During a commencement speech at Lebanon (Missouri) High School on May 23rd, Principal Kevin Lowery urged his graduating students to remember that “God is still important,” even though prayer has been banned from high school graduations.
Principal Lowery opened his speech with the famous sentence from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” He remarked that “This passage has come to represent a moral standard to which the United States should always strive. And even though God is reflected in the very fabric of our nation, we are told that it is inappropriate and even illegal to mention God at high school graduations, let alone say a prayer.”
Lowery opted to observe a moment of silence rather than risk being “politically incorrect” by leading the room in prayer. Yet after the silence, he offered the gathering his thoughts during that moment: “I gave thanks to God for these great students, their parents, their teachers, and for this community.”
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The crowd erupted in cheers and applause from those who understood how the high school principal had just circumvented the prohibition on graduation prayer.
At least one prominent atheist contacted the district to lodge a complaint after learning about Lowery’s speech at the Cowan Civic Center in Lebanon. Yet many more people have expressed appreciation for the principal’s boldness to stand up for his beliefs.