This is a true story – Snopes.com has authenticated the following article that was read over the public address system during a football game at Roane County High School on 1 September 2000. The principal, Jody McLoud, was protesting the prohibition against leading prayers “on school property, at school-sponsored events, over the school’s public address system, by a speaker representing the student body, under the supervision of school faculty.” In response to the lawsuit of Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Doe, the United States Supreme Court stated that such activity violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Principal McLoud’s speech was read by Representative Zach Wamp of Tennessee and was recorded in the Congressional Record on 20 September 2000. What follows is the Principal’s speech.
It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games to say a prayer and play the National Anthem to honor God and Country.
Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it an alternate lifestyle, and if someone is offended, that’s OK.
I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity by dispensing condoms and calling it safe sex. If someone is offended, that’s OK. I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a viable means of birth control. If someone is offended, it’s no problem. I can designate a school day as earth day and involve students in activities to religiously worship and praise the goddess, mother earth, and call it ecology.
I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depict people with strong, traditional, Christian convictions as simple minded and ignorant and call it enlightenment. However, if anyone uses this facility to honor God and ask Him to bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, Federal Case Law is violated.
This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical. Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone except God and His Commandments.
Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules that they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression.
For this reason, I shall render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and refrain from praying at this time. However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank God, and ask Him in the name of Jesus to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that’s not against the law — yet.
AND . . . one by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another, and began to pray. They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand, and they prayed in the announcer’s box. The only place they didn’t pray was in the Supreme Court of the United State’s of America – the seat of “justice” in the one nation under God.
Somehow, Kingston, Tennessee, remembered what so many have forgotten . . . we are given the Freedom of Religion, not the Freedom from Religion.