Liverpool students stood up for what they believe in

High school students are encouraged to do something about bullying. A few days ago, graduating seniors at East Liverpool High School did just that. They recited the Lord’s Prayer.

For many years, it has been a tradition for the school choir to sing the prayer during commencement ceremonies. But this year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin outfit notorious for threatening to sue schools over separation of church and state issues, intervened.

East Liverpool school officials received a letter from the foundation, claiming the parent of a student complained about the performance during last year’s graduation ceremony. Local officials were told performing the Lord’s Prayer would be a violation of the constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state.

Foundation officials also demanded that the school district inform the organization of steps taken to bar the performance from future commencement ceremonies.

The foundation has filed lawsuits in similar situations, and that prompted school officials to bow to the demand. As one board of education member noted, it could have cost the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend against a lawsuit. The choir was told to abstain from performing the Lord’s Prayer.

Of course government entities should not promote a particular religion. But often, threats such as that received in East Liverpool appear less like defenses of the Constitution than attempts to intimidate Christians.

East Liverpool seniors were not that easily bullied.

Early in their commencement ceremony Sunday, several students stood and began reciting the Lord’s Prayer. All but about half a dozen of the 125 graduating seniors joined in.

Good for them – and for classmates who stood up for their beliefs by not participating. They, too, demonstrated the courage of their convictions.

Bullying can occur in many ways. Bravo to the young men and women of East Liverpool High School for saying no to it.