Lee County

Prayer rally held to protest request from ACLU

Thomas Walker prayer rally

EWING, Va. - Thomas Walker High School seniors will graduate this Friday, but for the first time since the school opened in 1940, it may be forced to part with a tradition.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the song "Til We Meet Again at Jesus' Feet" violates the First Amendment when sung at a school function.

On Wednesday, religious leaders in the community held a rally in response to the ACLU's letter. The people of western Lee County believe they can get the ACLU to change its position with petitions and support from their churches.

George Sowels from Souls Harbor Pentecostal Church led the rally and prayer service.

The rally got the community out to show its support for the students at the high school. Sowels says the big turnout shows how concerned people are about omitting the song from Friday's graduation. "They're eliminating Jesus. The ACLU, which I call the 'Anti-Christian Liberal Union,' is trying to make the citizens take Jesus out of the school, out of the system, and the Ten Commandments are nothing but good, moral words to live by," said Sowels.

Those good morals are something eighth-grade student Brandon Campbell takes very seriously. "It's really been making us stronger to be truthful," said Campbell. "Stronger in God. Making us stand up for what we believe in. Before this happened, we were still strong in the Lord, but I believe this has just come here to make us stronger."

Wednesday's service gave people in the Town of Ewing a chance to speak freely and show how important their faith is to them.

Resident Sherry Buttry says they'll need support from the entire community if they want to see a change. "I would like to challenge every church in this country to stand up for these kids," said Buttry. "It would mean a lot to them. We need to do something about this."

Seniors at the school plan to do something about it. After they're pronounced high school graduates on Friday, they tell us they'll link arms and start singing.

In addition to the ACLU asking the song to be removed, the school has also taken down the plaque of the Ten Commandments at the request of the ACLU.

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