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Boy stripped of prize because speech mentions harm caused by religion

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In Florida, a 5th grade boy was stripped of a blue ribbon prize he won for giving a speech because the speech discussed the historical fact that people have often used religion to justify mass murder.

NBC reports Zachary Golob-Drake won first place Wednesday in his class at Tampa’s Patel Partnership School for his speech, “In The Name of Religion.” Citing the Crusades, the reign of Genghis Khan and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Zachary wrote, “Religious differences have always sparked conflict, even leading to warfare and mass murder.”

Zachary’s speech was so good it was chosen to be the best in his class. As winner, Zachary was supposed to deliver his speech Thursday morning to the entire 4th and 5th grades. Two winners - one from each grade - were to be chosen to represent the school at the the regional 4-H Tropicana Public Speech contest.

However, before Zachary could deliver his speech in the next step of the competition, the school’s assistant principal pulled him aside and told him his speech was inappropriate, and informed him he was being stripped of his blue ribbon.

The story might have ended there, however, Zachary was lucky enough to have a concerned family that was willing to stand up against an unfair and unreasonable school bureaucracy frightened of offending the faithful with hard historical truths.

After much media attention the assistant principal returned the blue ribbon, and the school decided to postpone the contest until Monday. Parents of all students in the fourth and fifth grades will be given a list of speech titles and asked to decide whether their child should not hear any of them.

Attempting damage control, School District Spokeswoman Tanya Arja said the controversy wasn’t about the speech’s remarks on religion, "The concern was over the topic of mass murders” she said.

For more political news, information and humor see Left Coast Lucy on Facebook. For more news, information and humor relevant to atheists, freethinkers, and secular humanists, see Progressive Secular Humanist Examiner on Facebook. On Twitter follow Progressive Examiner.

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