No. 282

In the vestibule of our church we have a beautiful painting of George Washington kneeling in prayer. From all accounts our nation’s first president was a Godly man, but like me he was also a sinner. If we did not sin we would not need God to give us strength, courage, grace, forgiveness and hope to meet and overcome the challenges that regularly come into our lives. While I respect the beliefs and rights of every human being, prayer is something that is very special and important to me.
It is with these thoughts in mind that I would like to PAY TRIBUTE to a courageous high school principal. For years it has been the custom of thousands of schools across our nation to have a prayer before athletic contests. This prayer, usually over the public address system, was not meant to evangelize but to ask God’s blessings for good sportsmanship and safety and protection for the players. Apparently this custom is coming to an end as a result of a recent Supreme Court ruling that said it was unconstitutional.
In view of this ruling a high school principal in Eastern Tennessee chose not to pray over the PA system, but instead used the opportunity to remind the football fans that night why we should pray. Back on September 1, 2000 Mr. Jody McLoud, principal of the Roane County High School in Kingston, Tennessee stepped to the microphone and spoke these words. “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, 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 at best, inconsistent, 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 with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be at best, inconsistent, 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 to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that’s not against the law...yet.” These remarks were also read by U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp on the House floor and became a part of the Congressional Record. My fellow Americans, to me this is a sad state of affairs and I never advocate breaking the law, but I just wonder what George Washington would think and say if he were here. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)