Thursday, September 28, 2023
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High Court Turns Down Religious Speech Appeal

(CN) - The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the appeal of a former Nevada high-school valedictorian who claimed school officials violated her First Amendment rights by cutting off her microphone when she mentioned Jesus' crucifixion.

Officials at Foothill High School told Brittany McComb to edit parts of her graduation speech to remove proselytizing religious speech, including references to God's plan for salvation.

McComb agreed to revise her speech, but strayed from the approved version on graduation day in 2006.

School officials cut her microphone as she began to say, "God's love is so great that he gave up His only son to an excruciating death on a cross so His blood would cover all our shortcomings and our relationship with Him could be restored," according to attorneys for the school.

The 9th Circuit dismissed McComb's lawsuit against school officials in a two-page order in March.

McComb appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that "student-initiated, student-composed religious speech at high school graduation ceremonies does not violate the Establishment clause, and that censoring such speech violates the Free Speech clause."

Her attorneys added that the school censored McComb's speech, but allowed other students to talk about God.

The school's attorneys pointed out in their opposition that McComb had been permitted to talk about her own religious beliefs; she just wasn't supposed to proselytize, because it "would have run afoul of the Establishment Clause."

Without comment, the Supreme Court let the 9th Circuit decision stand.

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