(Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel)
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.