The Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry

Home
About
Join / Donate
Activities
Newsletter
More

All Forums > Humanist Parenting >

Humanist Parenting

Author/DatePost
dave_c
Sep 18 2008
I'm to say a Prayer at Graduation.

Hello all.

I'm from Darlington, and have an interesting situation. I'm number three in the class, and that means that I am going to say a prayer at my high school's graduation at the end of the school year. I wrote some other (more boring) options on my blog (atheismandcoffee.blogspot.com), but i think i'm going to say a secular invocation.

It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Well, it seems that it's been done before; The Freedom from Religion Foundation has a podcast in which a woman from the ROTC says an invocation from the army (see August 16th).

Anyone have feedback or ideas of what to do? Graduation's not until June, so I have time. (And I might become number two by then anywaym, but it is good food for thought.)

-Dave

mccorquodale
Sep 19 2008
Re: I'm to say a Prayer at Graduation.

Hey Dave,

Congratulations on your high class ranking, on your cool website, and your integrity.

Could you tell us a bit more about the policy? I gather from what you're saying that the #3 student always recites a prayer. Never heard of that before. What does the #2 student do?

Is this a public school you're going to? If so, do you think there's any chance that they could be convinced to end this whole policy? (I know, that's probably a dumb question, but humor me with an answer if you could.)

-McCorquodale

haynow
Sep 19 2008
Re: I'm to say a Prayer at Graduation.

Hi Dave,

It seem that you are on the spot, having to decide how to communicate with your classmates and faculty while being loyal to your own convictions.

This is not advice; just some ideas to think about. The very meaning of "prayer" or "invocation" infers that there is a deity or something supernatural, so if it were me, I would refrain from calling it either of these even though the system has probably used these terms historically. To me, there is no such thing as a "secular invocation".

So, what can you say that communicates your hopes and best wishes for your classmates while not pretending to "pray"? What would be the reaction of your classmates and others? Is there a teacher whom you trust and feel close enough to that you could talk to?

Here's wishing you a peaceful resolution to the problem which does not violate your own integrity.

Frank H.

Herb_Silverman
Sep 19 2008
Re: I'm to say a Prayer at Graduation.

Please feel free to use or modify any portions of my invocation below.

Herb

Invocation to Charleston City Council (3-25-03)

by

Herb Silverman

Thank you for this opportunity to ďinvokeĒ a minority point of view. Each of us is a minority in some way. It might be race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, or any other trait in which we may be regarded as different. Each of us is also part of some majority. It is when we wear our majority hats that we need to be most mindful of how we treat others. We must pledge our best efforts to help one another, and to defend the rights of all of our citizens and residents.

What divides us is not so much our religious differences in this diverse country, but the degree of commitment we have to equal freedom of conscience for all people. We are gathered today, both religious and secular members of our community, with the shared belief that we must treat our fellow human beings with respect and dignity.

In this invocation, I donít ask you to close your eyes, but to keep your eyes open to the serious problems that city government can solve or improve. I donít ask you to bow your heads, but to look up at what you can accomplish by applying your considerable talents and experience to the issues that confront us.

As you work together on behalf of all who live in this city, may you draw strength and sustenance from one another through reason and compassion.

Iíd like to close in a bipartisan manner by quoting from two presidents I greatly admire óone a Republican and the other a Democrat.

First, the Republican:

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion.

Abraham Lincoln

And now, the Democrat:

Itís remarkable how much you can accomplish if you donít care who gets the credit.

Harry S. Truman

reasonwithme
Sep 20 2008
Re: I'm to say a Prayer at Graduation.

I agree with what "haynow" said....to me, there is no such thing as a secular invocation. Congrats on your grades. Do your speeches need to be proof-read? I would write something motivational (non-religious) and get it approved ahead of time. If you want to be a rebel, you can just break out the non-religious speech once you're up there...I doubt they'd cut your mic. I definitely wouldn't sacrifice your morals. Like you said, you may or may not be at number three by the end of the school year (hopefully you'll be higher)....but I'd be prepared regardless.

dave_c
Sep 21 2008
Re: I'm to say a Prayer at Graduation.

Could you tell us a bit more about the policy? I gather from what you're saying that the #3 student always recites a prayer. Never heard of that before. What does the #2 student do?

Is this a public school you're going to? If so, do you think there's any chance that they could be convinced to end this whole policy? (I know, that's probably a dumb question, but humor me with an answer if you could.)

-McCorquodale

As far as I know, it's more of a tradition than a policy. I'm sure the number 4 would want to say a prayer, as she wants to be a preacher. Yes, it's a public school... a magnet school, but nevertheless state-run.

This is not advice; just some ideas to think about. The very meaning of "prayer" or "invocation" infers that there is a deity or something supernatural, so if it were me, I would refrain from calling it either of these even though the system has probably used these terms historically. To me, there is no such thing as a "secular invocation".

I didn't think so either, until I listened to the podcast. The woman interviewed said that the dictionary definition of "invocation" said that it could invoke...well, anything.

tersse
Oct 13 2008
Re: I'm to say a Prayer at Graduation.

what i would say is dont rock the boat, remember you will most likly work along side some of the ppl there or even ask some af those atending for a job or refrence, you know your athiest but to hell with that, do you think religious ppl a truthfull all the time, i doubt it, you have no need to go shouting in front of your whole school, and probably comunity that your difrent from them, just look in the bible it wont poison you or turn you religious if your allready sure of who you are, find an acceptable passage from it that you see as positive and present it as best you can on the day in question and good luck have a good life and remember, we dont need to hold ourselves to the crackpot ideals they claim they hold themselves, its plain;ly obvious they dont, so feel no shame or guilt and do what is best for you, after all god wont damb you to hell for it will he, hahahaha, but if you upset those attending they might very well do so.

Justin
Mar 10 2009
Re: I'm to say a Prayer at Graduation.

When I am asked to "give a blessing" or "say some words" before a group of people, I generally start with, " Let us be silent."

You can say what you want after those instructions. "Let us be silent, " gets your point across without having to say "let's bow our heads."

Congratulations on your success!

Return to Humanist Parenting Forum
Return to Discussion Home

Webmaster: Alex Kasman 2016