FanDuel - WFBC

October 12, 2005

Coach resigns after high school bans pregame prayer: A spokeswoman for the district, Trish LaDuca, said students have the right to pray on school property during school events, but the prayer must be initiated by the students; otherwise it violates the law. "I'm not out preaching, I'm not a preacher," said Borden, who has led the football program for 23 years. He has a 116-100-1 career record, and his team won the Central Jersey Group IV championship in 2004.

posted by smithnyiu to culture at 11:15 AM - 156 comments

Good for the coach to stick to his principles, and good for the school to stick to theirs.

posted by cl at 11:36 AM on October 12

Good for the school to upholding the Constitution. Bad for the coach for not understanding America's historical commitment to civil liberties and for refusing to act, in his job at a public school, according to the rules.

posted by Hugh Janus at 11:47 AM on October 12

I obviously meant to use correct grammar.

posted by Hugh Janus at 11:48 AM on October 12

I meant "good for the coach" in a "good riddance" sort of way.

posted by cl at 12:01 PM on October 12

I'll say a prayer for you heathens.

posted by irunfromclones at 12:13 PM on October 12

Borden stepped down from his position, just hours before his team's 21-0 loss to Sayreville that evening. go Bombers!

posted by goddam at 12:14 PM on October 12

Just once, I wish one of the prayer warriors like this coach believed in a minority religion like Scientology or santeria. His decision to lead students in prayer would then be viewed for what it is -- a school official's inappropriate effort to lend governmental sanction to a particular religion. People on the government payroll should not be leading prayers at school events. I know I'm a godless commie for believing this, but I want the secular government promised in the Constitution.

posted by rcade at 12:15 PM on October 12

Not a fan of praying in school in any capacity. You want to do it, no worries. Coach wants to do it - I'm not feeling that.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:17 PM on October 12

Bad for the coach for not understanding America's historical commitment to civil liberties and for refusing to act, in his job at a public school, according to the rules. He didn't refuse to act. He quit. What better way could he have handled it? Seems as if he disagreed and removed himself from the situation. I meant "good for the coach" in a "good riddance" sort of way. He is the founder of the Snapple Bowl, a charity all-star football game that has raised more than $150,000 for physically and mentally impaired children. Yeah, good riddance, that bastard.

posted by justgary at 12:18 PM on October 12

Football and god go hand in hand. both appeal to the lowest common denominator in this country. I like football slightly more. it's about as boring as church but it is much less dangerous. It seems to me you cheapen the whole religion thing (if that is your bag) by praying for a win in a stupid game. It seems a little blasphemous (i really cant spell good) if you ask me.

posted by HATER 187 at 12:22 PM on October 12

Whenever we get a post like this. It always seems to be "the prayer warriors" fault. Prayers like this have been going in schools for years! What the constitution promised was for us not to have a state sponsered religion! It doesnt promise a secular governement. Prayer in this situation, does not promote a state sponsered religon. The coach should be open minded that it may offend some students but that should completely stop the prayer for those who want.

posted by daddisamm at 12:30 PM on October 12

Whatever gary, I didn't call him a bastard. If he wants to direct prayer at school, he can go coach at a Catholic school and give all he wants to charity. You did the same thing to skydivemom when she had a minor beef about about Wakefield. Someone who does good things is not necessarily a saint in every way.

posted by cl at 12:31 PM on October 12

"I'm very disappointed," Borden said in an interview with News 12 New Jersey Tuesday. "Do I feel we were violating someone's rights? I don't think so." Wrong, Coach. You were violating the rights of students who don't believe the same things as you, but let's move past that a bit, shall we? When are non-religious students going to get over the fact that some people like to pray? Was the coach withholding playing time from them if they refused a little Lord's Prayer? Was Satan's name invoked? It's just prayer, for Christ's sake -- no one was handling snakes or being martyred. It's something many athletes share across age and racial barriers. Is that so horrible? Are the same kids and parents that bitched going to stop handling U.S. currency ("In God We Trust", you know!)? I know I'm being ridiculous. But I'm also about as anti-organized religion person as you'll find, and I find this flat stupid. You don't want to pray -- then don't. But don't call your infringing on other people's rights to do as they wish "secularism," and don't act as if every mention of God is going to force you into thumping a Bible and getting a bad haircut. In other words, stop thinking your views and values are more important than that Christian kid's to your right -- they aren't.

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:36 PM on October 12

Clearly animal sacrifice is a superior choice to prayer in a pre-game situation.

posted by chris2sy at 12:40 PM on October 12

justgary, parse my sentence again. "Act...according to the rules." As in by directing prayer at school. Should make sense to you now. The constitution promises a secular government. If that religious kid to my right wants to pray silently as I think silently of naked cheerleaders, he's welcome to. Prayer, aloud, creates a religious atmosphere. Where else do people pray aloud in groups? Church, that's where. Or church-sponsored events, or in the home. Group prayer is inappropriate in an American public school. It's the law, and it's been that way since the beginning.

posted by Hugh Janus at 12:42 PM on October 12

You did the same thing to skydivemom when she had a minor beef about about Wakefield. Someone who does good things is not necessarily a saint in every way. Oh please. Do you think bringing up things I've said in other threads bothers me? Question someone's heart and accuse him of being spiteful and I'll show you what kind of heart he has if I know. Say good riddance to a coach, who although in the wrong here seems to have done a lot of good, and I'll point out what a ridiculous statement that is. If you want to play victim like I'm picking on you, don't throw out garbage statements.

posted by justgary at 12:42 PM on October 12

When I used to play ball we prayed before every game. It wasnt so much for the win, but to have the same amount of players walk off the field as walked on it. Anyway no one ever made me pray, you could just sit there and not do a damn thing if you wanted to. Everyone else's head is down and their eyes are closed there was no one ever checking to make sure you were praying. I think the coach is stupid for quitting his job, I would have told the team captain to lead the prayer and told him to forget I told him to. If you cant pray with me, I dont think you even need to be on my team of any form.

posted by Drallig9399 at 12:46 PM on October 12

Say good riddance to a coach, who although in the wrong here seems to have done a lot of good, and I'll point out what a ridiculous statement that is. Can he not do just as much good for the community as a functioning member of his church, rather than an authority figure at the public school? I'm not wishing death on the guy or anything, it's just time to find a new job that is more in line with his principles.

posted by cl at 12:53 PM on October 12

Can he not do just as much good for the community as a functioning member of his church, rather than an authority figure at the public school? I can get behind that. If that's what you meant by 'good riddance' I apologize ;)

posted by justgary at 12:56 PM on October 12

The guy is Catholic, he should go find a fucking job coaching football at a Catholic school - problem solved. Or does such an entity no longer exist?

posted by chris2sy at 12:57 PM on October 12

He taught his kids to quit. His players seemed to have learned the lesson: 21-0 What other way to handle it? How about these: He could have accepted the decisions of his administration. He could have encouraged his players to pray privately if they chose to. He could have prayed privately, and the players could pray privately alone or in agroup. Why did he quit his job if he wasn't evangelizing? Because he WAS evangelizing. said Borden, a Catholic. "I believe I made a decision based on principle. I believe that's who I am." Does he quit over every decision in which he disagrees with his administration? The comments by wfrazier above miss the point. The point is that there is no way to determine if someone is disadvantaged becuase they do not join in a team prayer, and the framers of the Constitution wanted to ensure that no one would be put into that type of position, because it promised a governement by the people and for the people, all people, not just those who worship in the majority. Remember, this country was founded by peoples that were being persecuted because of thier religious beliefs. Just do not lead or organize religious activities under the auspices of the government. Seems like a pretty simple and fair rule to follow. rcade, you comments are right on target. Forget Santeria, what if they were a Moslem? daddisamm, I think your first paragraph is wrong as a point of fact.

posted by sfts2 at 12:59 PM on October 12

The bottom line in this whole argument is that the coach did something that was not allowed by both the rules of most every public school in the United States as well as its basic government guide, The Constitution. I am a public school teacher and I would not ever invoke a prayer in my classroom. It is against the law and the coach knew that. Whether or not anyone is offended within the locker room is imaterial, he broke the rules and he must deal with it.

posted by dubrducke at 12:59 PM on October 12

I understand the separation of church and state, but I also know that people need something to believe in sometimes. If they want to pray fine, let them pray, if not, hey check out your cleats and make sure they are tied tight if you don't want to pray. For some, that gives them time to reach within and believe that them can do it and will do it. I understand the schools decision, but........for what you did coach,I'll see you in heaven.

posted by dbl0-7 at 01:08 PM on October 12

daddisamm, I think your first paragraph is wrong as a point of fact wrong as a point of fact? Do some reading on the subject. What the "founding fathers" wanted was to avoid state sponsered religion. The church of England was Basically in control of the governement. If they wanted a secular government. Why are there references to God in the Constitution? Why do they have a chaplain in the congress? Why do they open a session with a prayer? The speration of church of state of today's standard is a rather new thing. For years, prayer and readings of the Bible were common practices in schools. There is going to be major disagreement on this topic. I dont think we'll solve it all here. The only people getting hurt here are the student athletes. The coach should have stayed with the team and worked around the schools boards rules. It would have been easier to get his point across that way.

posted by daddisamm at 01:18 PM on October 12

What the constitution promised was for us not to have a state sponsered religion! An employee-led prayer at a public school before a group of students is a state sponsorship of religion.

posted by rcade at 01:30 PM on October 12

Why are there references to God in the Constitution? There are absolutely zero references to God in the Constitution.

posted by cl at 01:32 PM on October 12

Just once, I wish one of the prayer warriors like this coach believed in a minority religion like Scientology or santeria. His decision to lead students in prayer would then be viewed for what it is -- a school official's inappropriate effort to lend governmental sanction to a particular religion. This is exactly my problem with setting guidelines for acceptable prayers. Allow teachers to lead prayers, but then realize that they will not only be Christian prayers. It becomes a very dangerous path to tread down. And, daddisamm, our forefathers did not imagine the diversity that we would be confronted with today, but they did realize the principle that keeping government separate from religion is a value to cherish. It is this principle that is the basis of our Constitution.

posted by bperk at 01:33 PM on October 12

Unfortunate event. Coach was probably a great guy, but he's breaking the law. He's gotta go. Anybody who says he should not be fired, really doesn't have a leg to stand on legally. I don't like the law, but I understand the need for it. To all those complainers - send your kids to a private Christian school, and hire this coach.

posted by Bill Lumbergh at 01:48 PM on October 12

Everyone who thinks that the Constitution forbids religion had better reread the 1st Amendment. Actually, just the 1st word of the Amendment. It says that Congress can't sponsor a religion and Congress is the Federal government. The people who keep saying that there is suppose to be a seperation of church and state are the people who want to ban all religions. The Founding Fathers never had any intention in banning religion from the states, counties, or cities. They just wanted to prevent a Church of England in this country. Many of the colonies where started based on one religion or another. So all this crap about seperation of church and state is just that... CRAP. The coach did the right thing in quitting. Now we just need to get more people to start standing to the minority who want to destroy all religion.

posted by wjcoats at 01:58 PM on October 12

"You can't run a country by a book of religion, not by a heap, or a lump, or a smidgeon of foolish rules of ancient date, designed to make you all FEEL GREAT, while we fold, spindle, and mutilate those unbelievers from a neighboring state"

posted by sinisterfoot at 02:10 PM on October 12

When are non-religious students going to get over the fact that some people like to pray? Was the coach withholding playing time from them if they refused a little Lord's Prayer?
We don't know that the students are non-religious. Central New Jersey has significant Hindu and Jewish populations; the students could have been uncomfortable praying to a god of a different faith. While I agree that people should, in general, stand up against things they disagree with, we're talking about a group of boys 15-18 playing team sports here. I don't know what kind of coaches you all had, but my coaches, to a large extent, were the sort of people that expected you to obey them without question. If I was asked to take a knee and pray, I did, because they viewed the slightest manifestation of individuality as a sign of weakness on the team. As someone who was benched for wearing inappropriate practice attire (a "Big Johnson" t-shirt), I can only imagine what would have happened if I had directly questioned the coach's god.

posted by hellx at 02:16 PM on October 12

Everyone who thinks that the Constitution forbids religion had better reread the 1st Amendment. Actually, just the 1st word of the Amendment. Done. "Congress." How enlightening.

posted by Hugh Janus at 02:20 PM on October 12

Holy shit - we are wrong about seperation of church and state? That really what the founding father's meant was just don't have a state sponsored religion like England? And that the country was always meant to be a land of Jesus and sunshine and Christian monotheism? What the fuck is with the double speak? Either you're secular and have a separation of church and state (state then = secular) or you don't. This line of reasoning (that Congress has a prayer, that it's says God on our money are symbols of the true intention of Christian rule) strikes me in the same vein as all this other revisionist clap-trap. It's a self-serving interpretation. Isn't it enough that our laws are based on the basic Christian ethos? Which is the same basic ethos of every other major religion? It seems to me that it is extremely important for some Americans these days to have some kind of divine moral foundation, because of all the terrible shit America is doing all over the world. It seems to be why we have all these issues about the role and place of God in everyday life. And it strikes me as going around the real issue. It's regressive, and just a little too oriented around justifying actions, rather than having ideas.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:21 PM on October 12

Keep your Jesus off my football!

posted by chris2sy at 02:35 PM on October 12

I've never seen an issue so devisive. we can't decide if these religious people are annoying idiots or evil fucks. brother, sister come together lets just call them evil annoying idiot fucks.

posted by HATER 187 at 02:36 PM on October 12

So it wouldn't been a problem if some of the students wanted to initiate a satanic prayer before the game? Do religious people really think God gives the first damn about whether they win a football game? That's one damned micro-managing God, that's for sure. And what chris2sy said.

posted by fenriq at 02:43 PM on October 12

The coach is an idiot, there are so many ways around this and he never even tried. I wouldnt want a man like him to be my leader, he is a quitter. I think that is what is wrong with our country, there are stone cold killers in jail that believe in God but we have people walking around saying there shouldnt be prayer at football games, hmmmmm. So anyone know when we are changing the pledge of allegiance and our currency. Is God the new curse word at school now?

posted by Drallig9399 at 02:52 PM on October 12

The people who keep saying that there is suppose to be a seperation of church and state are the people who want to ban all religions. Not only is that a stupid generalization, but religion is not the beautiful flower bed you seem to think it is: The Crusades Albigensian Crusade, 1208-49 Algeria, 1992- Baha'is, 1848-54 Bosnia, 1992-95 Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1901 Christian Romans, 30-313 CE Croatia, 1991-92 Early Christian doctrinal disputes English Civil War, 1642-46 Holocaust, 1938-45 Huguenot Wars, 1562-1598 India, 1992-2002 India: Suttee & Thugs Indo-Pakistani Partition, 1947 Iran, Islamic Republic, 1979- Iraq, Shiites, 1991-92 Jews, 1348 Jonestown, 1978 Lebanon 1860, 1975-92 Molucca Is., 1999- Mongolia, 1937-39 Northern Ireland, 1974-98 Russian pogroms, 1905-06, 1917-22 St. Bartholemew Massacre, 1572 Shang China, ca. 1300-1050 BCE Shimabara Revolt, Japan 1637-38 Sikh uprising, India, 1984-91 Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1834 Taiping Rebellion, 1850-64 Thirty Years War, 1618-48 Tudor England Vietnam, 1800s Witch Hunts, 1400-1800 Xhosa, 1857 Arab Outbreak, 7th Century CE Arab-Israeli Wars, 1948- Al Qaeda, 1993- Crusades, 1095-1291 Dutch Revolt, 1566-1609 Nigeria, 1990s, 2000s So, if I were going to make an asinine generalization like you did, maybe I'd say something like: "The people who keep saying that organized religions are good and should be a part of the government are the people who like to kill other people if they don't share the same beliefs." But then I would be wrong, as are you. Believe what you want to, but keep it to yourself. My relationship to God is my business, yours is yours, and I'd like to keep it that way.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:58 PM on October 12

There are so many ways around the Bill of Rights, huh? You're not much of an American if you think like that.

posted by Hugh Janus at 02:58 PM on October 12

I think that is what is wrong with our country, there are stone cold killers in jail that believe in God but we have people walking around saying there shouldnt be prayer at football games, hmmmmm. You're right, we're fucked.

posted by cobra! at 02:59 PM on October 12

The lyrics to Frank Zappa's "Dumb All Over" - check it out - he was right......we are DUMB ALL OVER if we base our laws on religion - that is called FACISISM...and Reagan really got the ball rolling.....followed by poppa Bush......

posted by sinisterfoot at 03:01 PM on October 12

You know, HATER 187's right. I beseech youuuuuu.

posted by chicobangs at 03:13 PM on October 12

There is a bigger choice in life and the coach did the right thing. I would rather be labeled as a servant of God than a servant of man.

posted by daweav at 03:17 PM on October 12

I would rather be labeled as a servant of God than a servant of man. Right, because the two things are mutually exclusive then I guess huh? Besides I thought "To Serve Man" was a cookbook?

posted by chris2sy at 03:26 PM on October 12

I agree that he did the right thing if his religious belief were such that he felt compelled to lead his students in prayer. It just isn't the job for him. However, many people hold religious beliefs that would allow them to both be teachers in public schools and follow those rules and still be a servant of God.

posted by bperk at 03:28 PM on October 12

I have not read within this forum, or in actuality ever in my recollection, ever heard anyone posit that the Costitution forbids religion, quite the opposite is true in fact. What the First Amendment to the Constitution states is: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..." Which has been interpreted by courts and precedents over 250 years to include the right to practice no religion, and to fundamentally preclude any branch or representative of any government entity at any level to officially sanction any specific religious practice or pass any law regarding religion. (last phrase is my interpretation) (What about Christmas?) daddisamm, Your second try was also wrong as multiple points of fact. With a full-text copy of the document in question just a Google search string away, why embarrass yourself? Obligatory rhetorical question: Why is it that zealots cannot just hold their religious beliefs to themselves, and stop trying to force everyone to believe as they do? Very little difference between Christian zealots and Islamic zealots. Sheesh. What a way to go through life.

posted by sfts2 at 03:37 PM on October 12

Missed Drallig9399's comments and I could not let them pass. I think, that is pretty much what the school officials were trying to avoid. "If you can't pray with me, get off my team." Succinct.

posted by sfts2 at 03:48 PM on October 12

here's a couple more articles from the local paper.

posted by goddam at 03:55 PM on October 12

Very little difference between Christian zealots and Islamic zealots Or the Borg.

posted by chris2sy at 03:58 PM on October 12

snoogans

posted by garfield at 04:01 PM on October 12

I like sports and pancakes. A lot.

posted by JohnSFO at 04:17 PM on October 12

You know I don't want my coach praying but I sure like the Christmas break we get so we can go to Disneyland(haha). Get real people I don't think they were praying for a win but for safety and it should be led by the kids who want to do it not a coach in a public school. He was right to step down and he should look for a christian school. I do enjoy having my kids pray to themselves at school (my birth kids) or with some friends but I don't want some coach who may not believe the way I do and misleading my kids. If I want a christian education I will send them to a christian school. If I wanted a muslim education, I would send them to a muslim school. I want an education for my kids and the opportunity to play football and still keep their own beliefs. Not some coaches who I may not agree with.

posted by skydivemom at 04:23 PM on October 12

I went to Catholic school where we were compelled to participate in athletics. Maybe my memory is failing, but I can't remember a whole lot of pre-game prayers in ~8 seasons of inter-scholatic competition. I don't have anything constructive to add, it just strikes me as weird.

posted by yerfatma at 04:27 PM on October 12

> here's a couple more articles from the local paper. And now half the team will quit, nice role model. I was somewhat sympathetic before, now 'get the fuck outa here.' I guess 'a moment of reflection' prior to the game is out of the question for all these self-aggrandizing quitters. These comments are fairly whiny and actually pathetic, made even more so by the ridiculous air of moral superiority. What a leader of men. Lets all quit when we have to do something we disagree with, particularly if we can shroud it in some fog of 'principle.' What exactly is the principle that is being stood for here? The right to ignore direction from bosses? The right to ignore the law of the land if your personal beliefs conflict? I wonder if the Constitutional scholars from above could find these in the Bill of Rights...

posted by sfts2 at 04:33 PM on October 12

These comments are fairly whiny and actually pathetic, made even more so by the ridiculous air of moral superiority. that's east brunswick for ya.

posted by goddam at 04:38 PM on October 12

Looks like enough precedents are accumulating across different courts that a determined parent could get the issue to the Supremes. Chris2y, what do you think?

posted by billsaysthis at 04:42 PM on October 12

We don't know that the students are non-religious. Central New Jersey has significant Hindu and Jewish populations; the students could have been uncomfortable praying to a god of a different faith. He could have encouraged his players to pray privately if they chose to. He could have prayed privately, and the players could pray privately alone or in a group. Good points, helix and sfts2. And I have no problem with those of other faiths praying or not praying as they choose. It just shouldn't stop those who do wish to pray from doing so, and the coach could have easily just told someone else to lead the prayer and joined in afterward. What I'm railing against is the apparent need to erase every little bit of religion tied anywhere to the government. That's the revisionist attitude in my eyes -- well, golly, that guy doesn't believe exactly what I believe, so we'd better shut everybody up! Why does it say "In God We Trust" on our money? Why do we say "one nation, under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? For some sense of the religious statistics in America, here are some numbers from our friends, the U.S. Census Bureau. Good Lord, but that's a lot of Christians! And they're getting shoved around by (at most) 25% of the population! No wonder they're all Raptured up about the way things are going! But fuck 'em, they're Christians! They're all Bushies! Beat 'em back! Calming down... I have no finishing point here. I'm just not getting how a copy of the Ten Commandments or a small prayer is trampling the American Way underfoot. Someone clue me in.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:58 PM on October 12

Actually, I'm kind of behind the times as far as reading these type of cases, but apparently Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000), held that a pre-game prayer led by students was unconstitutional...so you know one by a coach or other employee of the district probably won't go over well. I only glanced at it, but it was news to me. I have to keep up on my prayer law I guess? Like I said, I don't know if its onpoint because I only glanced at it briefly.

posted by chris2sy at 05:03 PM on October 12

Why do we say "one nation, under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Because some anti-commies thought it would be a good add in the 50s.

posted by holden at 05:11 PM on October 12

Why do we say "one nation, under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Didn't we already have this discussion?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:27 PM on October 12

The lyrics to Frank Zappa's "Dumb All Over" - check it out - he was right......we are DUMB ALL OVER if we base our laws on religion - that is called FACISISM Actually this is fascism(maybe facisism is something else though): "A philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism." (From The American Heritage Dictionary) Alot of overreacting on this subject but i think that's pretty normal with religion. I'm sure the coach(and other "prayer warriors"/"zealots") beleive Christian rights are being trampled on but it's an awfully silly way to make a stand. You don't need a team, or even a vocal, prayer to practice Christianity. If he wants his players to pray before the game couldn't he just have a moment of silence before the game in which his players could pray or not pray as they saw fit. Why is it that zealots cannot just hold their religious beliefs to themselves, and stop trying to force everyone to believe as they do? Because they wouldn't be zealots if they didn't have zeal. And what's so hard to understand about evangelism? If, as a Christian, you beleive that the only way to heaven is through Christ then it's a natural conclusion to convert as many as possible.

posted by tron7 at 05:35 PM on October 12

Apparently, the trappings of Christianity (public prayer, visual representations of the ten commandments, etc) are most important than actual Christian behavior for many modern Christians. It continues to devolve into the religion about Christ instead of the religion of Christ. WWJD in this situation? Probably he would stick around with the team and invite his student to pray on their own if they so desired whenever they wanted to. At least from my reading of the Bible.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:46 PM on October 12

hey did you guys hear about the football coach who held his players down and let beavers chew on their toes before the game? he was totally in the right- after all did you guys know the Constitution DOESN'T CONTAIN THE EXACT WORDS 'YOU MAY NOT HOLD PEOPLE DOWN AND LET BEAVERS CHEW ON THEIR TOES??' That's how we know the founders were totally cool with it. Also, Jefferson once wrote the word "toes" in a letter, and there's some evidence Washington may have said the word "beavers" at some point in 1786.

posted by drjimmy11 at 05:48 PM on October 12

Okay, now that was funny. Thanks, drjimmy11.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:57 PM on October 12

Franklin, in particular, was a huge fan of beaver.

posted by Joey Michaels at 06:03 PM on October 12

Funny but misguided. On either side of the fence you have to make an interpretation because "football" appears nowhere in the constitution. But funny nonetheless.

posted by tron7 at 06:05 PM on October 12

"I believe that I made the right decision," said Borden, a Catholic. "I believe I made a decision based on principle. I believe that's who I am." It is amazing how so many of you can criticize this coach for doing exactly what you seemingly would prefer - take his religion and beliefs out of the school. Maybe to some people, including this coach, there are some things more important than sports. God forbid?! If someone stood up for their principles on something besides their religious beliefs, most of you would probably praise them.

posted by graymatters at 06:05 PM on October 12

Maybe to some people, including this coach, there are some things more important than sports. God forbid?! He abandoned his team. I'm not so sure this was the best way to stand on his principles.

posted by tron7 at 06:14 PM on October 12

It is amazing how so many of you can criticize this coach for doing exactly what you seemingly would prefer - take his religion and beliefs out of the school. Not me. My only criticism would be for publicly practicing his religion in school in the first place.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:57 PM on October 12

Amen lbb. Pun intended.

posted by smithnyiu at 07:05 PM on October 12

And on the seventh day, God created the National Football League. And on the evening after the seventh day God gave man a gift called ABC Monday Night Football. Thank God for football and God bless coach Borden. I bet if he was praying to Satan with the boys no one would care about that.

posted by pikkukani at 07:19 PM on October 12

daddisamm, Your second try was also wrong as multiple points of fact. With a full-text copy of the document in question just a Google search string away, why embarrass yourself? Because I can--

posted by daddisamm at 07:24 PM on October 12

Are you guys telling me that if a coach leads a pregame prayer, that makes him a zealot? Does anybody here even know what this man's spiritual backround is? (other than him being a Catholic) There is alot of assuming going on here.

posted by daddisamm at 07:33 PM on October 12

daddisamm, if he feels so strongly about his religion that he must engage in a public display of it in direct contravention of the law -- and when, upon being told, feels he must quit his job rather than obey the law -- I'd call him a zealot, yes.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:48 PM on October 12

I feel bad for the guy and shame on all you liberals that think seperation af church and state means that people are not allowed to pray. It means that the government cannot tell us that we have to be a certain religion. not that we are not allowed to have religion. It is our choice to pay not to pary or worship trees if that is what suits us. I am tired of being told I cannot pray. It isn't like second hand smoke, my pray will not kill you.

posted by ryr1dvr38 at 08:20 PM on October 12

I ment my prayer will not kill you.

posted by ryr1dvr38 at 08:21 PM on October 12

ryrwhatever, you're right, your prayer will not kill me. And if I dump a bucket of hog guts over your head, that won't kill you either. So, I can do it, right? It beats me why you're so tired of being told you cannot pray, since no one has done that. However, if you can't pray any other way than out loud, in a public school, and leading others in same, then you are indeed SOL in these United States. There are countries out there where prayer in school is not only allowed but mandated; perhaps you'd prefer one of them?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:31 PM on October 12

I would rather die believing there is a God, than die believing there isn't and find out there is. Rev. Hank

posted by Rev_Hank at 08:51 PM on October 12

I doudt they Pray for a win , I would like to believe that they pray that no one gets hurt. Rev_ Hank

posted by Rev_Hank at 09:00 PM on October 12

If the Pledge of Allegiance is allowed, which for all intents and purposes is a vow to God, hence, a prayer, then why can't a coach pray for his players? Perhaps he was praying that his players emphasize sportsmanship, not victory. And if you believe for a moment that there is a separation of church and state...check out the last couple of elections, and look at the Christian lobbyist groups. I'm not arguing for or against prayer, but to say that you're immediately against ANYTHING without looking at all sides of the issue first is simply ignorant.

posted by supersly26 at 09:00 PM on October 12

LBB- I understand what you are saying. I do have to ask this: Have you ever quit something just on princable(sp)? That in itself doesnt make you bad..or does it?

posted by daddisamm at 09:01 PM on October 12

daddisamm, where did I say anything about this coach's quitting making him a bad person?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:12 PM on October 12

If the Pledge of Allegiance is allowed, which for all intents and purposes is a vow to God, The whole business about God in the Pledge of Allegiance has already been explained in this thread, not once but twice. Please read the links, and then if you want to continue using the presence of the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to bolster your position in support of school prayer, go right ahead...but you're standing on a very wobbly leg.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:17 PM on October 12

May God Bless each of you non-believers that you may see the error of your ways! I truely mean that! The coach is no quitter, he held the job for 23 years. He was the constant in that football program. I am sure students, teachers, and even principles came and went in that time. You know, it's only been in the last few years that this has become such a huge issue. It makes me all the happier that I have sent my kids to Catholic School. We should get vouchers for school and privatize it so that I can go my way and embrace God in all that I do and those who do not believe may go on non-believing without me distracting or isolating them. Yes, of course prayer is for safety, strength, discipline, etc, not for victory (at least not primarily for victory). One parting thought related to the statements regarding how bad religion is. It is like the saying that guns don't kill people, people kill people. Religion does not kill people, fanatical idiots (likely insane) whom claim to be religious or driven by God, kill people. Noone has ever been stabbed, shot, beaten, frozen, poisoned, strangled, or otherwise physically injured by religion. I know a lot of wonderful people and they are all true men and woman of God (although none of them perfect and none thinhk they are). Some of you just need to expand your circle of associates.

posted by inhimitrust at 09:30 PM on October 12

I think if you are going to scream freedom than you need to scream it for everyone. Just because you are in a majority does that make you better? We have these rules to make it equal for everyone and that is what I believe this country is based on.....something like... hmmm.... I don't know.... all men are created equal? What if you believed that the God was out to hurt you why would you want to pray for his protection? I don't personally believe this way but have to make room for the person who does and not force my opinions and beliefs on him in a public school. Teach me how to play football and pray for me silently if you need to.

posted by skydivemom at 09:40 PM on October 12

Here is the thing, and this is something that will be making more and more news in the future, you heard it hear first. Christians, Muslims, Buddist, what ever are going to start suing for their right to pray. There have been so many lawsuits forbidding prayer in public that it is now discrimination against anyone who wants to pray. The constitution does not forbid prayer, it simply states that you are not allowed to force others to follow your religion. Once the constitution starts getting interprited that way watch out all you anti prayer people. The Puritans were run out of their country for beliving the way that they did. When given the oportunity to come to the New World they celebrated their new found freedom, but what did they do, they persecuted people that did not believe the same way that they did. Hence Seperation of State and Religion. The founding Fathers wanted the people to decide how they wanted to worship, if at all, not the government. We are a proud people. We like our freedoms, we like our idividuality, and when someone starts to take those away from us we are not afraid to answer the call to arms. We are in such a wash of political correctness that we are afraid to take a stand on anything. Now the few are going to rise and start doing that, and we will truly have freedom of tyranny, persecution, social injustices, and terror.

posted by go notre dame at 09:40 PM on October 12

Someone must have nailed this thread to the door of the Castle Church or something... Oh well, heresy loves company. Yes, I know...filthy non-believer this and shameful liberal that...

posted by chris2sy at 09:51 PM on October 12

No matter what the outcome of any of this, someone is going to be unhappy. There will always be some faction of people who will be having the freedoms "infringed upon".

posted by ohiodonnell at 09:55 PM on October 12

To explain something a little further that some people have a hard time grasping. If I choose to pray it is my choice. It is your choice to join or not too. I am not forcing my beliefs on you. I am not hurting you in anyway, you have your rights to what you want to do. Now as far as "And if I dump a bucket of hog guts over your head, that won't kill you either. So, I can do it, right?" that is different. You are forcing me into your activity. Your rights stop where mine start. That is what the Constitution is all about. That is what us Zealots are all about. If we are forcing you to join us in prayer then shame on us, but I have yet to see that happen. However we have been forced out of jobs and into silence because you "heathens" refuse to honor our rights to pray wether out loud, silent, in public, in private, or even in a group. As I said earlier, it is only a matter of time before the lawsuits begin to happen.

posted by go notre dame at 10:01 PM on October 12

We should get vouchers for school and privatize it If you get vouchers, you're not privatizing it. You're appropriating my tax dollars to pay for your kids' private schooling. Opt in, or opt out.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:03 PM on October 12

go notre dame, I very much agree with you, and lil_brown_bat, I agree with you as well. Vouchers should not be an option, but as I said before, no one will ever be happy. There will always be a problem with this subject.

posted by ohiodonnell at 10:14 PM on October 12

If you get vouchers, you're not privatizing it. You're appropriating my tax dollars to pay for your kids' private schooling. Opt in, or opt out. Nope, I would be appropriating "my" tax dollars to pay for my kids private schooling. As it is, everyone keeps saying go private if you want prayer in school. Well, I did. I am not infringing on anyone and no one is infringing on me. However, the way I see it, because I pay for my kids school, I am subsidizing your kid's education with my tax dollars when all I want is to have that grow up in a god filled world, rather than godless, the people are much happier and hopeful (less bitter). Funny thing is aslo, some parents send there non-catholic kids to my kid's catholic school and subject them to theology/religion, etc. because it's the cheapest of the nearby private schools. I will say this. I want God in my life(and my childrens) and in all I do. However, I do not want to hurt/isolate, etc. other people in the process (that would of course be against who I strive to be), so, some solution must be had to suit all parties, it cannot be all one way or the other. Can anyone see how that is unfair???

posted by inhimitrust at 10:28 PM on October 12

o.k. - allow me one shame on you! If you give/receive presents on Christmas (Christ Birthday celebration) and then come out to sites like this and blast prayer, religion, etc., then SHAME ON YOU!!!! You have no dignity and no right to have such an opinion until you stand behind it!!!

posted by inhimitrust at 10:39 PM on October 12

If I choose to pray it is my choice. It is your choice to join or not too. I am not forcing my beliefs on you. This is the fundamental problem in the support of sponsored prayer. By leading a team prayer, you ARE forcing your beliefs on all those involved. I'm a Christian, and I am sometimes uncomfortable being subjected to mass prayer when it's a religious situation. How do you think any players who avoided the prayer would be treated by the coach and the other majority of players who participated in the prayer? This is not to "blast" prayer, which I do pray privately, but rather a disagreement with forced/sponsored prayer.

posted by littleLebowski at 10:42 PM on October 12

I meant that I'm uncomfortable when it's NOT a relegious situation

posted by littleLebowski at 10:43 PM on October 12

How do you think any players who avoided the prayer would be treated by the coach and the other majority of players who participated in the prayer? This is not realistic. I think if a player went and told a coach that he was uncomfortable with the prayer and wanted to be excluded, the coach would go out of his way to accomodate him/her, especially in todays society. It's not like we (secular society) are lynching people for not bowing there heads or anything. Coaches play kids based on ability and attitude (grades, etc) and sometimes they let bad attitudes go, but mistreating or not playing them because they are not praying, come on.......I grew up playing organized sports and I coach today, this is not realistic....how can someone call themselves christians if they do not promote acceptance and understanding.......

posted by inhimitrust at 10:59 PM on October 12

In retrospect, inhimitrust, including the coach in my comment was unfair, but it had nothing to do with playing time. However, I coach as well, and to say that the coach is not subjecting any "non-participators" to potential issues with their teammates is extremely naive. It still doesn't answer the issue that people, regardless of reason or religious background, should have the reasonable expectation to not be subjected to someone else's eligious beliefs at a football game.

posted by littleLebowski at 11:14 PM on October 12

daddisamm, where did I say anything about this coach's quitting making him a bad person? You didnt LBB. I was assuming that by calling him a Zealot, you meant in a negative manner. My limited Vocabulary could not find a better word than "bad" I am sorry. When we hear the word "prayer" many folkstend to think of it in a negative light. That is how I came up with the word "hate"

posted by daddisamm at 11:33 PM on October 12

"Subjecting to" is such a painful sounding thing....It must be terrible for a child to hear an adult praying for there safety and well being to a God they do not believe in. They could just as well be saying I sure hope noone gets hurt. I played football growing up and can never remember not praying before a game, but, that's just me.....also, coach never said repeat after me or else, it was always him praying outloud. We said amen when he finished!!! I would counter that it is naive to think/assume that it's a hyper real danger and every time we pray it's a chance for someone to be hurt by such activity. Kids are subjected to all sorts of real world terrible things, I just don't see how this is one of them. That all being said....I would agree that people (children especially) should not be made to feel isolated and or singled out, although I have never seen this in practical application. The best idea I heard on this board was for a minute of silence. During which one may ponder, pray, focus, whatever. This seems fairly reasonable. For the most part, this seems like overzealous parents superemposing there issues onto them, while most of them could care less one way or the other......

posted by inhimitrust at 11:37 PM on October 12

It happens,especially in a team environment - anyone not following team traditions are ridculed. I'm thankful you haven't had to deal with that. I do respect comments like those of inhimitrust. I would doubt that most on this board (I know I speak for myself) are against the good intentions of a simple "prayer". It's just that there's no easy way to keep "please lord, keep all players safe" from expanding into someone's more forceful religious beliefs. I agree, though - intelligent and well-intentioned people should be able to find a way to handle this kind of thing respectfully.

posted by littleLebowski at 12:09 AM on October 13

Man this hit 100 faster than a Jeter traded to the Red Sox post would have!

posted by jojomfd1 at 12:18 AM on October 13

The best idea I heard on this board was for a minute of silence. During which one may ponder, pray, focus, whatever. Hey that was my idea. For the most part, this seems like overzealous parents superemposing there issues onto them Ah... are you talking about yourself? It's ok to be zealous but if you don't make sense or at least think before you type no one will listen to you.... but they may make fun of you. That goes for you to little l.

posted by tron7 at 12:28 AM on October 13

If you get vouchers, you're not privatizing it. You're appropriating my tax dollars to pay for your kids' private schooling. Opt in, or opt out As opposed to you appropriating my tax dollars for your kids public education? I'm not a voucher hero or anything but that seems a bit hypocritical. If it's worth the same as a public education what can you possibly have against it. sorry, off subject.

posted by tron7 at 12:32 AM on October 13

For the most part, this seems like overzealous parents superemposing there issues onto them, while most of them could care less one way or the other...... I was not speaking of myself....I meant the board at large, especially the extreme stuff, and I should have said projecting their issues onto their children. Meaning, ask most kids and they could care less, they don't have a well formed religous or non-religious stance and even when they do, it's obviously a reflection of the parents. I just remember as a child athlete appreciating that moment in which the coach(es) wished us well and wished us safe and so forth. It made me feel good, genuinely. O.K., maybe a little bit I am speaking of myself in the projecting statement, but, what other reference do I have, I cannot speak for children, noone knows what they are thinking. :-) You get my point though, we care a lot more than most kids/young adults. Most ridiculing I witnessed in sports was against kids that had inferior talent, not kids that acted different. If your the best kid on the team you can pray to satan and noone would care.

posted by inhimitrust at 12:47 AM on October 13

One last thought.....If I coach for 23 years, and during that time I pray before all games over my team, after 23 years you better believe it's my team, and then some know it all decides that what I have been doing for 23 years is suddenly unacceptable by todays PC standards and I want to quit over it. The people who want to call me a quitter or ridicule me for standing up not just for what I believe, but, for "my way", could kiss my ass I would have to say! Also, what the heck are we talking about, it's prayer before FOOTBALL!!!!! Each year, kid's die at practices preparing to play football and kid's die in games. Adults die in games. Simple changes could save some lives, but, we spend our time debating the malice of prayer, which, as of yet has not killed anyone. You don't even have to wear pads and a helmet for protection to do it. It's generally pain free. What we are really debating here is the existence of God and the perception of atheist that my vocal, public belief in God is an infringement on their right not to believe.

posted by inhimitrust at 01:07 AM on October 13

There goes my idea for a Spofi debate team.

posted by yerfatma at 06:11 AM on October 13

I'm praying that this thread dies soon.

posted by Bill Lumbergh at 06:26 AM on October 13

It is amazing how many swear words enter into the picture by people who are defending prayer in school. Is that the kind of prayer you would offer? I don't see anyone really debating the exsistance of God just that we do need to make it equal for everyone. Not allowing anyone in authority to lead the prayers. If the kids want it so bad they will stand up for it and do it themselves. What kind of education are we giving them if we don't show all men are created equal and believe me kids are like sponges and everything we show them has an direct effect on them. If you want to teach them how to pray than do it at home and when you go to church. This is your responsibiltiy as a parent. Explain to them that if they want to pray for safety before the game that is fine and if they want to pray for the guy who doesn't pray is fine too if it isn't forced on the guy.

posted by skydivemom at 06:34 AM on October 13

I'm praying that this thread dies soon. Yes, but are you leading a group of unwitting students in this prayer?

posted by mayerkyl at 07:17 AM on October 13

I dont see anyone FORCING anyone.Prayer is a freedom, and a God given one not man.Anyone can Choose not to pray that is their right,and i'm angry (yes cristians get angry)we as a nation(founded by cristians)have lost our connection with God. Is it any wonder that this great nation is going in the toliet?

posted by at 07:52 AM on October 13

Ah, the glorious "nation is going in the toilet" post ... Lumbergh, your wish has come true, this thread is truly dead. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, Take care.

posted by littleLebowski at 08:31 AM on October 13

Oh my gosh did you see how completely that inhimitrust missed my point. And dead600 how do you misspell "christians," of all the words you could get wrong.

posted by tron7 at 08:36 AM on October 13

I find it interesting that we are debating the merits of whether or not it is appropriate to pray for the safety of our children before we strap pads onto them and engage them in a sport that can be accurately understood as a parable of war. The language used in football is war-like (long bombs, ground attack, etc.) , and the game is very much like a battle to occupy territory. Truthfully, I think that the Christian element is quite fitting within that context. Say your prayers - then join the fray. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for competition, but this is a cultural issue. In many parts of the south, praying is a part of the culture of sport. In the North, not as much. It's not nearly as insidious as some are making it out to be, and also not remotely as devout or pure as others are - it is dogma and a clash of culture. IMHO, praying before football does not bring one closer to God. That's just Church Marketing. Dead600 - that's a ludicrous notion. A nation is not and cannot be described in the same way one would describe a person. It doesn't have an agenda, goal or connection with God. The nation is also, by any scale, incredibly young. There have been many great nations - and there is ebb and flow throughout history. Furthering a connection to God will not prevent China from having a larger marketplace, or maintain the necessity of American armed forces defending the West against the tyranny of other nations who alledgedly have a closer connection to God.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:51 AM on October 13

Prayer, aloud, creates a religious atmosphere. Where else do people pray aloud in groups? Church, that's where. Or church-sponsored events, or in the home. Group prayer is inappropriate in an American public school Does someone having the right to say they are gay create a gay atmosphere? What has the world come to when people have more of a right to say what they are into sexually vs. what they believe in spiritually.

posted by RZA at 09:18 AM on October 13

You know I played a lot of football over the years and before every game we would pray, not for a win, but that we would not get injured and would just play well. If someone didn't believe in God, just the thought of "I can actually get killed out on this field" changed their mind to "Well???...go ahead and pray--it just might keep my leg from getting broke tonight. Also, for those who are thinking that the prayer was Christian based, Christ name was never mentioned only God (which only excludes an atheist). Now that I think about: We didn't have guy's getting seriously injured....probably was the prayer!

posted by well??? at 09:25 AM on October 13

and ZING! the point goes whizzing by RZA's head. Or do you belong to some church where stating the words, "I'm a Christian" are equivalent to prayer? Man, I bet it's really easy to make your prayer quota in that church -- you could rack it up in a couple of hours the day before the due date! All of this wailing and gnashing of teeth about Christians being deprived of their rights (and if you think it's not just Christians, wellquestionmarks, you just fell off the turnip truck) is such a load of hypocritical horse manure. No one has ever forbidden Christians, or anyone else, from having their own little personal, private, individual moment of silence before a high school football game, or anywhere else. It's certain Christians who have perverted their own religion by taking prayer, all that prayer can be, and reducing it to some kind of semi-coercive public performance. I guess the only time these Christians are able to pray and communicate with their God is out loud and in a situation where anyone else who's there is expected to go along. Well, that's a real shame and a horrible state of spiritual impoverishment, I'd say -- but it's your problem. Don't make it everybody else's.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:39 AM on October 13

Any way to get a count of how many people joined just for this thread?

posted by bperk at 09:48 AM on October 13

Now that I think about: We didn't have guy's getting seriously injured....probably was the prayer! Yep. Had to be. One morning I picked the crust out of my eye, and you know it's the darndest thing-- I didn't get hit by a bus! Now it's like every time I pick eye boogers, I don't get run over! What has this great NATION UNDER MUCUS come to when people aren't even allowed to remove secretions from their eyes with their pointer finger?!

posted by cl at 09:55 AM on October 13

What about when you pray and get hurt anyway? Guess God was screening his calls that day huh? Mysterious ways indeed.

posted by chris2sy at 10:04 AM on October 13

I guess the only time these Christians are able to pray and communicate with their God is out loud... Yes it's true. And it's because he is way, way up there.

posted by smithnyiu at 10:31 AM on October 13

Like you soft Americans use God for protection in football games - you use pads and lots of them. And a helmet! Aussie Rules - now there's some footballers in need of a quick pray before the game. Don't look at this one if weird broken limbs make you gag - just take my word for it that this guy forgot to pray it up before he hit the oval that day.

posted by JJ at 11:14 AM on October 13

"and if you think it's not just Christians, wellquestionmarks,..." Listen, prayer is an issue all across the U.S.! You got islamic prayers being played in towns like Dearborn, MI. You got people at my job going outside to pray on carpets to Allah. You got the Senate floor opening up with prayer. You have a national day of prayer. And then, I have to sit and be subject to ignorance of your views against prayer. It just seems like your views are being shoved down my throat more than my views are being shoved down yours. In the future their will be no prayer in Dearborn, no carpets on the job, no prayer in the Senate, and a fine for praying in public. Is that freedom??? Well??? I don't think so. The fact is that Civil Liberties are only addressed in the what the society feels is the norm. If their was a Christian parade, I wonder how many of you would be writing to ban that? Or what about a Christian rights movement so that Jesus can be said on non-Christian networks again??? If I had a tv show, I couldn't even say Jesus on it according to network rules...why is that??? The truth is that the rights of freedom of speech for Christians are being taken away. Instead of leveling the field, we are taking one rights to give to others. It's not right!!!

posted by well??? at 11:30 AM on October 13

I pray that we learn moderation in capitalization, and that Our Lady of Not Sounding Like a Tom-Fool blesses us with insight into the burning there/their/they're question.

posted by cobra! at 11:45 AM on October 13

It's not about "public." It's about "public employees." It's about coercion. It's about football team dynamics (you'll do what coach tells you. You love Coach. Coach is always right). You wanna play? You better pray. Public employees coercing children to pray in a school activity is against the law. The law it violates is the first one on the books. All of these other issues are smoke and mirrors. Everybody gets their beliefs tied up in this. They're wrong. It's not about individual belief. It's about the law. And the law says football coaches can't lead pregame prayers. The separation of church and state protects the religious at least as much as it protects the non-religious. Playing with apostates is one thing. Praying with them? My Catholic kid ain't going to Hell just to play high school football with Protestants. And there's no such thing as a universal, non-sectarian prayer. There is no middle ground. Organized pregame prayer is intolerable, and the law against it is good.

posted by Hugh Janus at 11:49 AM on October 13

And that our scarce supplies of exclamation points and question marks doesn't get too low after all of the tripling-up!!!

posted by cobra! at 11:50 AM on October 13

And then, I have to sit and be subject to ignorance of your views against prayer. Poor you, enlightened one. a fine for praying in public Never happen. The truth is that the rights of freedom of speech for Christians are being taken away. The persecuted and marginalized majority, right? Get real. If their was a Christian parade, I wonder how many of you would be writing to ban that? Or what about a Christian rights movement so that Jesus can be said on non-Christian networks again??? If government sponsored, then yes, those too would be shot down and you would apparently be subjected to everyone else's "ignorance."

posted by chris2sy at 11:51 AM on October 13

There you have it, cobra (or is it their? or they're?)!!!:-)

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 11:52 AM on October 13

The fact that you resort to blindly calling all who disagree with you "ignorant" is a big part of the problem, well??? Intelligent people can and should debate this kind of thing in a positive way. But, you and others that insist that everyone else is "wrong" is counter-productive and does not particularly "promote acceptance and understanding" (which are widely accepted as basis of Christian beliefs). On top of that, you also insist that those who think differently than you are trying to take away your right to pray. Unfortunately, that's what many of your "co-believers" resort to. If such infringement were truly the case, I would be arguing heavily alongside you. However, all that is being said is that you and all others should absolutely have the right to pray or not, even if that is in public - but that should be an individual choice, not accomoplished in a way that imposes on others, and certainly not led by a state-sponsored entity. Try a little humility, and we should be able to find a middle ground that works for all, instead of extreme stances. In preview, well said Hugh (and others)

posted by littleLebowski at 11:55 AM on October 13

If their was a Christian parade, I wonder how many of you would be writing to ban that? It's called the Republican National Convention.

posted by mayerkyl at 11:57 AM on October 13

and I see I managed to biff a verb in my grammar-chiding post. May the lord have mercy on my shriveled little soul.

posted by cobra! at 12:02 PM on October 13

Religion always makes for a nice and long blog. I think the situation couldn't have been handled better. Everyone did what they felt was in their best interests for their beliefs and honored the Constitution. That's the way it should be. He could have rallied all his church buddies and protested and made a big deal about it (even though he knows what the constitution says). I'm from a small town in Texas and stuff like this can and will get ugly in the wrong places with the wrong people. The coach seems like a good guy who stands up for what he believes in. I think they all deserve a round of applause. This country was founded on religious freedom and freedom of speech. They wanted to think and say what they wanted without paying for it. We still have a lovely luxury here in America. I wish everyone could see things the way my friends and I see it. There is no way everyone will think and believe in the same things, but understand that and eccept it. Find the beauty in diversity. Religion is essentially an idea (granted a very strong one that causes war and death by the thousands and greater). Stick to your guns and get on with your lives. Stop trying to stop all things you disagree with. Because chances are most people disagree with you anyway.

posted by Irish Gal at 01:20 PM on October 13

JJ....sick picture, but I can't stop looking at it. Hahaha. Great stuff. Gotta love rugby.

posted by Irish Gal at 01:26 PM on October 13

"But then I would be wrong, as are you. Believe what you want to, but keep it to yourself. My relationship to God is my business, yours is yours, and I'd like to keep it that way." ~~The Black Hand Right on. And way to go with the list of Crusades.

posted by Irish Gal at 02:08 PM on October 13

We've got to get that NINA sign back on the sign up page.

posted by yerfatma at 02:25 PM on October 13

I wonder, if I had sensibilities, whether they mightn't be offended by that.

posted by Hugh Janus at 02:30 PM on October 13

You'd have to hit them over the head with it. If you could find one that could read.

posted by yerfatma at 03:14 PM on October 13

I have to sit and be subject to ignorance of your views against prayer. No, you don't have to. Simply never, ever come back to this site again. Trust me, it's what God wants. He told me so.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:52 PM on October 13

I don't think I am ignorant and I personnally am a Christian who likes to pray. Having said that I will say this.... You teach your kid to pray and I will teach mine... Do not do it for me in a public school. Everyone should take care of their own religious things with the help of their Church or religious school if you choose to do so. That is the beauty of this country .... freedom of choice in many things. Except of cource eating vegetables there is no freedom there JUST DO IT!

posted by skydivemom at 04:43 PM on October 13

Don't force your opinion on my kid and I will leave yours alone. There are a bunch of people on this site saying their rights are being taken away. What about you taking my rights as a parent away by teaching my kid to pray. I am all for giving people their rights as long as it doesn't intrude on mine. Do not force your beliefs on me or my kids and claim that you have a right. You do not...that is the law. The coach did the right thing stepping down and I hope he goes to a good christian school where he can continue that winning record.

posted by skydivemom at 05:02 PM on October 13

Skydivemom-you make alot of since. As a Christian, I sure that you are aware of all off the "non-christian" stuff that gets "taught" to your kids when they are out in they world. This issue is more than a coach and his team saying a simple prayer before the game. We dont know if anything we being "taught to the players. There are alot more "influeneces"that effect our children than a situation like this. The list is endless. I am glad that you start your list influences with prayer!

posted by daddisamm at 05:15 PM on October 13

It's certain Christians who have perverted their own religion by taking prayer, all that prayer can be, and reducing it to some kind of semi-coercive public performance. And you're sure, lbb, that that's exactly what was going on in this situation? I mean, have you ever been to a sporting event where an athlete suddenly jumped up from the middle of the group and began witnessing? Because anytime I've ever played on or helped coach a team where a prayer was involved, it was done quietly, either in the locker room or on the sideline. In fact, I didn't participate in my high school's prayer. I knelt on one knee and listened, had my own thoughts and held the hand of my teammate and then got up ready to kick ass in my own, non-Godly way. It's funny, but it didn't make me feel uncomfortable, nor did it make me rush off to read the Bible. The other guys who didn't particpate, I don't think any of them became born-again Christians. We must have been relatively uncoerable, huh? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. So, again, help me out here -- what harm is there in the Christian members of a team sharing a prayer, and what part of the above amendment does it aggrieve?

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:55 PM on October 13

If the kids want to do it - let them lead it with each other. I never said there should be no prayer I just said I don't think a person in authority in a public school should have that right. You can't give that right to Christians if you are not willing to give it to satan worshipers just because Christians have the majority. I do not want to give the right to satan worshippers so I am willing not to have the right myself and to take care of it myself at home or let the kids who want to do it together by themselves.

posted by skydivemom at 06:01 PM on October 13

Skydivemom-you make alot of since. As a Christian, I sure that you are aware of all off the "non-christian" stuff that gets "taught" to your kids when they are out in they world. This issue is more than a coach and his team saying a simple prayer before the game Actually daddisamm no offense but this is simply an issue of the coach leading a prayer. We do not know what other things were being done because it isn't written in the sports article. Maybe if we all took a little more care with our own religious interests at home and allowed others the same right we would have a better world. Too many people (even on this site) are trying to shove their beliefs down my throat. There are alot of things that my religion could fix if everyone believed the way I do but if I want to have the right to practice religion the way I want to, I have to afford the luxury to everyone else to practice the way they want. Just don't interfere with my right.

posted by skydivemom at 06:09 PM on October 13

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof Isn't it amazing how everyone focuses on the first part of this sentence and ignores the last part?

posted by graymatters at 06:34 PM on October 13

wfjr, you're missing my point. The "let's have a prayer" crowd keep insisting that, by banning public school coaches and teachers from leading prayers, we are somehow keeping them from praying. This claim -- which is, at best, a radical distortion of the truth -- is at the heart of their insistence on allowing school prayer and their continued wish to sneak it in the back door. It's a bogus argument, and every time it gets shot down, they either come back with the same tired "argument", or they do what you did, claim the example of a kid who didn't feel harmed by the practice and say, "Aaah, what harm does it do?" But do you think they'd be singing the same tune if a Muslim led the prayer? I know a coach (volleyball) who's not only a Christian but a minister. He never told me either of those things; I found them out from other people. I've never seen him lead a prayer, or make any references to God. I'm pretty sure he'd consider it highly improper -- he has at least two Muslim players, and knowing him as I do, I expect he makes no assumptions about the others' religious beliefs or what they'd be okay with, prayer-wise. He's also an athletic trainer and serves as the sidelines trainer/EMT for football games. When someone gets hurt, he's not saying a prayer, he's wrappin' tape. I consider that a model of appropriate conduct in a coach WRT religion, and if a coach who's a Christian minister can manage to get the job done without insisting or asking or even suggesting that his team "take a knee", I dont know why other coaches can't do the same.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:38 PM on October 13

When someone gets hurt, he's not saying a prayer, he's wrappin' tape. I consider that a model of appropriate conduct in a coach WRT religion, and if a coach who's a Christian minister can manage to get the job done without insisting or asking or even suggesting that his team "take a knee", I dont know why other coaches can't do the same. Easily one of the more sensible observations in this thread.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 06:43 PM on October 13

Standing Ovation for lil_brown_bat! Well put!

posted by skydivemom at 06:43 PM on October 13

Ok you are making a case for why you dont want a coach leading a prayer before a game. Thats fine I inderstand where you are coming from. I may not agree with you but hey, its a free country. Nobody will answer my other question. What about other stuf that gets taught in schools? Stuff that goes against whay I may teach my kids at home. There are so many negative influences on our children and yet many of you seem like a Christian influence is so terrible? I have never heard a good answer. Kids are taught about other cultures and religons but cant mention Jesus as it might offend somebody. As I christian, I have been taught not to judge others. I really try to live by that standard. Yet I get judged about how I feel about a topic! For example if me and my family are eating out and we say a prayer at our table-some would say that I am showing off my piety. I aint hurting anybody, but yet I am judged. Why is that? There are no easy answers to any of this. and I am sure some will take me to task on what I just wrote.(thats happened a few times already).

posted by daddisamm at 10:33 PM on October 13

daddisamm, my late lamented grandfather used to have a saying: "This is not a competition to see who's the worst." In our family, we learned by the age of five that we could not justify an objectionable practice by pointing to objectionable behavior in others. I don't know precisely what it is that they're teaching in schools that you find problematic (the Pythagorean theorem?), or how it goes against what you're teaching your kids at home, but whenever I hear a Christian complain that you can talk about every other religion in school except Christianity, I'm highly skeptical that this is actually going on. Christianity has been the dominant religion in the USA since its founding, and guess what, it's still the dominant religion. It's just not as dominant, in some ways, as it once was. Christians in this country still have 90% of the cake, but because you used to have the whole thing, you feel deprived by the way things are now, and boy oh boy do the rest of us get to hear about your deprivation and loss of rights while we share our little 10% piece.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:03 PM on October 13

This is not a competition to see who has the worst. I am merely asking questions. I know of a school district that doesnt allow mention of Christian reasons for the Holidays of Christmas and Easter. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are safer than the mentioning the Birthday of Jesus. Christmas programs are called Winter festavils. The kids are told of many customs of other religons and countries.. You cant, however, discuss Christian customs as you may offend somebody.. Then there is the business of the teaching of evolution. These are but two examples. There others LBB, I know you, and other dont buy what I am saying, thats fine. I know that I am not going to change your mind and you wont change mine. but its nice that we can talk about. And yes, I moved from this District and my kids attend a school with a more' "flexiable" attitude.

posted by daddisamm at 07:41 AM on October 14

I agree daddisamm that things are being taught in our schools that I don't necessarily agree with but I still have the option of sending my kids to a Christian school if I choose. Even if I can't afford it there is usually scholorships through the school or even your church. Even in the small town of 1,000 that I grew up in had a Christian school within reasonable distance if we choose to attend. My mom felt (and I do too)that it was better not to shelter kids from the world but to give them the survival skills yourself that they need for surviving in a religiously diverse world. I think personally the public school my kids go to spends more time with racial diversity than religious. I did not respond to your question about these things earlier because I was trying to stick to the thread subject which was a coach who quit because he was not able to lead prayers.

posted by skydivemom at 08:00 AM on October 14

Daddisamm, tell me of a school district where you can say "Ramadan" but you can't say "Christmas". Then tell me what's the source of your knowledge. It sounds like an exaggeration to me -- an inflammatory one designed to get Christians such as yourself up in arms. Frankly, I think you're being played. Evolution is a testable scientific theory; religion is based on faith and is neither scientifically testable nor scientifically provable. Religious subjects, including the Christian creationist so-called "theory", have their place in a religious school that teaches faith-based subjects along with subjects more proper for an academic environment. I hope you can see why, in an academic environment that is not a religious school and that is designed to accomodate people of all faiths, a faith-based subject has no place. To try to return this to the subject of sports, if you want your kid to "take a knee" before a football game, the place for your kid is in a religious school -- or better yet, you can teach your kid to have a broader and better understanding of what prayer is, and to know that you don't have to drag a bunch of other people into a lockstep performance alongside you in order to communicate with God.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:02 AM on October 14

LBB--I didnt say that you couldnt say Christmas, you just cant mention the fact that its Jesus Birthday. It aint all bad, this same District bans scary costumes. MY source of knowledge is that kids used to attend the School there and my Wife works there. I am more than happy to stay on subject. Its my contention that way too much is being made of this incident. The Coach could have handled it better. When I wnet to school, back in the middle ages, we said the Lords prayer before every game. Sometimes it was led by the coach and sometimes it was led by the captains. Those who didnt want to pray stayed quiet. It was as simple as that. The Coach was by no means a bible banging christain. It was merely a school tradition. Alot of these before game prayers are just that-tradition. I brought up the non-sports stuff to show that this is not just a sports issue. I appreciate your comments Skydive mom. I am willing to let this sleeping dog lay!

posted by daddisamm at 08:23 AM on October 14

Frankly, back when I was a Christian (in my younger days) we would say a prayer every morning at school and then head off to chapel. We'd pray before lunch and games - and I started to feel after a while that this accomplished two things: One - it made prayer seem wrote and dogmatic; simply something we had to do before we got to do something else. Two - it cheapened the idea of having a moment with one's spiritual diety - we were talking to God about things which we generally observed as mundane daily events - lunch, baseball and the fact that it's sunny outside. I often thought that it seemed like at best going through the motions, or at worst, patronizing ass-kissery. So I quickly stopped paying too much attention to it. Sure, it never hurt anybody, but that doesn't mean it was saving souls either. Just a little personal experience.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:41 AM on October 14

I fondly remember going to chapel during boot camp, but not for religious reasons. It was two hours that I wasn't shining boots, polishing floors, or doing pushups. Plus, it was one of the few times you actually got to sit so close to a girl that you could actually touch 'em. Heady stuff. In all seriousness, the base reason this convoluted discussion is taking place is because Evangelical Christians (and some others) are taught that they have to be "fishers of men." Simply put, this means they DO believe that they're supposed to preach their beliefs to others, whether it's welcomed or not. Dogma, anyone?

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:30 PM on October 14

Here is a big item that everyone seems to be missing completely. Prayer is not Government Sactioned or Denied. It is a personal choice. We go to the phrase "All men are created Equal...Certain unailable rights...you know the very items that this Country was founded on. It is not forceful, unlawful, or breaking anyones rights to ask someone to bow their head and close their eyes for a moment of silence. At this point one would pray silently if they would like. To continue further if someone were to say "We are going to gather for a team prayer, if you'd like to join fine, if not that is ok too." then at that point you can pray out loud to those who wish to attend. Keeping the references to a higher power keeps all religions happy, and you are not infringing on anyones rights to assemble, of prayer, or seperation of Church and State. If any of these items are wrong please let me know, but I thought we were a country that believed and strived for equality and peace. We the bible carrying Christians have just as much right to pray with our friends, co-workers, and students as much as you the non believers, closet Christians, Chreasters (Christmas and Easter believers only), and Sunday believers (people that go and worship then don't think about God again until Sunday again), have to get away from Prayer. If someone is having a prayer time and you don't feel comfortable with it then go. Get away until it is over and then rejoin the activity. We as Christians, we need to respect others rights to not be included in prayer. This is not watering down our faith or our beliefs, it is respecting other peoples decisions to believe in what they want to believe. If we want to gather for a time of prayer then it is our right and responsibility to gather those who wish to participate in a area that will not be construed as threatening, have our prayer, and then get back to doing what we were doing before. It comes down to common courtesy, common sense, common decency. I know that is asking a lot people. I mean for crying out loud we are talking about being nice and civil to each other. What is this world coming to?

posted by go notre dame at 09:11 AM on October 17

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