One Pennsylvania high school graduate defied the alleged orders of her school’s administrators, referring to “Jesus Christ” after she claims she was told to scrub any reference to God from her commencement speech earlier this month.
According to the First Liberty Institute, the conservative law firm representing Moriah Bridges, the student was told by Superintendent Dr. Carrie Rowe that she had to “remove all religious references” from the text of her commencement speech, Faithwire News reported.
First Liberty sent a letter to the Beaver Area School District in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, claiming Rowe infringed on Bridges’ constitutional rights by restricting her speech, which she delivered on June 2.
Bridges’ address was originally in the form of a prayer, in which she would have referred to God as her “Heavenly Father” and “Lord.” But when Bridges received the order from Rowe, she decided to change her address quite a bit, and the new version took some guts to deliver.
At the start of her speech, the Christian student informed attendees she was not allowed to pray from the commencement stage. Bridges then proceeded to deliver a speech similar to her original plan, but she scrubbed her earlier references to her “Lord” and “Heavenly Father,” according to a video of the speech provided by First Liberty.
She expressed thanks for the “blessings” she and her fellow classmates experienced at Beaver High School and thanked her parents and her many teachers, coaches, and mentors for their contributions over the years. But it was a moment of defiance at the end of Bridges’ speech that garnered loud applause from the parents, friends, and fellow graduates gathered at the ceremony.
“I’ve always been a rule follower,” said Bridges, the senior class president. “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.”