Sunday, March 29, 2009

Christian valedictorian case headed for Supreme Court

Attorneys for a high school valedictorian whose microphone was turned off when she began sharing her Christian faith say they'll appeal her case to the U.S. Supreme Court.The Rutherford Institute is representing Brittany McComb, whose lawsuit against school officials was dismissed Friday by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court stated that "by preventing her from making a proselytizing graduation speech," McComb's free speech and free exercise rights were not violated, nor was her right to equal protection.In June 2006, McComb strayed from her school-approved script to tell how faith in Jesus had filled a void in her life.Her microphone was shut off in mid-sentence as she said, "God's love is so great that he gave up-gave up his only Son..." The audience responded with boos and shouts to turn it back on, and responded similarly when school officials attempted to introduce the next valedictorian speaker, saying "she deserves this chance to speak."One month later, McComb filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Foothill High (Henderson, Nevada). The school's attempts to have that original case dismissed were rejected by the U.S. District Court for Nevada in June 2007, and school officials subsequently appealed to the Ninth Circuit to have the case dismissed. The Rutherford Institute says it will now ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that school officials violated McComb's constitutional rights. "This is a very important free-speech case that will affect the rights of all persons across America," states John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, in a press release. "If government officials can extinguish speech by turning off microphones at public assemblies, then none of us will have any rights." He argues that McComb's case is another example of a "politically correct culture" that silences Christians in order not to offend those of other beliefs. "Brittany McComb worked hard to earn the right to address her classmates as valedictorian," Whitehead says on his firm's website, "and she has a constitutional right-like any other student-to freely speak about the factors that contributed to her success, whether they be a supportive family, friends, or her faith in Jesus Christ."Brittany McComb was one of three valedictorians chosen to deliver a speech at the June 2006 commencement ceremony at Foothill High School.She is currently studying at Oxford University.

Read a complete history of this case and view a video of Brittany McComb's speech
By Jodi Brown
As in the days of Noah....

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