents and has since been more or less abandoned, with the exception of occasional brave individuals like Micah.

A long succession of Supreme Court cases spelt its slow demise.

Official school prayers were abolished thanks to Engel v. Vitale (1962). A year later, Abington School District v. Schempp (1963) declared Bible readings in public schools unconstitutional.

The posting of the Ten Commandments in classrooms was challenged and restricted in public schools in Stone v. Graham (1980), a Supreme Court case that centered on a statute in Micah Price’s home state of Kentucky.

Prayers by religious leaders at graduation ceremonies were ruled unconstitutional by Lee v. Weisman (1992). Soon afterward, prayers led by students at school events suffered the same fate under Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000).

While religious symbols in schools, religious instruction during school hours, and the promotion of religious beliefs in public schools have not been subject to specific Supreme Court rulings, they are often practically dealt with in the way Micah Price experienced firsthand.

Indeed, Campbell County Schools Superintendent Shelli Wilson explained to Local 12 that “off-program choices such as speech, signs, and caps in support of any cause or religion, injecting inappropriate language, or political election statements” would not be tolerated at the graduation ceremony.

When asked why, she provided no further comment.

While American courts and progressive activists have successfully expunged the nation’s majority religion from its own taxpayer-funded school system, arguably, they have failed to remove faith entirely.

As critics of wokeness have argued convincingly for several years, wokeness has taken on many of the trappings of religious faith and is now highly influential in public schools across the country.

I would argue that this is the fruit of the secular neutrality myth. By our very nature, we humans will always seek transcendent meaning and values. When we remove one religion from the public square—including public schools—another belief system will inevitably rush in to fill the void.

As I recently heard it suggested, murders were far less common in American schools when the Ten Commandments were proudly displayed. Today, it seems, ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ has been replaced with ‘Thou Shalt Not Speak the Name of God.”

What are your thoughts? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Image credit: Pexels

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Kurt Mahlburg
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8 Comments

  • Avatar
    Barbara P.
    June 5, 2024, 11:50 am

    I am disappointed in Intellectual Takeout for your clickbait title. You needed to be a bit more careful. This young man broke the rules and didn't do what he said he would do. Do you agree with this? What if the Valedictorian next year is a Muslim? Will you also champion his right to go off script? Also, as the former head secretary of a large High School, nobody receives their diploma at Graduation. Don't make it sound like he was being punished.

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    • Avatar
      Scott R Graze@Barbara P.
      June 5, 2024, 3:01 pm

      LOL, Like a Muslim student would be censored. His whole point is the hostility to Christianity in particular in our society. The rule the kid broke shouldn't BE a rule. the 1st Amendment says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. The kid isn't a congress and can make no laws. Rules such as what he broke are, as the author said, used to remove religion (but truthfully only Christianity) from the public sphere.

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    • Avatar
      Tionico@Barbara P.
      June 6, 2024, 2:11 am

      Oh but he WAS punished. How many had to endure a Command Performance wherein he had to "splain yo'sewf"? Seems to me if he was the one selected to get up and speak, he is rusted. WHY then did he even have a script from which he must not deviate, and when he DID deviate, was called on the carpet for his "off script excursion"? Graduating high school it would seem the chap is essentially a responsible adult. WHY then could he not be trusted to speak freely?

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  • Avatar
    Brad
    June 5, 2024, 4:53 pm

    Who decides what is “religion“, and what is not? Our government? If then, the government makes that rule, are they not an autocracy by definition? Who is it that the people serve? Themselves in liberty, or the rulers, who looked down on us?

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    • Avatar
      Tionico@Brad
      June 6, 2024, 2:15 am

      Da Gummit cannot make that call. By so doing they would be ESTABLISHING a religion, by defining and "allowing" it. Naughty naughty, mustn't do……

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  • Avatar
    Rosemary L Carlson
    June 6, 2024, 6:54 pm

    I agree; when the once dominant faith is removed from the public square, another takes its place, and wokeness certainly has the trappings of religion.

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  • Avatar
    Jay
    June 6, 2024, 7:15 pm

    Wisdom comes from God.
    Education comes from the government

    REPLY
  • Avatar
    Toryhere
    June 13, 2024, 2:34 am

    I would argue that DEI and Critical Race Theory are religions. It follows that under Supreme COurt precedent public schools cannot allow any mention within their walls of DEI or CRT .

    REPLY

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