Students, teachers, parents, and fans at Beloit, Ohio’s West Branch High School have been holding prayers before sporting events for more than 40 years, but their tradition has come to an end thanks to an anti-religion group from out of state.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group whose sole purpose is to make sure that no one in America is exposed to Christianity in any form, filed a cease-and-desist letter against the school after receiving a complaint from “two concerned citizens” about “serious constitutional violations.” The Wisconsin-based organization demanded that the school stop the prayers or face legal consequences.
The school district, no doubt eager to avoid a protracted, expensive legal battle, put an end to the tradition of having a local preacher say a generic, nondenominational prayer before football games and other sporting events.
The FFRF was quick to claim righteous victory.
“We’re pleased the public school district took quick action to halt the practice of inflicting coercive Christian prayers before what is essentially a captive audience,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “Public school students should not be expected to pray to play.”
No, surely this was causing lasting, permanent psychological damage to the students in this small Christian community. God only knows how it has affected the what – one edgy atheist teenager and the kid who converted to Islam to piss off his parents? Oh, sorry, did we say “God only knows”? We meant…nothing only knows. Darwin? Mother Earth? Well, anyway.
“They don’t know us, have never attended a West Branch sporting event or even stepped foot in our community,” local parent Marcie Curry told Fox News. “Yet they believe they can tell us to stop one of our cherished, long standing community traditions. That just doesn’t seem right.”
No, it really doesn’t.
And that’s really what gets our goat about stories like these. Because she’s right – the FFRF lawyers don’t know Beloit, Ohio from Jerusalem. They have absolutely zero sense of what the community is like, who the people are, what the prayers consist of, or anything else about this small town. For them to come roaring in from Wisconsin so they can pretend to be some kind of constitutional freedom fighters is really just too much to take.
We’ve yet to hear it explained how these “coercive Christian prayers” are harming anyone. At least, not in any way that makes a lick of sense. If we didn’t know better, we’d accuse the Freedom From Religion Foundation of having found a way to exploit atheist donors who feel some kind of misplaced grievance against their parents for making them go to church when they wanted to stay home and play Nintendo.
Grow up, get a life, and let people live theirs.