Man High School in West Virginia is one of those places where a Christian prayer is recited over the loudspeakers before football games. That obviously violates the law. It’s not even controversial — the Supreme Court literally says that’s an illegal endorsement of religion.
That’s why, last week, at the request of a parent, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the Logan County Board of Education calling them to put a stop to the prayers. If the prayers continued, they implied, the District could be subject to a lawsuit. (It’s actually not the first letter they’ve sent over the exact same issue. A similar one was sent last year.)
Naturally, the people reciting the prayers are furious. In their heads, obeying the law amounts to Christian persecution, and they’re threatening to walk away from the press box if the District tells them they can’t use the school’s equipment to foist their prayers on the entire crowd.
The situation has people like Chris Trent pretty fired up.
“I mean, how far are we going to go? With everything that’s going on in society, why is this an issue?” he asked.
Trent volunteers as the PA announcer at the stadium, calling the letter from the Foundation unfortunate.
“It’s really just a crying shame,” he said.
Trent says if prayer is not allowed, he’s prepared to walk.
“If it is forbidden tomorrow, then we will walk out,” he said.
Trent said others who volunteer their time in the press box are preparing to join him, too, including those who run the scoreboard and game clock.
They’re so angry, they just might follow the law…?
The game will go on without them. Electric failures with scoreboards occur all the time, and the games go on. And anyone who’s been to a high school football will tell you no one’s there to hear the color commentary. The world will keep turning without Chris Trent.
It goes without saying that prayer is still legal. Everyone in that stadium — the announcers, athletes, spectators, coaches — can pray silently on their own. The students can even lead their own prayer in the stands and no one would care. FFRF’s only concern is the coercion coming from above, by way of the public address system. What Trent is implying is that his God won’t listen or care about them unless the prayers are loud enough for Jesus to hear from His grave.
Too damn bad.
Just because he thinks his faith is more important than everyone else’s doesn’t mean anyone in power has any obligation to take his whining seriously. The school has already said prayers will not be allowed tonight using the PA system. The only questions are whether volunteers will rebel (who cares) and whether the District will enforce its own rules. If they don’t, this would be an easy legal victory for the side of church/state separation and a tremendous loss for students and taxpayers who would have to pay the price because people like Trent care more about showboating for Christ than providing a meaningful experience for the crowd.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)