Silenced Christian Appeals to High Court

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A former Virginia student who was silenced after referencing God in her high school graduation speech could see her case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Rutherford Institute filed an appeal on behalf of Brittany McComb, Monday, after her lawsuit against Foothill High School officials was dismissed last week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

McCoy was one of three valedictorians chosen based on their grades to speak at the school's 2006 commencement ceremony. In her speech, McCoy talked about the emptiness she'd felt despite her success in school, then strayed from her approved script to talk about how Jesus had filled that void in her life.

McCoy's microphone was shut off mid-sentence as she said, "God's love is so great that he gave up..."

McCoy, now a student at Oxford University, continued speaking despite no sound, while students cheered in the background. The microphone was not turned back on until McCoy walked away from the podium and a school official stepped up to introduce the next speaker.  Watch McCoy's speech here.

Students continued to boo in response to the censorship, but McCoy was not allowed to finish her speech.

"This is a very important free speech case that will affect the rights of all persons across America," said John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "If government officials can extinguish speech by turning off microphones at public assemblies, then none of us will have any rights."

Foothill High gave the valedictorians recommendations for what to talk about during their speeches, but no guidelines were set on mentioning religion, according to The Rutherford Institute.

The group also says drafts of McCoy's speech were censored by deleting Bible scriptures and any references to "the Lord" or "Christ."

Whitehead says the case is an example of the "politically correct culture" today that silences Christians so not to offend others.

Sources: The Rutherford Institute, OneNewsNow

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