An Alabama school district is under fire for holding its traditional baccalaureate graduation service, which involves prayers, Scripture readings, religious music, and a message from a preacher.
Conservative columnist Todd Starnes reports that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which is a group of atheists and agnostics who often target displays of religion in small towns, sent a letter to Opp City Schools, demanding that the school discontinue the event.
The baccalaureate service was held on May 21 and included songs like “Good, Good Father” and “O Praise the Name.” Additionally, the crowd heard Scripture readings from various local religious leaders and a sermon from the pastor of Southside Church, as well as a message from Opp High Principal Aaron Hightower.
“It is our understanding that Opp High Principal Aaron Hightower led the seniors in prayer during the service,” wrote FFRF Attorney Sam Grover in the letter to the Alabama school district.
“The district must immediately end all involvement with the baccalaureate,” the letter continued. “This means that no public school employees can be involved in further hosting, organization, planning, or coordination of the event. A graduation should be a celebration for all students, not an exercise in alienating nonreligious students with a Christian message.”
The school district has yet to respond to the FFRF’s letter.
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Publication date: June 12, 2017