Christian students at an Alabama high school are pushing back against an atheist group after the school received complaints from the group about a pre-game prayer.
According to Faithwire, the anti-faith group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, complained that Opelika High School in Alabama violated federal law by praying over the loudspeaker before a game. The group said a parent came to them and said they wanted “to move their children out of the district.”
In response to the complaint, the district told Opelika leadership that they could only have a “moment of silence” before games.
“We recognize that the United States of America is a nation of laws and we will abide by the current law,” OCS Superintendent Mark Neighbors said.
“Our students are allowed to pray, but our coaches are not allowed to participate,” he added, referring to the letter which alleged that coaches were praying with students.
The students, however, responded to the complaint as well. Before the Sept. 13 kickoff, a group of students recited the Lord’s Prayer together and out loud.
“You’re taking [prayer] away from the majority, so now we’re having to go about it a different way,” student Phoebe Darcey told WSFA.
Trinity United Methodist Church Youth Pastor Steve Bass said the original prayer was not even “overtly Christian.”
“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,'” he told WFSA. “It was nothing offensive.”
Public schools in the country have long faced controversy for prayer before sporting events. In 2017, another Alabama school district stopped saying the Lord’s Prayer before games. Earlier this month, a Georgia high school was also banned from praying before a football game after an atheist group complained.
Photo courtesy: Riley McCullough/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.