No, I'd have no problem at all.
No. I'd not like it, but I wouldn't take issue with it.
Yes, I don't think a public education ceremony is the right venue.
Yes, I don't think it should be done because the crowd/state/nation is primarily Christian
Yes, because I think it's offensive
Yes, because I think it's unconstitutional
Tearing up a pre-approved valedictory address, going off on a tangent about how one is glad he was introduced "to the Lord" at an early age, and reciting a religion-specific prayer in place of the original address is innapropriate and unacceptable.
The kid really went too far.
But in my opinion his decision to go too far was a reaction to the school administration's action of forbiding any mention of faith or religion, period.
If the kid had been alllowed to thank his God, and/or his faith community and family for their role in his success, or for their support, or for providing him with the natural gifts he has that allowed him to excel, then I expect he would have done just that and used the majority of his speech to discuss all the inane things that high school valadictorians generally address.
I think the school administration really precipitated this "event" by going too far in the oposite direction.
As I said earlier, I'm agnostic, so maybe that allows me to see things from both ends when it comes to this kind of thing.
I don't like the idea of the religious jamming their ridiculous religions down the throat of a captive audience, but neither do I like the idea of a very vocal minority of atheists waging a campaign to strip others of the right to freely practice their religion and to speak about the same openly just because they get all indgnant about being exposed to the idea of religion.
When it comes to religion, what I get out of the Bill of Rights is that "government" can't unduly favor one religion over any and all others, and that it can't impose belief on anyone.
That doesn't mean that religious people are forbidden to practice to talk about their faith when they're on government property or at government sanctioned events.
If atheists think that the Bill of Rights grants them a right to never have to be exposed to religion under any circumstances I think those atheists are idiots.
When you try to take something away from people that they consider to be essential then you're going to get a little blowback as a result.
That's what happened here.
The admin thought they were going to be clever by banning all religious speech in order to placate a bunch of cry babies and it kinda blew up in their faces.
The kid was wrong for doing what he did, according to the "letter of the law" (in this case, the dictates of the school's administration) but I can't say that I wouldn't have done the same thing if I were in his place.
However, I don't see how the school could have stopped it. After all, they provided him with a podium and there are no penalties that he can really be accountable to if he chooses to do such a thing. They cannot legally withhold his diploma, he's earned that long before he stepped up on the stage. They cannot have him arrested, they cannot even apply pressure on him because he's no longer going to their school. This is an inherent problem with providing anyone a platform to speak where you cannot control what comes out of their mouth. The only way to keep it from happening again is to stop giving anyone over whom you have no influence or control a venue. Otherwise, you roll your dice and take your chances, come what may.
I understand you may not share his beliefs but his short introduction on his personal faith then recitation of a brief prayer seems far too inconsequential to be inappropriate, unacceptable, or too far. I could agree with you if he took the podium and delivered a fire and brimstone sermon antagonizing those who have different beliefs but he didn't.
What is so wrong with having to spend a few very brief minutes listening to someone who has a difference of opinion?
He was required to submit his address to the school's administration for their review/appproval, which he did.
He school approved his address, and his being the valedictory speaker, based on the speech he submitted, which abided by the rules laid down by the administration.
When he got up to the podium to give the address which had been reviewed and approved he proceded to tear it up, make a few brief comments about how important his faith was to him, then recited the Lord's Prayer, and that was it.
The way he handled the matter was underhanded.
If he disagreed with the "no religion" policy he could have opted out of giving the valedictory address at any time.
He could have just chosen not to be involved.
He could have submitted, in protest, an address that included religious material and then either removed it or accepted the fact that he would not be permitted to give an address.
He could even have offered a few comments or a prayer and then given the appproved address.
Essentially what he did was choose the least appropriate and noble path possible.
As I've made clear previously in this thread, it wouldn't matter to me if he mentioned religion or said a prayer. I have no problem at all sitting through either. It wouldn't even have mattered to me if his entire speech was about God, and how great God is, and how great his religion is, and how God is good, and how God is great, and all that.
I think all of that is nonsense, but I've sat through plenty of speeches and presentations and whatnot that were equally, if not more inane.
Like I also said earlier, there is nothing good about a commencement ceremony. They all suck, and dragging God into one isn't going to make it any worse (or any better for that matter).
But I'm also of the belief that if you accept a responsibility, and if you give your word, you keep your word and you take your responsibility seriously.
This kid gave his word not to turn the commencement into a religious event and he accepted the rresponsibility to give the address which had been approved.
I think that shirking his word and his responsibility is the act of a real piece of trash human being.
Granted, this kid was a piece of trash in God's name (Amen), but nevertheless...
Doesn't matter to me whether we're talking about a valedictorian or a teenage baby's daddy, doesn't matter whether we're talking about giving a speech in Jesus' name or fraudulently collecting an entitlement check.
We're only as good as our word, and if our word is no good then we're no good. We can only be counted on until we start reneging on the responsibilities we accept, and once we start reneging we're no good any more.
You can disagree with that if you want.
It really makes no difference to me.
I hold myself to a much, much higher standard than most of you do, even most of you who have religion.
Funny that few or none are addressing the question put forth by the OP. Maybe it was the poll itself that confused participants.