Crowd Recites Lord’s Prayer at Football Game After Group Complains About Loudspeaker Prayer

Photo Credit: Facebook

SMITHS STATION, Ala. – Students, players and members of the public attending a high school football game in Alabama stood up and recited the Lord’s Prayer in unison on Friday after a secular group complained about a student-led prayer that was broadcast over the loudspeaker during a recent game.

On Aug. 31, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Dr. James McCoy Jr., superintendent of Lee County Schools, regarding a prayer that a student volunteered to deliver before a high school football game.

“It is our understanding that on August 25, 2017, Smiths Station High School broadcasted a prayer over the loudspeaker prior to the first football game of the season,” wrote FFRF legal fellow Christopher Line. “We understand that this prayer took place right after the national anthem.”

The group said that a concerned parent notified them about the pregame prayer.

“It is illegal for a public school to sponsor religious messages at school athletic events,” the FFRF letter contended.

Calling the prayer a “serious violation of the First Amendment,” FFRF urged McCoy to put an end to the practice.

“Not only is the district endorsing these prayers by allotting time for them at the start of games, but it is also providing the prayer-giver with the public address system needed to impose these prayers on all students and community members at games,” the correspondence stated. “Public school events must be secular to protect the freedom of conscience of all students.”

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The school district consequently decided to comply with the Church-State separation group’s request.

“Dr. McCoy has informed his principals that he expects all Lee County Schools to comply with current law with respect to prayer at football games held on Lee County Schools property,” wrote attorney William Sanderson on behalf of Lee County Schools.

“The school system was facing litigation that we felt as though would not rule in our favor, if we continued with prayer over our public address system,” McCoy also explained in a statement.

“Our response to the demand letter has been slightly delayed due to our conversations with legal counsel and conducting research on this matter. I was simply trying to find a way for our students to continue to do what they have been doing with student-led prayer,” he said. “Unfortunately, I was not successful in that endeavor.”

Following the district’s decision, members of the Smiths Station community rallied together in favor of pregame prayers. Mike Green, a local businessman, announced plans to buy advertisement space on the high school football stadium’s scoreboard and put the Lord’s Prayer on the sign. A GoFundMe campaign to help fund the sign has since raised several thousand dollars.

“The ad spot is to be a focal point of the stadium, and I think that shows what our community stands for,” he told Eagle Eye TV.

Prior to Smiths Station’s football game Friday night, students and parents also recited the Lord’s Prayer in unison following the national anthem.

“That was emotional,” Jennie Sanders, wife of the Smiths Station defensive line coach, remarked following the prayer as she wiped tears from her eyes. “The kids want to pray.”

According to photographs posted on social media, the referees also circled up to pray prior to the game.

Melissa Reynolds, a parent whose child plays in Smiths Station’s marching band, told that she was glad to see the pregame prayer tradition continue.

“One of the reasons I love Lee County so much is that they still keep God in things,” she said.

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  • Cady555

    1. A group points out to a school district that government sponsored prayer is illegal.
    2. The school districts lawyers agree that school sponsored prayer is illegal.
    3. Parents and students perform the completely legal action of praying in public without govt sponsorship. Wow.

    Praying is public is fine. It’s legal. It violates the words of Jesus, but it’s still legal.

    What is illegal is people using govt authority to tell people when or how to perform a religious ritual. This really is not hard to understand.

    The school cannot tell people to pray. School property like loud speakers cannot be used to help one religious message. But parents and students can pray on the stands all they want.

    The school can probably sell ad space with a religious message, but if they do they must allow ANY religious message. The school cannot play favorites and accept some but reject others based on religious view. This means that next to the Lord’s Prayer, the school might get “Jesus hates public prayer. Mt 6:5-6” and the 7 Tenets of the Satanic Temple.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      Public prayer does not violate Matthew 6 ……….. that is not what Christ was speaking against ……….. nice try …. but a big fail on that count …..

      • mr goody two shoes

        So are you saying if christian friend believed drinking was really wrong for him as a christian to do would spike the punch at his wedding and say it was predestined that I should do this .

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          not sure if you are joking or not ….. and was not the point i made nor was my comment about predestination …. but we can have that discussion ………

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          if you could ever ask Calvin about a tulip ….. he would take you to his garden and show you one ….. other than that he would be quite puzzled at your request ……… and there is nothing in the doctrines of grace as far as predestination is concerned in what you suggest … so i have to conclude your trying to get a rise …. nope ………. and scripture says that if you are of the Elect, Christ WILL …. not maybe …. not sort of ….. WILL raise you on the last day …. and it is basically impossible to do what you are suggesting …. and scripture says so …….. Christ does not sit in heaven with a flower, plucking petals and saying “He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not” ….. sorry …. big fail on that one …… salvation cannot be lost ….

      • Peter Leh

        only if it elevates self. I am sure everyone in Alabama is thinking about “the other”. 🙂

        I mean historical they have, right Amos?

    • Off Shore

      “Jesus hates public prayer.”

      V. 5 do not be like the hypocrites

      It’s about being a hypocrite praying if public as the pharisees did 2,000 years ago. There is absolutely nothing wrong with praying in public.

      • Cady555

        What is the expected result of reciting a memorized prayer in a football stadium?

        What is the purpose of kneeling in the middle of a field while a few thousand people watch, like so many coaches do?

        Is the purpose to be seen praying? Does god hear your prayers better when lots of other people can see you pray? Does using a loudspeaker help god hear prayers?

        Reread Matthew 6. Decide for yourself whether praying in a football stadium is closer to “standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others” or going “into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

        Read Matthew 6 and think about it.

        • p78

          Let me guess you where size 20 shoes have green curly hair and have a big red nose. Got it ….. your a clown!

          • Jerome Horwitz

            Cady is an anti-Christian bigot. One trick pony. No need to engage him.

        • mr goody two shoes

          I take it “This little light of mine” was not your favorite Sunday school song .And so you broke your little light.

    • NCOriolesFan

      The school didn’t violate the fantasy separation of church-state. The student VOLUNTEERED the prayer and used the loudspeaker system the school had already there. No one was coerced to attend the prayer or recite it.

      • Jerome Horwitz

        The FFRF knew that. They have already shown their true anti-Christian colors. Which is why I wish school districts would stop being limp-wristed cowards and tell them to slide down a razor blade into a pool of alcohol.

        • Peter Leh

          “Which is why I wish school districts would stop being limp-wristed
          cowards and tell them to slide down a razor blade into a pool of

          Exactly! Can you tell me of this “Jesus” you serve, Horwitz?

          • Jerome Horwitz

            Oh, hush. Nobody cares.

      • Guzzman

        The school did in fact violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment which mandates government neutrality towards religion. Its own legal counsel said so.

        The PA system is owned by the school and its use and access are controlled and authorized by school officials. The football game is a school event that takes place on school property. That very much gives the appearance that the school endorses the prayer and its religious message, which no public school is permitted to do. The school wisely corrected its mistake and thereby avoided costly litigation.

      • Peter Leh

        SO it is open for a Muslim prayer? Jewish? Witches prayer?

  • mr goody two shoes

    Happened in Alabama ! Every one knows such a place does not exist in today’s world! Stay out of the Irish whiskey please this is supppse to be Christian news net truthful articles.

  • Steve Trent

    The fallacy here is that just because the coach kneels for prayer on the playing field that he is communicating that the school is endorsing his religion. No, it is his personal position. No one is keeping people from other faiths from doing the same thing on the field. People are hyper sensitive about everything these days.

    • NCOriolesFan

      The hyper-sensitivity is from the bigots of the FFRF and the complainer. Otherwise, all the community did was support the coach and their GOD in a public display of love and affection.

      • Peter Leh

        me thinks the hypersensitivity comes from those who do not know their history or will not read a history book.

    • mr goody two shoes

      And this was not grade school. By now if christian parents did their Jobs the young adults would know they better find out his beliefs before praying with him. Mormons use christian language with totally different meanings.

  • InTheChurch

    keep doing it parents, players and students.

    • mr goody two shoes

      Than what happened in sync and praying the same prayer at the same time would become come unionistic at the expense of what confessional Lutherans believe about who they should pray with . before every one was praying their own prayer and same christian prayer all at the same time.

  • He’s still on the throne

  • Guzzman

    Government entities, such as public schools, are prohibited from promoting, endorsing, or otherwise establishing religion. In this case, the school authorized use of its PA system to broadcast school-sponsored prayers. That is a constitutional violation and the school wisely corrected its mistake and avoided costly litigation.

    On the other hand, students are free to practice their religion as long as it does not disrupt instructional time or scheduled school events. The issue is not whether a prayer was given or not given, but whether GOVERNMENT played any part in arranging or sponsoring a religious message.

  • Peter Leh

    As long as the PA is open to Muslim, Witches, Hindus, Jews and Atheists. ETC

    IT is ok.

    BUT in Alabama… where the southern baptist, white conservative evangelical, keeps blacks as close to slavery as possible since 1865. It is doubtful

  • Peter Leh

    Melissa Reynolds: ““One of the reasons I love Lee County so much is that they still keep God in things,” she said.”

    at the expense of what, Melissa Reynolds?

    AH yes…… others. The south will rise again… right Melissa?