Prayer banned from games at school Ohio
Parents both have “Prayer Matters” shirts in a silent protest against the ban
Members of an Ohio community are fighting back after a Wisconsin-based anti-religion group tried the pressure at a secondary school to a ban on the long tradition of praying for sporting events.
Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Legal Director, Rebecca Markert, said that the organisation received a complaint of two “concerned citizens” alleged “serious constitutional violations” at West Branch high School in Beloit.
After receiving FFRF Jan. 18 cease-and-desist letter, the school district stopped the practice of having a local pastor gives a non-believer’s prayer for sports events.
“We are happy that We have the public school district quickly took action to stop the practice of the infliction of a mandatory Christian prayers for what is essentially a captive audience,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “The public school should not be expected to pray to play.”
West Branch Superintendent Timothy Saxton said that his district is a “deep-rooted Christian and faith-based community,” which is in the possession of the prayer near and dear, and he called FFRF “outside the organization”.
“The only opposition that I have everyone vote for me via this letter,” Saxton told Fox News. “If anything we have a strong positive show of support.”
Marcie Curry, one of the parents in the district and West Branch alum, told Fox News she was “disappointed” with the letter.
“They don’t know us, have never participated in a West Branch sports, or even stepped foot in our community. But they believe that they can tell us to stop one of our beloved, long-term community traditions,” Curry said. “That just doesn’t seem good.”
Not everyone is against the ban, though.
“I think it’s the right call,” Amanda Kaiser, a mother of three children in the district, told Fox. “If we can’t include everyone, then should we not give anyone special powers.”
Although a student told local newspaper The Vindicator that the controversy set off a “civil war” in the school, it also has a good amount of solidarity in the community.
Parents Brooke and Brandy Pidgeon, with a team of volunteers, came together to market and sell this for more than 4000 “Prayer Matters” t-shirts in the community of less than 900 people.
The idea came after their son, Nicholas, one of the school basketball players, said the phrase, “the prayer business” during a family dinner.
Friday night’s home basketball game was filled with 100 people sporting “Prayer Matters” in green letters next to the school Warriors logo.
For the tip, Jonny Ross, a student of the school, who was a leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, asked all to rise for the national Anthem and then remain quiet for reflection, individual prayer, or other expression.
Local Pastor John Ryser, who said the prayer over the morning announcements when he was in high school and is the lead of the prayer for the last 12 years, said that for more than 40 years.
“Everyone is really coming together in support of the prayer issue, and we have more conversations about prayer and about the gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ, than we’ve ever had,” Ryser said.
One of america’s most prominent Christian leaders, the Reverend Franklin Graham, even weighted.
“Let’s join the Warriors in the battle with our prayers,” Graham said.
Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke