Archive for Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Sports should remain free from religion

June 28, 2000

The title of this weekly column is "From the Sidelines," because it's supposed to add depth to the usual sports, by giving the reader something more than game stats and quotes.

And many things do happen on the sidelines, most of them good.

Public prayer from the sidelines, however is not good.

And the U.S. Supreme Court agrees.

On Monday it once again upheld the division of church and state, when it decided that allowing a student to lead a stadium in prayer violated that division.

It was right.

True, at first glance there may not seem to be anything wrong with it. Those who want to, pray. Those who don't want to, don't take part in the praying..

But I find things wrong with both student-led public prayer and the logic used to justify it.

First, who really believes that a deity would take time out of its busy schedule to help a team win a game?

And what kind of devout follower would try to reduce his or her god into the means by which to cheat the other team out of victory?

"Oh Lord, please let the other team's running back trip and fumble so we can win. We know we're Your favorite."

Besides being blatant misuse of one's god, public praying also is exclusionary.

When prayer is read over the loud-speaker, you don't pray or not, rather you are left out and offended or not.

Everyone is not a Christian from Kansas. Some people are Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim. Some believe in Jesus, some believe he was a fake. Some people pray to a cross and some people meditate to a small statue. Many aren't sure about any of it.

And they shouldn't have any of it forced on them.

But when the government advocates any religion over another which is what it was doing when it allowed Christian prayer during government-funded events it lends its strength and support to that religion, which undermines everyone's constitutional right to worship anyway they please.

At a football game, which is a public-sponsored event, every fan should get equal opportunity to support the team they pay taxes to and the children they love.

But when a public prayer, in Jesus' name, is spoken as a means of spiritual support for a team or spiritual blessing for a game, it leaves out the support and blessings of those who don't believe Jesus was the Messiah.

The truth is that public-sponsored prayer is public-sponsored bias in an area it is not allowed to be biased in.

Sports are great, and I'm not saying that a person's god doesn't play a role in them but that's for the individual, and not the state, to decide.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.