Tag Archives: commencement

High school teacher Doug Bengston ends commencement speech with bible quotes and his beliefs about intelligent design

Doug Bengston (Northfield Patch photo by Angela Lauterbach)At Northfield High School‘s graduation ceremony on Sunday, math department chair and teacher Doug Bengston gave the commencement address. He was selected by the senior class. (Northfield Patch photo by Angela Lauterbach, used with permission.)

At the end of his speech, after citing the wonder of elliptical orbits and how they are used in everyday technologies, he said:

I don’t believe the earth, the planets, and the solar system just happened. I believe there is one overall. As you watch the miracle of a newborn baby, I don’t believe it all just happens.

So I tried to gain that inner contentment that only comes from the one above. He designed me, my brain, my heart, and all that I am. And all he’s looking for is love. I’d like to leave you with some verses from the good book that help explains my thoughts.

Bengston then quoted from the bible, including Psalm 46:10; John 14; and Corinthians 2.

I think Bengston was way out of line for including his beliefs about intelligent design and his supporting quotes from the bible. It seemed totally out of place and ruined an otherwise good commencement address.

I’m guessing most members of the School Board, Supt. Chris Richardson, and High School principal Joel Leer are not happy with Bengston for this but, alas, there’s been no public comment on it that I’m aware of.

KYMN has the full audio of the 2011 Northfield High School Commencement but here’s the 2 minute and 49 second segment of the end of Bengston’s address:


Update 06/08 10 am: Here’s a more complete transcription of Bengston’s remarks at the end of his address:

In that class, we studied topics with a solid mathematical basis. The mathematics are circles, parabolas, and ellipses didn’t just happen. It’s always been there. We just happened to discover the stability of what those elliptical orbits offer.

Consider the satellites and how we use them with our national defense. And, oh no, you wouldn’t be able to use your cellphone to call a friend on the other side of the planet.

I don’t believe the earth, the planets, and the solar system just happened. I believe there is one overall. As you watch the miracle of a newborn baby, I don’t believe it all just happens.

So I tried to gain that inner contentment that only comes from the one above. He designed me, my brain, my heart, and all that I am. And all he’s looking for is love. I’d like to leave you with some verses from the good book that help explains my thoughts.

Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” In John 14, “Thomas, a disciple, asked, ‘How do we know the way?’ Jesus says, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” And Paul in writing to the Philippians and to us Minnesotans [ph] in Chapter 2, “That at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

Class of 2011, be content with who you are, find the inner peace that will get you through every difficult time and have a joyous life.

In preparing this little message, I came across the quote from Maya Angelou in which she said, “I have learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Live the life you love, love the life you live and may God bless you. Thank you.