A couple of days ago, we learned that public high schools in Florida’s Orange and Seminole Counties had football coaches leading team prayers, not to mention team chaplains. It’s about as egregious a church/state violation as you’ll ever see at a high school.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent letters to those districts warning them about the constitutional concerns and, to their credit, the districts took action, saying the coach-led prayers would stop and the chaplains were no longer permitted to pray with the teams. They could pray on their own time — and the students were always permitted to pray by themselves — but the adults could no longer coerce the students into praying (directly or indirectly).
That’s why last night’s football game at Apopka High School ended with the most meaningless protest you’ll ever see — because it’s very clear that the people who organized it have no idea what they’re fighting against.
After the game ended, hundreds of spectators, parents, students, and players gathering around the field to praise God:
You can see in the video here that player Gavin Johnson (#99) makes this comment (at the 1:40 mark):
We have been attacked by the biggest atheist [group] in the country, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and we are here to show that, win or lose, we will still praise God!
They say that our coaches can’t pray with us, so every week, we players will pray in front of everybody on the 50 yard line of whatever field we are praying on.
Here’s the problem with that. Protests are effective when you’re doing the things your opponents don’t want you to do. Like when you remain in your seat even though people want you to get up. Or like when you refuse to buy a product from a company because you disapprove of how they conduct their business.
I can’t speak for FFRF, but I’ll give it a shot, anyway: When it comes to last night’s “protest,” they just don’t care.
They don’t care if students pray before, during, and after every single game. They don’t care if parents join in. Not only do they not care, they will support those students’ right to pray.
As long as a coach isn’t in that huddle, and a chaplain isn’t leading the charge, and the school has nothing to do with the Facebook organizing, they don’t care. None of that is a problem. Now, if the coaches joined in, or the chaplain showed up, that would’ve been a protest. (And the district would’ve been in all sorts of legal trouble.)
So what was the point of gathering on the field?
I have no idea, but it suggests that every person on that field has absolutely no understanding of the law. They enjoy pretending to be victims even though they have nothing to do with the matter at hand.
(I seriously hope someone who maintains FFRF’s social media goes on that Facebook page and Likes every post on there. It would be hilarious to see the reaction.)
By the way, Apopka lost the game 28-23… so I guess Jesus loved the other team just a little bit more.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)