A group of teenagers were enjoying dinner together on prom night when one of their parents snapped a photograph. The picture has since gone viral, destroying the kids’ hopes of having a fun, care-free evening, as it captured the “controversial act” they all participated in.
According to Fox News, a debate is raging in the comments section of a Facebook post that shows several teenagers saying grace at a local Longhorn Steakhouse before their prom. Frank Somerville, a journalist at KTVU in Oakland, California, was sent the photo by one of the teens’ mothers. He proceeded to share the snapshot with his followers on social media, along with a note from the young woman’s mother.
“I want to share a picture of my daughter and her friends from prom night,” a woman Somerville identified as Noelle Smith was quoted as saying. “Now with the stories today about teenagers and tide pods and condoms gathering headlines — this picture speaks for itself.” Smith added that she was “so impressed” with the group. “They all said Grace before eating and were all well behaved,” wrote the proud mother.
KTVU’s reporter was happy to share the heartwarming picture, but not everyone had the same warm reaction as Somerville and Smith did to the teens praying. “Saying grace over your food says nothing of your moral compass, integrity or character … Behaving well at a restaurant while in your late teens, and being considerate to people, should not be Facebook praise worthy,” said one commenter who took issue with the photo.
“I see well behaved people doing terrible things, misbehaved people who just take care of someone in need. Being a [C]hristian doesn’t mean they are well behaved,” argued another Facebook user.
“My guess is their opinions on gay marriage, interracial families, equal rights, and other things we hold dear might not thrill you,” judged someone else.
After his post received an unanticipated amount of backlash, Somerville responded in the comments by saying, “I’m honestly surprised by some of these comments.. i wasn’t trying to imply that you have to be a christian to be a good person.. what i see from these kids is that they are respectful… that they are humbled… and that they are appreciative for what they have. … i could care less whether they are religious…. but by saying grace it shows me that they have those qualities.. and those are the qualities… regardless of whether you believe in god … that i admire..”
Of course, one is led to wonder whether the backlash to Somerville’s post would have been quite so severe were the high schoolers in the picture, say, Muslims participating in some Islamic ritual before enjoying their meal. Indeed, it seems that the public has grown increasingly tolerant of “other” religions, all while their disdain for Christians has only risen, for some reason.
I don’t care who you are or where you live — it is not common to see a group of teenagers risking public scorn in order to bow their heads and pray before eating a meal. It is indicative of good character, morals, and values. These are not the same teenagers likely to cave to peer pressure when their classmates insist they eat Tide Pods or snort a condom up their nose. We need more young people like the ones you see in the photograph above.