Last week, Colorado Mesa University gave the Class of 2018 a lot more than their diplomas to celebrate. The Grand Junction campus finally decided to let Karissa Erickson quote the Bible in her speech. But not without a fight.
The controversy started a few weeks ago when Erickson, a nursing student, turned in her remarks for graduation. In them, she talks about persevering through adversity. “God always has a purpose,” she wanted to say. “I find comfort in Jesus’ words, and I pass them on to you. John 16:33. ‘These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take comfort, I have overcome the world.’”
CMU President Tim Foster apparently didn’t find comfort in Jesus’ words and ordered them scrubbed from Erickson’s address, along with any mention of God. He and his administrative team warned her of “repercussions” if she kept the text in. ” … Some people don’t appreciate those references,” they insisted.
Unfortunately for Foster, that’s not a legitimate reason for denying anyone—let alone a student—their constitutional rights. Erickson contacted our friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom who wasted no time schooling CMU on the particulars of the First Amendment.
“According to CMU officials,” ADF attorneys wrote, “the University is censoring Miss Erickson’s references to Jesus and the Bible because they might offend another student or attendee. But this reasoning flatly ignores decades of First Amendment jurisprudence. For the First Amendment exists precisely to protect controversial speech.”
Almost immediately, the university reversed course. College spokeswoman Dana Nunn said the faculty were “trying to do the right thing, but made a mistake.”
See the full story here.
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