Thursday, August 25, 2011

Atheists Increase Prayer Fervor at Schools

Although the intention of the Wisconsin atheist organization is to eliminate public prayer at the high school football games, the legal threat issued has resulted in an awakening of the public to the threats of religious liberty, and more deliberate and heart-felt prayer at football games.

Recently, school administrations in Kentucky and Mississippi heeded the atheists' threat, but residents refuse to buckle.

UPDATE 9/30/11 - Citizens lift Jesus' name in vocal public prayer during pre-game "moment of silence" (news video):

UPDATE 8/27/11: Fighting for Jesus - DeSoto citizens organize county-wide prayer (including at football games)

UPDATE 8/27/11: Kentucky legislators denounce state bureaucrat's decision to silence prayer

UPDATE 9/2/11: Bell County citizens plan public prayer at game (video)

-- From "Bell County stops football game prayer" by The Associated Press 8/23/11

There was no prayer uttered at the home opener for Bell County High School [in Pineville, KY] on Friday night after the school system received a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation this month.

Schools Superintendent George Thompson said the practice of having a local pastor offer prayer over loudspeakers was halted because previous court rulings indicated the county would lose a court battle, according to WYMT-TV in Hazard.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Under threat of lawsuit, Bell County ends tradition of prayer before football games" by Bill Estep, Lexington Herald Leader 8/24/11

"People were kind of jolted when we did the National Anthem and then kicked off" without the prayer, [Bell County Superintendent George] Thompson said.

"Folks were pretty upset about it," he said. "Facebook has gone wild."

The Rev. Ray Stepp, pastor of Molus Pentecostal Church in neighboring Harlan County, had led the pre-game public prayer for 18 to 20 years, said his wife, Sandra Stepp.

Stepp prayed for the players to have a safe game and for protection for U.S. troops, and he usually prayed for everyone in the audience to attend church, his wife said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Anti-prayer group praises DeSoto Schools" by The Associated Press 8/24/11

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has applauded the DeSoto County school district for responding promptly to a call to halt prayers over the public address system at football games and other school functions.

The Commercial Appeal reports the Madison, Wis.-based organization, which has challenged prayers in other districts around the country, had complained by letter to school district officials that Supreme Court decisions prohibiting school-sponsored prayer were being violated.

In response, the school board said on Monday that the system would enforce an existing policy prohibiting use of the public address system to broadcast prayers before football games.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Superintendent: Law protects voluntary, student-led prayers" By JB Clark, News Reporter, DeSoto Times Today 8/24/11

In response to numerous phone calls, Facebook messages and emails, DeSoto County Schools Superintendent Milton Kuykendall released additional information on Tuesday, giving the reason for the school board's stance on prayer at football games.

"In my opinion, most people do not realize that this organization out of Wisconsin doesn't really care if we have prayer in our schools," Kuykendall said. "They see an opportunity to try and accuse us of breaking the law and therefore give them a chance to sue our district and win a law suit and take millions of our funds. This is money that is needed to pay teachers and educate our students."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sued more than 50 school districts.

The School Board, Monday night, announced they will stand by their current policy that says:

"School administrators, teachers and staff shall take a neutral approach regarding the promotion of prayer or other religious activities in schools or at school-sponsored events. They cannot interfere with students exercising their religious rights as permitted by law and they cannot tell or suggest to students that they should pray or participate in religious activities. Prayer over the intercom or at school-related activities shall not be allowed except as specifically stated above."

"I don't think we have the authority to prohibit people from praying, they have first amendment rights," said Keith Treadway, attorney for the DeSoto County School Board. "It just prevents us from leading the prayer and from using our P.A."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "2 More School Districts Halt Football Game Prayers" by Joseph Perkins, Christian Post Contributor 8/24/11

The decisions by the two school districts to abandon local high school traditions that date back as far as a half-century were prompted by legal threats from the foundation, which describes itself as the nation’s largest association of “freethinkers,” including atheists, agnostics and skeptics.

“This is the kind of thing,” [Annie Laurie Gaylor, president of The Freedom From Religion Foundation] said, “that if we sued over it we would win.” The school districts almost certainly would be compelled to pay the Madison, Wisc.-based foundation’s court costs, she added, which “would cost taxpayers money that should not be wasted.”

Most Americans, meanwhile, support prayer. Nearly two-thirds of Americans said they favor prayer in schools, according to a Rasmussen poll earlier this year. Only 24 percent of surveyed adults said they opposed it.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Atheists Fail to Stop Prayer at School

Prayer Ban Increases Prayer at School Football Game