Praying in public has made news headlines recently.
A school in Alabama in the Lee County district received a complaint from a parent through the organization “Freedom From Religion” about a public prayer that was led by a student over the PA system before a football game. The letter detailed some U.S. Supreme Court rulings about public prayers in school.
One of the examples included was the 2000 ruling of Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Doe, which concluded that even student-led or initiated prayer over a public loud speaker at football games was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
The area schools decided to stop the practice, but fans were not happy. Friday night at Smiths Station High School, attendees yelled out part of the Lord’s Prayer before the game- the same prayer that was read by a student over the loud speaker to bring this all into question.
A month ago, a high school football coach from Bremerton, Washington tried to convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he should have been allowed to lead his players in prayer immediately after games on the field. He failed to convince them to force the Bremerton schools to reinstate him and allow him to lead prayers again.
So why are Christians so upset when they are not allowed to use the schools for their public prayer? The right to pray and practice our religion is not being taken away. I remember my teacher in my high school Government class teaching us that “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” We certainly have the right to pray. We don’t have the right to expect that everyone else should take part in our prayers.
Matthew Chapter 5:5,6 says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Oh, and I used this picture of Tim Tebow, but I’m not inferring that he shouldn’t have been allowed to take a knee and do his thing, just as I support the athletes who take a knee during the National Anthem. The difference is that Tim Tebow isn’t using a government-run forum to lead an audience in prayer.
God doesn’t need a microphone or PA system to hear our prayers. When Christians throw tantrums and yell “persecution” for not being able to use public forums to lead audiences in prayer, they are not shining a good light on Christianity.