Wisconsin Pastor Alvin Dupree has encountered controversy after the Christian minister referenced his faith in a speech to graduates of Appleton North High School.
Dupree, who was elected to the Appleton school board in 2017, gave an address at the school's class of 2019 commencement ceremony this month.
"For me, my source of strength is my faith and my relationship with Jesus Christ," Dupree said, according to the Appleton Post-Crescent. "It sounds like I got some believers in this room, if you're here, you believe in that, go ahead and clap your hands."
He later added, "Never succumb to the pressure of being politically correct," and ended his speech by modifying the language supplied by the school.
"Now, it was typed out to say 'Best wishes,'" he said. "But I'm changing their script to what I would say: 'God bless.'"
A group of 29 students later wrote in a letter to the school administrators that the speech "created in and out-groups by allowing those in a majority group to differentiate themselves from the 'others' and align themselves with a person in a position of power."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation told Fox 11 News that it received numerous complaints from students and parents about the speech.
"It made those students who are not Christian feel like outsiders," said FFRF co-president Dan Barker. "They felt like, 'This is my graduation, and I'm being made to feel like it's not my graduation. This is a Christian community, and I'm being forced to listen to Christian messages.'"
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