An Alabama school district has banned prayer over loudspeakers before the start of high school football games and Christian residents have responded with a T-shirt campaign and a mass recital of the Lord’s Prayer.
Last week, the Blount County School District put an end to the practice of allowing a student or volunteer offer a communal pregame prayer over the public address system before high school athletic events after a complaint was filed by the Wisconsin-based atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Under a new policy, a nondenominational secular moment of silence will replace the pregame prayers before the playing of the national anthem.
Superintendent Blount County Schools Superintendent Rodney Green told CBS 42 that the policy change was made after the district’s lawyers were consulted about the complaint. FFRF had argued that having a prayer over the loudspeaker for the whole stadium to hear was tantamount to a government endorsement of religion and a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Many in the community were not pleased by the news and have responded with their own initiative to keep prayer and faith included in the games.
Gregg Armstrong, a parent of a Locust Fork High School student and the county revenue commissioner, vowed to a local ABC News station after the announcement last week that he and other Christians around the county would say the Lord’s Prayer in unison during the moment of silence.
“We are not doing this by any way to be negative or anything like that,” Armstrong explained. “We are just doing this with love and doing what we feel like God has called us to do. I believe if you have 1,000 people in those bleachers saying the Lord’s Prayer vocally, not over a PA system, that is probably going to be a little bit more moving than just one person praying.”
The Lord’s Prayer initiative prompted area churches to ban together to create “We Believe” T-shirts.
According to AL.com, a sea of people wearing green “We Believe” shirts was seen at last Friday’s Locust Fork’s home football game. On the front of the shirt reads the words “We Believe.” On the back are the words to the Lord’s Prayer as written in Matthew 6.
Over 1,000 shirts were made and given to the public for free before the start of Friday’s game. They were paid for by five area churches: Locust Fork Baptist Church, Grace Community Baptist Church, Turning Point United Methodist Church, Pine Bluff Baptist Church and Edgewood Baptist Church.
An online video shows a spectator leading the crowd at the Locust Fork game by reciting the Lord’s Prayer through a megaphone.
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Source: Christian Post