Should Prayer be Allowed in High School Sports?

For as long as people can remember, coaches at Upperman High School in Tennessee have been leading the team in prayer before football games. It has been a strong tradition and an accepted part of life.

At the beginning of this school year, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State complained about “several instances of prayer and proselytizing at events at Cookeville and Upperman high schools,” Administrators from the school district contacted the schools’ attorney, who informed them that the law about cases such as this one is clear: “Courts have consistently ruled that prayer and proselytizing can not be sponsored by schools or school personnel.” So, the county directed all coaches to refrain from leading the teams in prayer.

On Friday night, the students decided that they would lead the team in prayer. So, the players and cheerleaders from Upperman and Cookeville High School united on the field to pray. Parents also joined the athletes on the field to show their support.

Joe’s Perspective: I never had a coach lead me in prayer or had prayer as a part of our team. I can’t remember any team in our high school praying either, although I assume that some students prayed individually. I certainly understand the separation of church and state and the importance of religious freedom. However, I think if teams/players/coaches are in favor of praying, I don’t think outside groups or lawyers should be able to keep people from praying. It is a first amendment right and therefore protected in our constitution. So, I am proud of the students for taking a stand (or a knee).  My guess is that students have opted out of team prayers for a variety of reasons over the years and my guess is those reasons have been respected by coaches.

Your Turn: What say you on this subject? Should coaches be allowed to lead teams in prayer?

Comments 44

  1. I think that coaches should be allowed to lead their teams and students in prayer. If the students and teams are willing and want to, then why not, it is a good way to praise God and ask him for strength for the game. So my answer is yes, they should be allowed to lead prayer.

  2. I think that it is okay for a coach to lead teams in a prayer so long as those who choose not to participate are allowed to go do their own thing if they do not support the prayer.

  3. Yea for sure, my old football coach used to do it and that’s definitely something I miss before the big game. Freedom allows that being said it also allows someone to not be apart of it if they don’t choose to.

  4. I definitely believe prayer should be allowed before games, if coaches and players want to do it absolutely let them do it. Some kids won’t want to pray and that’s perfectly okay, they shouldn’t be criticized for not praying, but if teams want to pray, they should certainly have the right to do it.

  5. Prayers should be allowed before games but if some coaches or players don’t want to do it they don’t have to. There should be no judging and they should still play as a team

  6. Prayers should be allowed before games but if some coaches or players don’t want to do it they don’t have to. There should be no judging and they should still play as a team

  7. Prayers should be allowed but if people don’t want to do it they don’t have to. It should be a judge free place and they should still play as a team

  8. Prayers should be allowed before games and the people who are offended by it should mind their own business. This is a Christian nation.

  9. The article is about if you should be allowed to pray before a game and a team in Tennessee has been praying before every game for a while and they put it to a vote on whether they should be allowed to continue to do so.

  10. I think it should be a team decision. If we vote for prayer then we pray as a team. No and the team won’t pray. I think it takes a group to decide because their are always different opinions. If players want to opt out for religious purposes them fine.

    1. I feel that students should be able to do harmless things that amuse them and doesn’t hurt anyone. I feel this way because at my school we are not very openminded to doing things freely. It is very important to have a moment where you feel free!

  11. I think that coaches should be allowed to lead their teams and students in prayer. If the students and teams are willing and want to, then why not, it is a good way to praise God and ask him for strength for the game. So my answer is yes, they should be allowed to lead prayer.

  12. I think everyone should be able to do what they feel is right. Some people may not be religious so they probably won’t want to pray, but for people who are religious they should be more than welcome to pray.

  13. I think team prayer should definitely be an available choice. I say choice because everyone doesn’t believe in it so it’s not like it’s forced against the players.

  14. i think that it should be an option but not everyone has to participate in the prayer. but everyone has to be respectful about what everyone chooses to do.

  15. I think team prayer should definitely be an available choice, choice because everyone doesn’t believe in it so it’s not like it’s forced against the players.

  16. If the whole team agrees to it then they for sure should but you can’t force it on everyone if they don’t want to do it.

  17. I think it’s cool how they where not aloud to pry at games, but they they wanted to so they did and everyone Pryed together.

  18. Student should have the choice of doing prayer with the whole team or not. If one or two players don’t want to join that’s fine. But the government shouldn’t be able to stop people from practicing their religion.

  19. I definitely think prayer should be allowed. If you don’t want to participate that’s fine but you shouldn’t penalize other players and coaches for doing it.

  20. I think coaches should be allowed to and they should say that you don’t have to pray along if you don’t want to. It promotes good team sportsmanship

  21. I think kids should be allowed to pray with others or by themselves if they want to. However I don’t want kids to feel forced into praying so just having that as an option is nice.

  22. Yes I think they should prey because we have religious freedom because of the constitution and because the ten amendments say we as U.S.A citizens have religious freedom.

  23. it will be good because you can be good at things you are going to be learning so you can be good at things like sports and that is good because you can try something different at school.

  24. everyone should be given a chance to play or to learn to play or try out to play or to get a chance to get to do something more pertucted

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