The valedictorian of a high school in Michigan claims her principal prevented her from including comments about her belief in Jesus Christ during her graduation speech in June, it has been revealed.
The conservative legal nonprofit First Liberty has sent a letter on behalf of Hillsdale High School senior Elizabeth Turner to principal Amy Goldsmith demanding that she agrees to let the teen ‘express her private religious beliefs’ by Friday.
The letter claims Goldsmith engaged in ‘unconstitutional censorship’ when she allegedly commented when editing the speech that Turner was ‘representing the school’ – and so would violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
First Liberty argues in the letter that Turner’s speech is not subject to the Establishment Clause because it constitutes private speech, not government speech – and so she should be allowed to give her speech as written in her first draft.
‘Ms. Turner’s statements do not transform into government speech simply because they are delivered in a public setting or to a public audience,’ the letter reads.
The law group attached evidence exhibits in the letter, including a screenshot of the first draft of Turner’s speech at issue.
‘For me, my future hope is found in my relationship with Christ. By trusting in Him and choosing to live a life dedicated to bringing His kingdom glory, I can be confident that I am living a life with purpose and meaning,’ Turner wrote.
‘My identity is found by what God says and who I want to become is laid out in Scripture. Whether we want to admit it or not, not one of us can be certain of how our lives will unfold, but we do know that trials will come.’
She continued: ‘The reality of this is that we face an unpredictable future, and while we are making all these plans to prepare, ultimately none of us are promised tomorrow, making it all the more important to make today count.’
The screenshot of the speech, which was edited using track changes features in Google Docs, also shows the alleged comments from the principal.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Adam Schrader