Monday, June 19, 2006

Betrayal

I checked. My American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) dues are all paid and up to date. I'm ready to support this amazing group of lawyers, professors and other legal experts defend our constitutional rights.

I'm a long time supporter and some of the great fights taken on by the ACLU in defending America are legendary.

And I'm not burning my ACLU card.

But, I certainly feel betrayed not only by the ACLU's failure to defend High School Valedictorian Brittany McComb but by their actual attack on her free speech rights!

Damn! If I can't depend on the ACLU, who can I depend on?

Here's an excerpt from the story as written by Antonio Planas in the Las Vegas Review Journal. LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL LINK: CLICK HERE

She knew her speech as valedictorian of Foothill High School would be cut short, but Brittany McComb was determined to tell her fellow graduates what was on her mind and in her heart. But before she could get to the word in her speech that meant the most to her -- Christ -- her microphone went dead.

The decision to cut short McComb's commencement speech Thursday at The Orleans drew jeers from the nearly 400 graduates and their families that went on for several minutes.

However, Clark County School District officials and an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that cutting McComb's mic was the right call. Graduation ceremonies are school-sponsored events, a stance supported by federal court rulings, and as such may include religious references but not proselytizing, they said.

They said McComb's speech amounted to proselytizing and that her commentary could have been perceived as school-sponsored.

Before she delivered her commencement speech, McComb met with Foothill administrators, who edited her remarks. It's standard district practice to have graduation speeches vetted before they are read publicly.

School officials removed from McComb's speech some biblical references and the only reference to Christ. But even though administrators warned McComb that her speech would get cut short if she deviated from the language approved by the school, she said it all boiled down to her fundamental right to free speech.

That's why, for what she said was the first time in her life, the valedictorian who graduated with a 4.7 GPA rebelled against authority.

"I went through four years of school at Foothill and they taught me logic and they taught me freedom of speech," McComb said. "God's the biggest part of my life. Just like other valedictorian's thank their parents, I wanted to thank my lord and savior."

In the 750-word unedited version of McComb's speech, she made two references to the lord, nine mentions of God and one mention of Christ.

File this one under "Speaking Truth to Power" but don't expect any support from the glitterari over at The Huffington Post. They used up their entire quota of commencement speaker defense on Jean Sara Rohe. LINK: CLICK HERE

Besides how could Huffington ever side with anyone named Brittany?

But I digress (again). The key here is that Brittany didn't cross any line. She didn't even come close to any line. She gave a heart felt 750 word commencement speech. If we really wanted to know what made this valedictorian tick, we were denied the chance.

My god!! Oh, wait that is the problem.....

Even though 99% of her high school football team gave credit to God after each football game, that was for sports. God forbid God should get credit for academic success. We're just too smart for that.

But the real tragedy is that the ACLU is so very wrong on this one. They are normally strong defenders of Student free speech. Check out the ACLU FREE STUDENT SPEECH LINK: CLICK HERE

Just this month the ACLU has won a major victory in West Palm Beach, Florida. The successfully struck down a law requiring students to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

In Holland, Ohio they defended the free speech rights of a student to publish a parody of a school administrator on MySpace.com.

And let's not overlook their much heralded fight to allow 5 to 8 year olds were message t-shirts to school that say "Latinos Forever." All of Richmond, Virginia feels safer because of the ACLU intervention.

So why did the ACLU fail to defend and actually attack Brittany McComb?

If only she had refused to recite the Pledge and attacked the school administrators (and John McCain) while wearing her "Latino's Forever" t-shirt, I'll bet the ACLU would have been there for her.

2 comments:

Mary said...

It's good to see that even an ACLU supporter gets how wrong this infringement of McComb's right to free speech was.

Perhaps you should send your post to the ACLU.

They should hear from members.

Andy said...

Perhaps the problem is that the ACLU has evolved to the position that everyone EXCEPT CHRISTIANS should be able to advocate their choice of lifestyle. That theory would account for their position with regard to the Boy Scouts as well.