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Stephanie R. Caudle Headshot

Silence My Voice, Not My Religion

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Earlier this week I received the heartbreaking news that the small school system in North Carolina that I had been educated in had banned prayer at all 2013 high school graduations.

In an article written by the Chatham News and Record it is reported that the Chatham County superintendent had banned prayer after a national watchdog organization sent a cease and desist order threatening to sue the school system and administrators if prayer was not taken out of local ceremonies. Students across the county went into an uproar and on Friday, June 7 during graduation the students at Chatham Central High School in Bear Creek, North Carolina took a stand. During their graduation moment of silence students of the class of 2013 recited the Lord's Prayer in unison.

While this story is powerful and especially resonates with me because of my roots in the school, this act of standing for your religion is a trend sweeping the nation.

Days earlier, a Texas valedictorian speech was interrupted after he reports he began a speech centered on his relationship with Jesus: "We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs. Where our mikes won't be turned off, as I have been threatened to be," read the speech, per the Cleburne Times-Review. "Just as Jesus spoke out against the authority of the Pharisees and Saducees Who tried to silence Him, I will not have my freedom of speech taken away from me."

Just a few hundred miles away, a student in South Carolina was captured on video ripping up his pre-approved speech and reciting the Lord's prayer. It doesn't get much better than that.

What ammunition has sparked such a fire in today's American high school students? Easy. They have had their voices silenced practically their entire childhood and if you are going to silence their voices (or at least try) do not dare to try and silence anything else, especially not the one thing that has sustained them, their Christianity, their religion.

I meet so many people on a daily basis who are ashamed to even discuss religion outside of church in fear of losing their jobs or statuses' in the community. Do not get me wrong, I do not believe that people should walk outside with megaphones preaching Jesus or any religion for that matter nor do I recommend that you have to walk around with a "I Love Jesus" or "I'm A Christian" t-shirt, but what I do recommend is that you take a stand for what's right and when your religion is under file, that is the perfect time to make a stand. Now is not the time to be silent when it comes to your constitutional rights. Alexander Hamilton said it best "If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything. Don't be afraid. Make a stand. The kids are doing it and quite frankly that makes the future feel all the more promising.