Angela Hildenbrand used her 15 minutes of fame wisely—focused on prayer.
While the nation watched, the valedictorian said a prayer at Saturday's graduation ceremony at Medina Valley High School, near San Antonio.
Just a few days earlier, a federal district judge had issued a broad ruling that effectively prohibited Angela from praying or mentioning God at the school-sponsored event.
The school district, as well as Attorney General Greg Abbott and the Liberty Institute, filed emergency appeals with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn publicly decried the ruling.
At the eleventh hour—Friday afternoon—the 5th Circuit intervened and nullified the district court order, allowing Angela's prayer to go forward.
"This is a victory not only for valedictorian Angela Hildenbrand, but also for her fellow graduates and young people across the country whose rights to express themselves through prayer at graduation ceremonies were vindicated," Cornyn said after the ruling. "Today the gavel fell on the side of justice and reaffirmed the constitutional rights we hold dear."
Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of the Liberty Institute—with which CitizenLink is proudly associated, and which represented Angela—said: "This is a complete victory for religious freedom and for Angela. No citizen has the right to ask the government to bind and gag the free speech of another citizen."
Angela said she felt blessed "to be a part of this and to see God's hand through everything.
"It has been interesting to learn about the law process and to experience the media relations, but most of all a great testament to the faithfulness of our God," she told conservative blogger Sonja Harris.
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