Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"He's brave!" No, no he's not - the pseudo-controversy of the valedictorian's speech.

So, there's a story going around about a high school senior who ripped up his graduation speech and recited the Lord's Prayer. And this is getting all the "Oh, he's so brave!" and other nonsense. 

Dear Christian: No, he isn't brave. And if you've commented on the story, you've likely kept spreading on some misinformation.

The backstory. The ACLU, among others, did the proper thing by requesting no prayer at school board meetings and the like. Why? Because that's a government sanctioned event for government business, and we have this little thing called separation of church and state. There is to be no preference shown to one religion over others, in other words - including none at all.

Of course, right-wing groups and Christians are spinning this as "making prayer illegal" and the like. No... it's bringing government agencies and authority to where they should legally be, thanks.

So, this young man "rips up his speech" and goes into thanking god, etc, and recites the lord's prayer. And of course we get the usual "Oh, he's so brave" and all this other crap.

No. No, he isn't. And his comments show him to be just as brainwashed as the rest of his religion.

First of all, he's a follower of the *majority* religion in this country. If he were Jewish - or, for someone I'd definitely admit was brave in this country, Muslem or Wiccan - that wouldn't be true. The last two groups are generally hated almost as much as Atheists. But no, he is Christian, probably going to the same church as most of the people in his auditorium. That does not require bravery, any more than wearing pants in public does.

Second, his "act" - and I don't doubt, mind  you, that it was precisely that - is, despite what Fox News and the right want to say - constitutionally protected. Therefore, he was not even engaging in civil disobediance, or breaking any law. Let me put this very plainly:

The school is a government representative. It cannot show preference to any religion, which includes having school-led or faculty-led prayers at games or graduations. This is forbidden by the Bill of Rights.

The student is a private individual. He is NOT speaking from a position of authority. He is NOT a representative of the school or government. He is not even speaking for his class. He is speaking for himself, period. Therefore, his right to DO so IS protected... under that same Bill of Rights.

There's no bravery there. He did nothing bold, no matter how much Fox wants to spin it. He, as a private individual, recited a creed of the majority religion in front of a crowd composed OF people primarily of that same religion. It's called "preaching to the choir." It's telling humans how great breathing air is instead of tapioca pudding.

You want brave, compare his act to that of those of the muslem girls in Afghanistan and elsewhere who *literally* risk life and limb to go to school. Did this young man risk his life to recite that prayer? No. Did he risk having acid thrown on him, harming, disfiguring, disabling or killing him? Not in the least.

Quit saying this silly young man is "brave." He's nothing of the sort. I'll say he's brave when he joins the military and faces combat, or risks a severe surgery to donate an organ or something to save another. Until then, he's got a lot to prove to earn that label.

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