May 25 is when the senior class will have their graduation at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Nahkoura Mahnassi, 16, and her mother, Alisha Brown, said it’s a poor choice on the schools part because not everyone is a Christian and they feel like the ceremony should be held at the school or at a neutral venue like the Georgia Dome.
Mahnassi is not your average student, either. “I’m in Beta Club, I’m in the magnet program, I’m pretty sure I’m in the top 10 percent at school and I was a star student,” Mahnassi told Channel 2′s Craig Lucie after he asked her to list her accomplishments.
Mahnassi also has a 3.8 GPA and thanks her mother for teaching her to stand up for what she believes in.
In this case, it’s what she doesn’t believe in and that’s her school’s decision to have their graduation ceremony at Eddie Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
When her peers ask why, she tells them, “It’s kind of a long story, but I don’t like churches or New Birth so I’m not going.”
New Birth’s Pastor, Eddie Long, was accused of sexual misconduct by four young men from the church, settling out of court last year. Mahnassi said her long story can be summarized down in part because she and her mother don’t have a religious affiliation.
“People don’t all have the same views and that having it at one place where the major views are Christian, it’s completely different for some people,” explained Mahnassi. Brown said a church should not be used for the ceremony just because it’s a big venue.