Superintendent Says Teen Can't Mention God In Speech Only To Have Crowd In Uproar At Her Rebellion
FaithTap Staff 5/3/2018
As a devout Christian, Moriah Bridges felt confident that God was her guiding light through her high school career. So when she was selected to give the "closing exercise" during her graduation ceremony, Moriah knew she had to thank Him. Even though she was a hard worker and excellent student, Moriah felt like God was the one to honor on that special day.
She carefully penned her speech, including a small prayer in her closing remarks. She was well aware that other students had different beliefs and didn't want to overdo it for them. Feeling proud of her balanced words and quick prayer, Moriah went to the administration for approval.
Unfortunately, the school board had other ideas...
According to Fox News, Moriah approached the Beaver Area School District superintendent and asked if she could say the following prayer at the very end of her speech:
"Lord, surround us with grace and favor everywhere we go. Soften our hearts to teach us love and compassion, to show mercy and grace to others the way that you showed mercy and grace to us, even to the ultimate sacrifice. Help us love our brothers and our sisters deeply. Lead us to bless them."
Sadly, the senior was turned down. Not only did the superintendent say no, but the Beaver High School principal got involved in her small request.
Principal Steven Wellendorf wrote Moriah a letter detailing the reasons behind the school board's decision. He claimed Moriah's prayer would leave out other religions -- but that was the last thing Moriah wanted to do! She just wanted to share God's love with everyone on the best day of their high school career.
"The selected students may still address their class and indicate the things that they wish/hope for their class, but they may not do it in the style of a prayer and most certainly may not recite a prayer that excludes other religions (by ending 'in the name of our Lord and Savior, 'Jesus Christ' or 'in the matchless name of Jesus')."
The moment Moriah received Wellendorf's letter was something she'll remember forever. Disappointment, confusion and sadness filled her soul. Why should she be forced to forfeit her own right to pray on such a special day?
Moriah told Fox News how devastating the rejection was for her at first:
"I was shocked that the school said my personal remarks broke the law and I was saddened that I could not draw upon my Christian identity to express my best wishes for my classmates on what should've been the happiest day of high school."
Instead of listening to the district's ruling, Moriah decided to rebel. She was going to thank Him one way or another! When it came time to deliver her closing remarks, Moriah bravely walked up to the podium and spoke her piece.
"I hope that we're surrounded with grace and favor everywhere we go. Let our hearts be soft to show true love and compassion, to show mercy and grace to others the way that mercy and grace were shown to us - even to the ultimate sacrifice.
Let us love our brothers and our sisters deeply. Let us be a blessing to them. Let us be selfless. Let us be righteous. Let us be successful people. But more than that, let us be good people...
I've always been a rule follower. When they said not to chew gum, I didn't chew gum. When they said not to use your cellphone, I didn't use my cellphone.
But today, in the spirit of defying expectations, and for perhaps the last time at this podium, I say in the righteous name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
Moriah's actions are the definition of teenage rebellion -- but for the best reason imaginable. We all deserve to show our faith, no matter what that may be. Moriah feels that Christianity should be no different!