When a local reporter in Oakland, California, posted an uplifting photo of a group of high school students praying before prom, he had no idea the backlash it would spark.
KTVU reporter Frank Somerville was sent the photo by one of the teen’s mothers. He shared the photo and a quote from one of the young girls’ mother.
“I want to share a picture of my daughter and her friends from prom night.
“Now with the stories today about teenagers and tide pods and condoms gathering headlines—this picture speaks for itself,” the mother reportedly wrote.
“It sure does,” he wrote. “And coupled with the post I did yesterday about the kids playing basketball who kneeled when a funeral procession went by, it says a lot about young people these days. It’s REALLY nice to see.”
However, what was meant to be uplifting quickly turned ugly in the comments section, leaving the reporter himself stunned by the response.
Fox News outlines some of the outrage:
“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 pic.
“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.
“My guess is their opinions on gay marriage, interracial families, equal rights, and other things we hold dear might not thrill you,” wrote another poster.
Somerville felt compelled to respond after receiving so much hate.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”