Liberty...An American Heritage
Prayer Prohibition Bypassed
In June, the Supreme Court
ruled 6-3 that student-led, student-initiated prayer using school sound
systems violates the separation of church and state. Fort Gibson, Texas
however has joined a growing list of schools working to bypass the ruling
This season high school students have been
filling the field for prayer prior to games rather than praying over
the public address (PA) system. In the stands, fans are joining them.
Also, Christian music is played during halftime shows.
Students started meeting on the field for
prayer prior to games and joined hands in prayer when the football season
started. Similarly, fans in their seats started doing the same thing.
Senior Sarah Baumann said, "They made
that law saying we can't do it, and this is our way of saying we're
going to do it."
The crowd on the field was small initially,
however each game the numbers grew. Prior to a game with Broken Bow,
the crowd covered nearly the entire field.
Waiting to take the field until after the
prayer were both teams and game officials. The crowd was urged by students
holding displays to "please stand and pray with us." Approximately
1,500 fans responded.
Senior Rob Brown, president of the school's
Teens for Christ Club and Fort Gibson's Fellowship of Christian Athletes
chapter said, "They're getting the hang of it now." The public
prayer meetings have been spear-headed by Brown.
High school principal Gary Sparks said
the entire community supports the displays. "All the response I've
gotten is very positive. The parents are glad the kids are taking the
initiative to have a positive influence on the community."
At a recent show the marching band started
by bowing for prayer at halftime. Four Christian songs were included
in the band performances.
("Crowds bypass prayer prohibition,"
The Associated Press, October 28, 2000)
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