Banning Prayer “In Jesus’s Name” In America?
June 3, 2011 International Christian Concern (Washington D.C.)-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Angela Hildenbrand, a valedictorian of Medina Valley High School in Castroville, Texas could be incarcerated tomorrow because of her plan to pray during her graduation speech, using words like “in Jesus’ name,” “Lord,” and “amen.”
Angela’s planned prayer came before chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery after Christa and Danny Schultz, whose son is also graduating, brought the lawsuit against her.
According to Judge Fred Biery’s order, he believes that “the plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm if the prayers are not enjoined.” He also barred the school district from using the words “invocation” and “benediction” in the graduation program. However, he will allow students to express their beliefs in conduct including “kneeling to face Mecca, the wearing of a yarmulke or hijab or making the sign of the cross.” Click here to read Judge Fred Biery’s order.
The case against Angela came on the heels of a similar case in which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Director of the Houston National Cemetery, Arleen Ocasio, attempted to prohibit Pastor Scott Rainey from praying “in Jesus’s name” during the invocation at this year’s Memorial Day ceremony. The ceremony was sponsored by a private association, the National Cemetery Council for Greater Houston.
In this case, the VA’s ban was overturned by United States District Judge Lynn N. Hughes who held that “not allowing Rainey to invoke Jesus’ name or refer to his religious beliefs will irreparably harm him.” She explained, “Limiting a person’s freedom of speech and religion is an irreparable injury. Money cannot replace the freedom he would lose.” Click here to view Judge Hughes’ order.
The trend towards barring the use of the name of Jesus during prayers started only recently. In a May 5, 1995 ruling, U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent ordered students not to pray at a high school graduation in Texas. The Judge warned the students, “Make no mistake, the court is going to have a United States marshal in attendance at the graduation. If any student offends this court, that student will be summarily arrested and will face up to six months incarceration in the Galveston County Jail for contempt of court. Anyone who thinks I’m kidding about this better think again. Anyone who violates these orders, no kidding, is going to wish that he or she had died as a child when this court gets through with it.”
Thought the first amendment should protect the freedom of speech, efforts are being made to stop Christians from praying in the name of Jesus during invocations. People are allowed to say almost anything, but when the name of Jesus is mentioned, oppositions start. America’s justice system shouldn’t be allowed to persecute Christians. America is founded on the principle of freedom of religion, and that freedom is the bedrock of the right to free speech, expression and thought.