College Student Wins Right to Talk about Jesus and the Bible in Graduation Speech
Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.
- 2018 May 15
Relevant Magazine reports that student Karissa Erickson gave the speech last Friday at her school’s graduation ceremony. Although the university has a rule prohibiting religious content in school-related speeches, Erickson, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, appealed this rule and won.
The university had initially told Erickson that “speeches should be free of any one religious slant.” However, upon hearing of Erickson’s case, the ADF sent a letter to university officials, seeking to appeal the rule.
The school decided to grant Erickson’s request, as expressed through ADF’s letter, although some school officials still said Erickson could face “repercussion” if she chose to keep the references to Jesus and the Bible in her speech.
ADF lawyer Travis Barham commented on the school’s decision:
“We applaud the university for quickly recognizing that the First Amendment protects a graduating student’s right to mention her faith in her own speech and has never required universities to purge ceremonies of all things religious. America’s Founding Fathers regularly opened public ceremonies with prayer, and federal appeals courts have consistently ruled that universities can do the same at their graduation ceremonies.”
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Publication date: May 15, 2018