Prayer at Football Games

Can prayer at football games take place?

A case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said the Sante Fe Independent School District's policy of permitting a student to deliver a prayer at high school football games is unconstitutional. This case is designated as Doe v. Santa Fe Independent School District.

What exactly does this ruling mean and how does it affect you? Students are not allowed to lead the audience over the loudspeaker in student-written prayers at football games.

Can I lead my fellow athletes in a prayer at football games or other athletic events? Yes, you may. Legally, you have the right to voluntarily pray with your teammates as long as you are not leading the audience in a scheduled event. However, school officials, coaches, etc. can not lead the prayer or make participation mandatory. You are free to pray at sporting events either aloud or in private and others may join you.

"The decision distorts the First Amendment by exhibiting hostility towards student speech" said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, who presented oral arguments in the case before the Court. "This decision will interject additional confusion into the area of protected religious expression in the schools. The opinion blurs the distinction between government speech and private speech. It is the free speech of the students that has been censored."

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