Though University officials had set a requirement that students keep religious references out of school-related speeches, a Colorado Mesa University student succeeded in her fight to mention Jesus and the Bible in her graduation speech at the school’s ceremony last Friday.
The switch came through an appeal from the Alliance Defending Freedom, who filed a letter with the school after hearing of the censorship facing student Karissa Erickson. University officials had asked Erickson to remove a Bible verse and a reference to Jesus from her speech saying, “speeches should be free of any one religious slant,” citing the First Amendment.
The ADF wrote Colorado Mesa a letter, and the school agreed to remove the requirement last week despite some officials threatening Erickson with “repercussion” should she keep the reference.
“We applaud the university for quickly recognizing that the First Amendment protects a graduating student’s right to mention her faith in her own speech and has never required universities to purge ceremonies of all things religious,” said ADF lawyer Travis Barham in a statement. “America’s Founding Fathers regularly opened public ceremonies with prayer, and federal appeals courts have consistently ruled that universities can do the same at their graduation ceremonies.” (h/t Gazette)