Prayer at Football Games

September 4, 2000

When the Supreme Court ruled against prayer in the case involved the Santa Fe Independent School District, most assumed that the issue of prayer before football games was resolved. Not by a long shot. If you haven't heard, students and parents all over the Bible belt are spontaneously engaging in prayer in the stands. So much for the separation of prayer and player!

In South Carolina, a high school student body president took the microphone in the stadium press box and said a prayer as football fans stood silently. In Hendersonville, North Carolina, Terry Schultz (a member of Reformation Presbyerian Church) led a prayer at a high school football game. Several members of other churches formed a protest group called We Still Pray.

In Texas, an organization called No Pray, No Play is urging the recitation of the Lord's Prayer before football games. In Searcy, Arkansas members of the school board voted to let a nonprofit interdenominational group hold prayer around a stadium flag pole before games.

But the incident that attracted national attention took place in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with students holding hands in the bleachers while saying the Lord's Prayer. By the time they got to "deliver us from evil," most of the crowd of 4,500 was standing and praying in unison.

Some have called the actions civil disobedience, although many of the actions don't actually violate the Supreme Court's ruling in the Santa Fe case. Some of the actions should be allowed under the provisions of the Equal Access Act. Others might be considered a violation of the recent Supreme Court ruling.

Time will tell whether these "modern-day Daniels" will continue the practice or whether it will fade like the latest fad. I think the actions are here to stay. It just goes to show that prayer will never be outlawed as long as students have tests and high schools have football games.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.