liminate prayer from commencement

COLUMBUS, Ohio (U-WIRE) — Ohio State University announced Wednesday that the 2000 Spring Commencement will include a prayer as part of the graduation ceremony. Many students and local residents were angered by this decision, as the debate over where to draw the line between religion and education continues to gain attention all over the United States.
We disagree with OSU and feel a prayer should not be part of the graduation ceremony. OSU President William Kirwan supports the decision on the grounds that “the prayer makes no reference to the beliefs or traditions of any specific religion.” However, all prayers do make reference to religion in general, and this could violate the beliefs of those graduates who are nonreligious. OSU has committed a lot of time and energy to displaying its interest in diversity. With this interest in mind, it would be hypocritical to include prayer of any manner in the commencement ceremony, because it could offend a certain segment of OSU’s diverse population.
President of Students for Free Thought August Brunsman recommended that a moment of reflection and recognition would complement the ceremony better than a prayer. We agree and urge the university to consider implementing such a moment of silence. It would not push any religion, or even religion in general, but would allow all participants a moment to reflect or pray however they see fit, without involving other participants with different views.

This editorial originally appeared in the May 26 edition of The Lantern at Ohio State University.