For those that continue to ignore the warning signs of religious freedom being attacked right here in West Virginia, the following incident will be eye opening. For those that have seen this coming, it is troubling to know how easily our school officials will cave to empty threats and pressure from outside groups with no more influence and power than a rock. But such is the case when people don’t know their rights under the Constitution.
Sissonville High School has a tradition of pre-game prayers for the safety of their players and players from the opposing team. It’s a tradition no one questioned or had a problem with because, as one parent said “This is who we are.” Unfortunately, one parent complained to the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) about the school prayers and that was all it took to have a letter sent from the FFRF to school Superintendent Ron Duerring.
After reading the letter Duerring told school Principal Ron Reedy that any and all prayers must stop immediately.
But as Duerring and Reedy quickly found out, most students and parents do not agree with the decision or the fact that one parent’s complaint can end the tradition. To show their support for the tradition, students and parents wore purple last Friday to symbolize the royalty of Jesus Christ and students led the entire football stadium in the Lord’s Prayer.
In the letter sent to Superintendent Duerring, the FFRF cited Supreme Court Cases related to school sponsored prayers. But my guess is that they did not cite any cases showing that students are constitutionally permitted to lead in prayer, whether over the loud speaker or on the football field. Additionally, faculty, staff, and teachers are also permitted to take part in expressions of faith and prayer as protected by the First Amendment.
But the FFRF doesn’t tell people those things because it would undercut their fear and intimidation tactics. They are very good at making empty threats to unsuspecting groups and organizations that often, unfortunately, cave to their demands out of ignorance and lack of education on their rights. But when groups that are informed stand up to the FFRF they quickly slink back into the dark shadows they came from.
This is why the Family Policy Council strives daily to educate and equip West Virginia’s families on their religious rights, and why we diligently defend those sacred rights from those that would seek to alter the course of our state and nation by seeking to remove God and the faith we hold dear.
Groups like the FFRF don’t want anyone exercising their religious freedom in public, even if it is a guaranteed right embedded in the Bill of Rights. They prefer to tell us all that this is not a Christian nation and faith has no part in the things we do daily, as they said in their letter to Superintendent Duerring:
“The pre-game prayers often were offered ‘in Jesus’ name’…We are not a Christian nation, this is not a Christian school district…Football games . . . are not Christian football games.”
I beg to differ. When football games are played by Christians they certainly can be “Christian football games.” More importantly is the fact that these students have the right to invoke the name of their Creator and Savior and ask for His protection during their activities. We do want our kids to be safe, don’t we?
I would encourage everyone to reach out to Superintendent Duerring and let him know you support Sissonville and their tradition of pre-game prayer. Encourage Mr. Duerring to stand for freedom and truth by not giving in to the misleading advice from the FFRF meant to intimidate him. You can send Duerring a message and stand with Sissonville by clicking here.
For more on this story watch the video below. If the video does not appear automatically, please refresh your browser.
Help Protect the Family Now! Please click here to give through our secure online server
About Nathan Cherry
Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.