I recently saw my sister-in-law graduate from medical school. I've never actually been to a college graduation before (says a lot about me, I know), and I was really surprised at how much religion was involved in the ceremony, especially considering this is not a religious school.

The first thing that bothered me was the "moment of prayer." The dean asked everyone to stand up and join him in prayer. I was bewildered and a little miffed, but I put my head down and waited for it to be over, just like I do at Christmas dinner when my mother-in-law insists on everyone saying grace.

Then there were all the speeches. Everyone mentioned religion and god. But what really bothered me, I think, was the benediction (I think that's what it was - I'm not really clear on those terms and I've since lost my program). The dean introduced three students, proudly explaining that this new tradition would take into account the trifecta of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. So three students, one from each religion, got onstage and they each said a few words of blessing or whatever for their fellow graduates. Nothing for the atheists or Buddhists or Hindus or really anyone who doesn't believe in the "One True God."

Are all graduations like this?

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My Girlfriend's graduation last month was like this, except it was only christian stuff, and like 4 redneck speakers and one really old typical ex-military guy (it seemed as if every speaker was conservative). I can't say that my experience was standard though i do live in South Carolina, where if bible thumping were a hobby it had its birth here.
Since I graduated from a private Catholic university, I really can't tell you if that's the norm.
It sounds really disturbing. Isn't it a little weird that you can have a ceremony that purports to be Christian and Islam at the same time? OK, it's not an overtly religious ceremony, but all the same, to ask for Islamic and Judeo-Christian endorsement of academic recognition does seem to put it in that bracket.
I have no idea if my own graduation had any religious symbolism as I didn't bother to attend. I wish I had, though, so I could have said how remarkable it is that so many people could continue to be hobbled by primitive belief systems yet still have enough intelligence to gain academic recognition in a non-related discipline.




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