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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Pray these meddlers will find something else to do

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tennessee football players gather for prayer before the Georgia game on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007, at Neyland Stadium. The prayers might have been heard because the Vols rolled to a 35-14 victory, improving to 3-2 for the season.
(Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel)
Sometimes life imitates art and more often than not, art accentuates life.

This week I reviewed the film "Last Ounce of Courage," which focuses on the efforts of a few to take away the rights of the many - specifically when it comes to religious freedom.

While I enjoyed the film, I did suggest that perhaps some of the plot was a bit exaggerated and over-the-top.

Insert foot in mouth. Which I would do if my knee wasn't still sore from nine days of walking around the Clay County Fair.

The next day I'm forwarded a story about the University of Tennessee being taken to task for its long-standing tradition of pre-game prayers.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, described as a Wisconsin-based atheist group, reportedly sent a letter to Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, seeking an end to the use of prayer at university events.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the group, was quoted: "They've been praying to Jesus and inviting clergy to come lead the prayer. Nonsectarian would be (that) you wouldn't have a member of the clergy who's tied to a denomination, so they're not going to talk about Jesus. They shouldn't be talking about the Bible. In my opinion, they shouldn't be praying at all."

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga caved when it received a similar letter a couple of weeks ago. Spooked by the group, they surrendered their pre-function prayer activities, letting the voice of the few outweigh the many.

Cheek however opted to stand tall, saying that the pre-game moment does not violate the First Amendment, and indicated his intention to allow the prayer to continue.

Gaylor, quoted in a newspaper article, said, "When you're not religious or are of another faith and you get prayed at during events, it's really very grating. It's a sock in the gut for you to go to a sporting event and then be told to conform to someone else's religion."

Wow, really? A sock in the gut. Have you ever been socked in the gut? I have. I used to box regularly, and I can tell you it hurts. It hurts really bad.

So here's the thing. If you don't want to be a part of the UT prayer moment, you have a couple of options. First, you can wait until it's over to enter the stadium, or secondly, you can get up and leave prior to the start of the prayer and return to your seat when it's done.

I mean if someone was going to hit me in the gut with their out-of-control and pain-inducing prayer words, and I didn't want to get hit in the gut, I might simply avoid the punch.

I'm guessing that Gaylor, who I might remind you runs this organization in Wisconsin, probably doesn't make it down to Tennessee too often for college football games. And based on the packed stands, glowing orange to the naked eye, I'm guessing that not many of their fans are offended either.

Prior to this latest effort by some wacky "rights" group to deny Christians their rights, I'm not sure I had ever heard of The Freedom From Religion Foundation. So they got what they wanted, thanks to myself and my media cohorts. They got their name in print. They received credit for making UT-Chattanooga flinch. Congratulations. You made the news. Now sit back, grab some cheese, and stick to Wisconsin Badger football and leave the business of Volunteer football to those who would don the orange, pray, and then enjoy Tennessee on the field as they have for decades.

If you don't like it, simply plug your ears. See, problem solved.

And I didn't need some meddling group of busy-bodies to figure it out.

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It's groups like these that need to sit down and rethink their motives. I'm not religious at all, and yet this group is way out of line. To whine and complain and consider a one minute prayer "grating," as if them, in the clear minority, being slightly offended is enough to totally abolish tradition and wishes and freedom of the rest of the stadium, is absurd.

"It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that', as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I'm offended by that.' Well, so [blank] what?" --Stephen Fry

-- Posted by jlees on Mon, Sep 24, 2012, at 11:00 AM

The separation of church and state (like a state university) protects all of us and I very strongly support it.

All Christians should support the separation of church and state. Imagine how upset they would be if the pre-game prayers were to a different god than theirs. Suppose Islam could be taught, practiced and encouraged (not to mention required) in public schools in the USA. There would be mayhem!

Let us respect each other and tolerate our differences. Please do not force one faith on all present.

In the name of peace, love and tolerance,


-- Posted by LisetteFC on Mon, Sep 24, 2012, at 8:39 PM

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:3-5

-- Posted by old timing man on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 9:19 AM

These atheist groups are as bad as some of the religious groups. Prayer never hurt anyone and if you have a problem then just bow your head and don't pray. Problem solved. And if they want to pray to a Muslim God so be it. Muslims and Christians are nothing more than Jews with a new doctrine.

-- Posted by joev on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 11:15 AM

Unless they're forcing everyone in the team or stadium to participate, I don't see the issue.

-- Posted by notinia on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 11:39 AM

The First Amendment protects minorities from the majority saying "If you don't like it, simply plug your ears" - as Randy put it.

It isn't a question of Christians v. athiests v. Muslims; it is a question of the governmental establishment of religion (aka separation of church and state) in contravention of the First Amendment.

-- Posted by Sony on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 11:39 AM

Amen, old timing man. Words written neary 2000 years ago and so true today.

-- Posted by Culture Warrior on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 8:52 PM

There is a critical difference between private individual speech and speech promoted by the government. For example, a group of people can go to a public park and exercise their free speech. They can even get on soapboxes and share their speech with others. But once the state decides to help broadcast one person's speech to everyone in the park because it is popular, it becomes state-sponsored speech.

Whether a student or audience member chooses to pray at a football game is entirely up to him or her, as it should be. But it becomes state-sponsored when the school broadcasts the popular prayer to an entire audience in attendance for a football game. Public schools must be neutral on religion to protect the rights of everyone.

For further reading see the following United States Supreme Court cases dealing with prayer in school:

Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000);

Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992);

Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962);

-- Posted by Sony on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 11:52 AM

Excellent Sony. Thanks for the info.

Now, ............ could you please explain in layman's terms the SCOTUS logic on Citizen's United? lol

-- Posted by Doctlby on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 8:40 AM

Yep, 1962, Engel v. Vitale, when things really started to fall apart in America.........add Roe v. Wade in 1973 to cap it off.

-- Posted by Culture Warrior on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 9:02 AM

2012, Culture Warrior v. The Intellectual Advancement of the Human Race. That's an interesting one.

-- Posted by qMarq19 on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 12:19 AM

qMarq19 good one.

-- Posted by joev on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 12:06 PM

Sticks and stones.......

-- Posted by Culture Warrior on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 8:05 PM

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Randy Cauthron
One Man's Perspective