The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin, sent a letter to Alabama’s Opelika High School complaining about students expressing Christian beliefs on school grounds. This complaint pressured the district to swap a loudspeaker pre-game prayer for a “moment of silence.”
The letter, obtained by Alabama News, cited the concerns of a parent who felt alienated enough to want to “move their children out of the district” over the prayer. The letter also stated that, under the Supreme Court, “invocations given over the loudspeaker at public school athletic events even when student-led,” are not allowed.
OHS Superintendent Mark Neighbors said in a statement:
“We recognize that the United States of America is a nation of laws and we will abide by the current law.”
Students chose to defy the district-mandated “moment of silence” by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
Most of the community wasn’t in favor of removing prayers from the football games.
Trinity United Methodist Church Youth Pastor Steve Bass told WFSA:
“It was always, ‘Hey God, please keep our players safe from injury, help the fans and the players to have good sportsmanship, everyone have a good night. It was nothing offensive.”
One student said, “You’re taking [prayer] away from the majority, so now we’re having to go about it a different way.”
Some students took to Twitter, one saying: “It’s honestly ridiculous how people have a problem with our coaches praying with us before and after a game…”
Another student quoted scripture:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” – Romans 1:16
This week in Georgia, after FFR filed a complaint, another high school was prohibited from saying their usual pre-game prayers.