By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
LOS ANGELES, USA (BosNewsLife)– A professor at the government-funded University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) has prohibited a graduating student from saying “I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” in her own graduation speech, amid a heated debate over using that name in public across the United States, BosNewsLife established Wednesday, June 3.
Christina Popa posted the proof emails on her page of the community Website Facebook. The e-mails seemed to show that while other students were permitted to have their speeches read aloud, Popa’s would only be allowed if it didn’t mention Jesus Christ.
UCLA Biology Professor Dr. Pamela Hurley censored Popa’s proposed speech, saying in en e-mail: “UCLA is a public university where the doctrine of separation of church and state is observed…” The undervisity does permit graduates “to thank God in their words of wisdom, but we also ask that they refrain from making more specific religious references of any kind,” the professor wrote.
“In this setting, even I would not personally be comfortable reading: “I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” she added. When Popa objected, Dr. Hurley threatened, “If you prefer, Christina, I can read none of what you wrote. I am very sorry that this is a problem for you.”
The censored version reads: “First, I want to thank God. I also want to thank my father who passed away three years ago, for teaching me to always do my best and thus motivating me to pursue the sciences. I want to thank my mother for supporting me in school as well as my sisters and brother for encouraging me and my friends for making college fun. I plan to work in a research lab or become a dietician.”
The professor admitted that she “understands that, because of your own faith, this is not what you would prefer, Christina. But I hope that you can be okay with the above, given all the circumstances that exist.”
Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, the former Navy Chaplain who was punished for praying publicly “in Jesus name”, but later vindicated by Congress, said that although he is “not Christina’s personal spokesman,” he “admires her courage.”
Jesus, he said, “is not an illegal word, and UCLA has no business censoring her speech, especially if they claim to celebrate ‘academic freedom.’ Instead, Dr. Hurley has terribly misapplied her own twisted idea of the separation of church and state.”
He added that, “UCLA is crossing the line of separation, not Christina, and we pray UCLA will repent of their anti-Christian discrimination.” The latest religious stand-off follows similar incidents elsewhere in the United States.
In April Georgetown University was reportedly requested by the White House to cover up its “IHS” monogram representing Jesus’ name at President Barack Obama’s speech, drawing fire from the Cardinal Newman Society and Georgetown students.
And, Christian activists were recently told they were not allowed to wear “Jesus” t-shirts in the Senate building and United States Supreme Court, conservative website World Net Daily reported.
Praying “in Jesus name” also caused several police chaplains to lose their jobs. Earlier this year the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted along party lines to kill a pro-faith bill which would have restored the rights of Virginia State Police Chaplains to pray publicly “in Jesus name.”