An employee of the Bradley County School District in Tennessee recently took cellphone video of a student leading a prayer over the loudspeaker before a football game. That video was then sent to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Because the practice is illegal — it’s considered an endorsement of religion — FFRF sent a letter to the District explaining the violation and law and urging them to put a stop to the practice before a lawsuit has to be filed.
All of that sounds pretty typical. School district violates the law, FFRF steps in and explains the issue, school district gets to choose how to proceed. Even the District’s lawyer’s response was what you’d expect.
The school system’s attorney would not say what will change, but he gave Channel 3 the following statement:
“The Board of Education understands the significance of student’s religious liberties. We will be working with board members, system administrators and school leaders to address these issues.” — Scott Bennett, Attorney for Bradley County Schools.
Bennett formally responded to Freedom From Religion saying he understands the law and plans to discuss the issue with the school board. A spokesperson for the group says he is satisfied with that response at this time.
That’s a polite way for the lawyer to say, “I’ll get these fools in order so they don’t get sued.”
Over the weekend, however, one of the students who doesn’t understand the law (but loves him some Jesus) organized a prayer on the football field on behalf of the community.
— Amber Worthy (@AWorthyNews) January 21, 2018
That event must have sparked a collective orgasm at the Christian Broadcasting Network, since they were bragging about the prayer on their website:
Atheists Seek End to High School Football Prayer — but Just Watch the Amazing Way These Students React
I’m not sure why that’s “amazing”… it’s fairly meaningless and irrelevant. More importantly, it appeared to be organized by students without any input or support from the administration, which is exactly how it should be. Students are welcome to pray on their own, even at a football game. It only became a problem in this case because they used the school’s equipment with the school’s tacit permission.
This isn’t complicated. If the weekend prayer was supposed to send a message to the FFRF, I assure you they’re not paying attention. As long as the pre-game loudspeaker prayers come to an end, they don’t care how these students pray in their spare time. That’s never been up for debate.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)