The pastor of a Texas Baptist church said he was "disappointed" but "not ashamed" of the decision by a local school district to yank high school graduation ceremonies away from the church after 13 years.
Dr. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, released an official statement reacting to the decision of the McKinney School District to change the venue because the church refused to take down its cross for graduation ceremonies, The Dallas Morning News is reporting.
"While we are certainly disappointed the McKinney School District decided to not hold its graduations on our campus — as they have done for 13 years — we are not ashamed this happened because we would not consent to remove or cover our cross," Graham said in the statement.
"We know this decision is not a reflection on the good people of our community because it was substantially influenced by a small outside group determined to change our values in Texas by silencing free speech and restricting religious freedom," Graham said.
The school district Tuesday defended its decision, saying it was made for the kids.
"Our goal as a district is to make certain that 100 percent of the focus is on the students, and the event is about honoring our graduates," said district spokesman Cody Cunningham.
Graham on Tuesday called that decision "cowardly."
"We meet their bullying by reiterating our love and openness to our community, and especially those in the McKinney School District community — many of whom attend our services by the hundreds, every weekend," Graham said Wednesday.
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