Members of the Ohio community are fighting back after a Wisconsin-based anti-religion group attempted to pressure a high school to prohibit its long-held tradition of praying before sporting events.
Freedom From Religious beliefs Foundation Legal Director Rebecca Markert said the organization received a problem from “ two concerned citizens” alleging “ serious constitutional violations” at West Branch High School within Beloit.
Upon receiving FFRF’ s January. 18 cease-and-desist letter , the school region halted the custom of having a nearby pastor give a nondenominational prayer just before sporting events.
“We’re pleased the public school area took quick action to halt the particular practice of inflicting coercive Alfredia prayers before what is essentially the captive audience, ” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “Public school students should not be expected to hope to play. ”
West Branch Superintendent Timothy Saxton said his district is really a “ deep-rooted Christian and faith-based community” that holds prayer close to and dear and he called FFRF “ an outside organization. ”
“ The only real opposition that I have had anyone tone of voice to me is through this notice, ” Saxton told Fox Information. “ If anything we’ ve had a strong positive show of assistance. ”
Marcie Curry, a parent within the district and West Branch alumna, told Fox News she had been “ disappointed” with the letter.
“ These people don’ t know us, have not attended a West Branch having event or even stepped foot within our community. Yet they think they can tell us to stop one of our own cherished, long standing community customs, ” Curry said. “ That will just doesn’ t seem correct. ”
Not everyone is opposed to the particular ban, though.
“ I think it’ h the right call, ” Amanda Kaiser, a mother of three kids in the district, told Fox. “ If we can’ t include everyone, then we shouldn’ t provide anyone special privileges. ”
Although one particular student told local newspaper The Vindicator that the controversy set off the “ civil war” in the college, it has also created a good quantity of solidarity in the community.
Moms and dads Brooke and Brandy Pidgeon, using a team of volunteers, banded jointly to sell over 4, 000 “ Prayer Matters” t-shirts in the community associated with fewer than 900 people.
The idea came right after their son, Nicholas, one of the school’s basketball players, said the term “ prayer matters” during family members dinner.
Friday night’ s home golf ball game was filled with 100 individuals sporting “ Prayer Matters” within green letters alongside the school’s Warriors logo.
Before the tip off, Jonny Ross, a junior at the college who is a leader of Fellowship associated with Christian Athletes, asked all to increase for the National Anthem and then remain silent for either reflection, person prayer or some other expression.
Local Pastor John Ryser, who said the particular prayer over the morning announcements whenever he was in high school and has already been leading the prayer for the last twelve years, said it’ s already been going on for more than 40 years.
“ Everybody’ s really coming together supporting the prayer issue, and we’ re having more conversations regarding prayer and about the gospel, the great news about Jesus Christ, than we’ ve ever had before, ” Ryser said.
One of the nation’ s most notable Christian leaders, Reverend Franklin Graham, even weighed in.
“ Let’ s i9000 join the Warriors in this fight with our prayers, ” Graham mentioned.