Last week, the Blount County School District in Oneonta, Alabama, announced that student or volunteer-led prayer will no longer be permitted over the loudspeaker prior to high school football games.
Superintendent Rodney Green said the district’s decision came after Wisconsin atheist group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, complained. According to the complaint, having to listen to a prayer over a loudspeaker was not dissimilar from a government endorsing a religion, which would violate the First Amendment.
Instead of communal prayer, a moment of silence will be observed before home games.
That didn’t deter locals who refused to stand for the district’s decision.
What did the community do?
Christian residents and supporters of pre-game prayer rallied and banded together with a T-shirt campaign as well as a group recitation of the Lord’s Prayer before the kickoff.
Gregg Armstrong, one parent organizer, promised that he would gather with other Christians to say the Lord’s Prayer during the pre-game, non-denominational moment of silence.
“We are not doing this by any way to be negative or anything like that,” Armstrong told WBMA-TV.
“We are just doing this with love and doing what we feel like God has called us to do,” he added. “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.”
In addition to gathering for prayer, local churches got together to create T-shirts for the prayer warriors that read “We Believe,” and have the Lord’s Prayer scrawled on the shirt’s back, according to AL.com.
The outlet reported that during last week’s home game, several people showed up wearing the “We Believe” T-shirts. About 1,000 such shirts were printed and handed out to the public before the game.
Going forward, the T-shirts will be available for $5 and will be made in the school colors of each of the county’s schools.
Armstrong said that the movement is only just beginning.
“In Blount County, when it comes time for that moment of silence, we plan every week to do this,” he said. “I hope what we did was not for show, I hope what we did will honor the Lord. It’s been a tradition to voice prayer over the microphone, but sometimes new traditions are made and are bigger and greater than the past.”
(H/T: The Christian Post)