What a Waste Of Time and Money

In an earlier post I mentioned that thanks to my close personal relationship with the good old almighty I am receiving instructions from the big man. He told me that I am to share the story of the foolish high school girl with you.

As she stepped to the microphone to give her commencement speech last spring, Erica Corder knew that what she was about to say might ruffle some feathers.

But the 2006 Lewis Palmer High School graduate ? one of 15 valedictorians who addressed the crowd ? didn’t believe she had a choice.

“I really felt God calling me to do this,” Corder said Thursday. “My top priority is obeying God.”

G-d told me to tell you that you’re making this up as you go along. You knew full well that you would get in trouble. He is quite angry that you’re wasting time and money to try and prosecute a losing case.

So Erica Corder thanked all the teachers, parents and peers in the crowd for their encouragement over the years.

Then, deviating from the 30-second speech that had been approved by the principal, she began speaking about “someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine.”

“His name is Jesus Christ,” Corder said. “If you don’t already know Him personally I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice He made for you …”

The approximately 30-second speech sparked an immediate controversy.

Parents and students including some of her fellow valedictorians complained that Corder had been proselytizing, and that her comments were inappropriate for the occasion. She also took heat from school officials for deviating from the pre-approved script.

Now that the moment has passed and I am back to being me I’ll insert my own commentary. This is not a typical free speech case. We could spend time talking about why public schools are not subject to the same rules as other places or why free speech is not absolute.

But the thing is that we really don’t have to go there. She knew in advance that she was going to create a problem. She knew that what she wanted to do was out of line. Call it civil disobedience, call it ignorant. The bottom line is that she knew it wasn’t approved and she did it anyway.

Now Corder is fighting back.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court this week, Corder says the Monument high school violated her rights to free speech and equal protection.

Corder’s father, Steve, said Thursday the Corders are not seeking money other than attorney fees.

This irritates me on multiple levels. As a father you should teach your children to take responsibility for their actions. This doesn’t do so. It was clear in advance that she knew that there might be consequences to her actions.

The district has a written policy titled “Student Expression Rights,” according to the lawsuit. It prohibits expression that, among other things, is disruptive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous or threatens violence. It does not specifically prohibit religious speech, the lawsuit states.

The 15 valedictorians agreed before commencement that each person would speak for 30 seconds. Two people did the introduction, while others spoke about each year of high school. Corder and another student were tabbed to conclude the speeches.

Corder said the valedictorians had only a few days to prepare their speeches before they practiced them for the principal, Mark Brewer.

She knew she wanted to honor God in her remarks, but she didn’t do so in her practice speech because she knew there was a chance Brewer would prohibit the comments, and because she didn’t think there would be enough time to work through the issue with him, she said (Emphasis mine)

You knew that there would be consequences. You knew that there would be trouble but you did it anyway. And all that happened was a little slap on the hand. You had to issue a written apology for your actions. Big deal.

Reference: Prayer in School

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26 Comments

  1. Mark September 4, 2007 at 4:39 am

    Thank god almighty – gone at last!

  2. Jack's Shack September 3, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Mike,

    The crux of the problem you have here is your unwillingness or inability to read. If you had taken just a moment to do so you would have had a different approach.

    Just for kicks I am going to spell a few things out for you. Every religion does not think that it has the one true path to G-d.

    What bothers me is when the adherents of a religion think that it is ok for them ignore the law/rules because their mythology tells them that they need to serve as missionaries.

    It bothers me when a religion specifically targets my people for conversion and tries to use religious terror as an incentive to convert.

    But if we focus on your involvement I can really sum it up with your own statement.

    I’m not going to reprint everything that I read here to please Mark.

    If you feel entitled to walk around making wild accusations you need to do more than point your finger. You better come with evidence to support your allegations.

    You do not. As the old playground saw goes, put up or shut up because right now you just come across as being ignorant and ill informed. The discussion has become ridiculous.

  3. Mark September 3, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    so tolerant, so benign.”

    “Let’s see, I think you fired the first salvo with your unfounded accusations of bigotry. Practicing tolerance isn’t an all-inclusive endeavour. I’m bigoted. I hate assholes. I have no tolerance for them. That would include you. Why should anyone tolerate your brand of “debate”?

    “I’m not going to reprint everything that I read here to please Mark.”

    Please don’t. Your bullshit stunk enough the first time around.

  4. mikem September 3, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Oh, I get it, Mark. “Get down off the cross.”
    Hee hee. Poking fun at the very heart of Christian experience, while accusing me of playing victim. Like telling a Jew to get their head out of the oven or “check yourself out of Treblinka”. Something meant to raise the blood. Aren’t you the clever one, so tolerant, so benign.

    “It is always arrogant to claim that you have the only path to G-d.”

    Yeah, OK Jack. Like every religion doesn’t think that they have found the path to God. Does your idea of arrogance apply to Jews, who call themselves the Chosen People with a special responsibilty to keep God’s law because of their special relationship with God? It’s funny how a faith based on beliefs is considered arrogant and a faith with a lot of discussion of maternal bloodline and “gentiles” is considered not so. C’mon. I’ve always thought of the idea of “the Chosen People” as a beautiful belief used to demand upon fellow Jews that they obey a rather more restrictive set of laws of behavior. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not I think that God holds certain “races”, “nations” or “bloodlines” above others (I don’t, emphatically). I respect those beliefs. But it must matter to Jack, a whole bunch, right?

    I’m not going to reprint everything that I read here to please Mark. Jack knows. That’s why he tries to excuse what he writes by saying he is attacking Christians for their “unique” sin of believing theirs is the true faith and wanting to be able to speak of it without shame.

  5. Jack's Shack September 3, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Mike,

    You have a problem with reading comprehension. You walked into my home and got upset because you didn’t like what was said..

    Too bad- don’t stick around. But just for kicks let’s dig into something

    I guess it’s not arrogant for “some Christians” to talk about their faith,

    It is always arrogant to claim that you have the only path to G-d. And in situations such as public school settings it can be against the rules and or illegal.

    Deal with it.

  6. Mark September 3, 2007 at 3:20 am

    An absolute laugh. Your reamrks and previous postings are full of snarky, condemning, insulting stuff about Christians and faith. All the insults and indignation towards me will not erase what you have posted here.”

    Naw, Mikem, you are FULL OF SHIT. Show me. Really. Go ahead. I’m waiting.

    You obviously didn’t read my first comment.

    And you are most definitely a jackass. Who happens to be a Christian. Does that make me a bigot?

    I’m fucking done with this dipshit. Get off the cross, Mikey. We need the wood.

  7. mikem September 3, 2007 at 1:55 am

    So now it’s “some Christians”.

    Funny I didn’t catch that version in your posts and comments. I guess it’s not arrogant for “some Christians” to talk about their faith, after all.

  8. Jack's Shack September 2, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    However when we’re talking about minors, parents of children in minority religions have the right to expect that their children won’t be proselytized while being sent to a school that they pay for through their taxes.

    Absolutely correct.
    The problem here is that Mikey took the discussion beyond reasonable the minute he made accusations of religious bigotry.

    Mark,

    He is unlikely to get it.

    I mean, you want to be able to express your low regard for Christians,

    Mike,

    I haven’t any problem coming right out and saying that some Christians are among the biggest jackasses I have ever met. So what. I can say the same thing about all people.

    But then again, I am inclined to be aggressive in my response to those who are arrogant enough to believe that they own the sole path to G-d. If that is offensive then so be it, I don’t lose any sleep over it.

  9. mikem September 2, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    “The problem here is that Mikey took the discussion beyond reasonable the minute he made accusations of religious bigotry.”

    An absolute laugh. Your reamrks and previous postings are full of snarky, condemning, insulting stuff about Christians and faith. All the insults and indignation towards me will not erase what you have posted here. I mean, you want to be able to express your low regard for Christians, but then you call foul when someone points it out. Grow up.

  10. Mark September 2, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    The problem here is that Mikey took the discussion beyond reasonable the minute he made accusations of religious bigotry.

    Nobody here gives a flying fuck about your religion, Mikey, as long as you aren’t trying to push it down everyone else’s throat.

    Jerks like Mikey make me want to re-evaluate my position on this and tend to agree with Jack’s assertion.

  11. Kol Ra'ash Gadol September 2, 2007 at 4:49 am

    OK, I’m not jumping into the big dick match here (not you, Jack) but I think it’s worth saying that when minors are concerned, there are often differences in the law of what is permittd and what is not permitted. IN the case of a high school (or any other) the dangers of allowing religious speech are compounded for various reasons. I will note in particular, that I attended a school in which the “chorus” teacher (middle school) was not reined in from witnessing, scheduling exams of Jewish holidays (which he would ex post facto deny were exams, despite calling them that and weighting them as exams – oh, yea, and Chorus? exams? seriously folks) and the like. He did this to me, and he was still doing it years later when my sister attended the same school. Why is it a problem? Well, he’s an adult in a position of authority, with power over minors and a position of influence.
    Okay, then, so why don’t we just worry about teachers and not students? Well, beause peers are also a significant source of authority. The job of a school is to teach cultural values as well as content, but they are supposed to stop short of religious values. This is a difficult line to walk and those borders ahve to be enforced somehow. In the case of a majority culture living with a minority culture, it becomes very problematic, as minors are particularly vulnerable to assimilation with this kind of pressure. I’m fine with adults saying whatever they like (barring the obvious fire in a crowded theatre stuff)I can take it and hand it back to them with their head on aplatter if I need to. However when we’re talking about minors, parents of children in minority religions have the right to expect that their children won’t be proselytized while being sent to a school that they pay for through their taxes.

  12. James September 2, 2007 at 3:47 am

    It is about time that someone stood up to this guy. People of faith are what make this country great. We are the reason that peopel like Jack;s Shack can say such offensive things. he should thank us.

  13. Jack's Shack September 2, 2007 at 3:41 am

    Mike,

    Christian blood is pretty sweet, but not nearly as rich as Jewish blood. And the fact is that the Christians just aren’t as pushy as the Jews, so we give them a break on that.

    But I have to say, that there is nothing more enjoyable than fighting with Gods warriors. Weak, sheeplike people who are so easily defeated.

    Are you a gynotikolobomassophile?

  14. mikem September 2, 2007 at 3:37 am

    “And you have got me, I hate religious people, especially the Jewish ones. Those guys are the worst.”

    Oh, I get it, believe me. Some of your best friends too, I bet, are religious. Just not those arrogant Christians.

    I kind of got the impression from reading an earlier post that your hatred of “arrogance” applied mostly toward Christian arrogance, but it was better to wait for you to point it out yourself.

  15. Jack's Shack September 2, 2007 at 3:31 am

    Mike,

    You have the logical skills of a rhesus monkey, except that the monkey would do more reading than you have.

    Why don’t you try and provide some substance by using fact. Try using a quote every now and then or some other way of supporting your foolish allegations.

    BTW, don’t forget to read about how I beat up Santa Claus. That fat old pedophile deserved it.

  16. mikem September 2, 2007 at 3:27 am

    Keep dancing around. Read what he claism in response to my comment. HE ties school prayer into her 30 second “offense”.
    I really wouldn’t expect a bigot or a hypocrite to admit it.
    I read some of the other posts here. This site just reeks of hatred and bigotry towards people of faith.
    It’s not that I really expected him to confront his or her own hypocrisy. (I mean, WE KNOW that he would self righteously rage against the same type comments made toward minorities, women, etc etc.
    But I hoped.

  17. Jack's Shack September 2, 2007 at 3:21 am

    Mark,

    Yes, I know. You’re right.

    Mike,

    I know, I am the bigot because I ask that the laws be followed. I know that when you do not read it is tough to understand the nuances of this situation.

    And you have got me, I hate religious people, especially the Jewish ones. Those guys are the worst.

  18. Mark September 1, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    “(And please post where she calls for everyone to join her in prayer. I think you are fudging. I didn’t see one word of that.)”

    Please point out where anyone has said that Corder asked the audience to join her in prayer. I haven’t seen one word of that.
    I think you have a reading comprehension problem, Mikey.

  19. mikem September 1, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Red herring. You ignore the point. It doesn’t matter what she may hope for. (And please post where she calls for everyone to join her in prayer. I think you are fudging. I didn’t see one word of that.)
    What matters is what she did. If that weren’t true schools would forbid anyone black who talked about black rights because some want to kill all whites (as I heard a speaker say to applause at Howard University, a medical and law school) etc.

    You are quite obviously anti-religious. How else could you speak of the “arrogance” of people acknowledging their faith or even (gasp) trying to persuade others of their views. As if they do not enjoy the same rights as others.

    Whether you like hearing it or not, you are speaking as a bigot. Your view is clearly, and unapologetically, colored by your hatred of people of faith. Imagine your angry response to someone ignorant enough to have been “dumbbfounded” that blacks think it is OK to preach of black issues to others. Hopefully, you would be outraged.

    It’s freedom *of* religion, not freedom from hearing about it.

    PS:I quoted your own words. That is fiction?

  20. Mark September 1, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    “I have addressed most, if not all of these comments on your blog.”

    I know. My comment here was left BEFORE I wrote my post about it. Apparently I’m still managing to stay ahead of you… ;o)>

    Mike – You’re not even close. A very good discussion was had at my site. Before you make blanket statements that someone is a religious bigot (I actually hate that term, it is too easily slung at anyone who even remotely criticizes another religion not their own. Come to think of it, that happens when we criticize other cultures as well. It’s called political correctness run amok) I suggest you re-read what Jack wrote here and then read what he and others had to say at my site.

  21. Jack's Shack September 1, 2007 at 4:48 pm


    The good old slippery slope (with some mind reading) paranoia. That is your problem, not hers.

    Mike,

    Read the article and you’ll see that there was no mind reading taking place. They wanted religious speech to be allowed.


    This is very intolerant and anti-free speech. Undoubtedly you would have no problem with people witnessing for all manner of causes, behavior etc. Only the religious should shut up and be silent. Is that about right?

    Mike,

    Let’s take a moment to see what we have learned. You didn’t read the article so you missed the section that identified their desire to change things so that religious speech was allowed.

    You are under the misguided impression that free speech is unlimited.

    So if I was to try and sum you up as you have done to me I would have to say that you are ignorant and lazy. Not a very impressive combination.

    But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here and ask that the next time you try to play you actually use facts instead of your own fiction.

  22. mikem September 1, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    “This is not about a speech. It is about trying to set a legal precedent for prayer in public school. I oppose that.”

    The good old slippery slope (with some mind reading) paranoia. That is your problem, not hers.

    “The arrogance of some people who think witnessing is ok is dumbfounding.”

    This is very intolerant and anti-free speech. Undoubtedly you would have no problem with people witnessing for all manner of causes, behavior etc. Only the religious should shut up and be silent. Is that about right?

    You sound like an anti-religious bigot. I hope I’m wrong, but you have all the symptoms.

  23. Jack's Shack September 1, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Mark,

    I have addressed most, if not all of these comments on your blog.

    Ham,

    In concept I could care less about who she thanks including the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    However there are a few basic things that irk me.

    1) This is not about a speech. It is about trying to set a legal precedent for prayer in public school. I oppose that. The arrogance of some people who think witnessing is ok is dumbfounding.

    2) She knew in advance that this was against the rules and willingly chose to break the rules anyway.

    3) I am willing to bet that some of the people who support her would be outraged if someone got up and thanked Allah or Budhha.

  24. Ham September 1, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    30 seconds of speech scares you that much? I don’t understand what the big deal is. She earned her right to be on the podium, why does the school have to dictate what she says?

  25. Jefe August 31, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Great comment, Mark. ITA.

  26. Mark August 31, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Flip side of the coin, Jack.

    BFD if she wanted to thank Jesus for he success in high school. If she believes that Jesus is somehow responsible, isn’t everyone else big enough to acknowledge and respect her beliefs and be happy for her and move the fuck on?

    I don’t think the lawsuit is right and it isn’t about Free Speech. It’s about everyone just stopping being so easy to be offended by a harmless word like JESUS.

    TEACH YOUR CHIlDREN TO BE TOLERANT BY BEING TOLERANT.

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