Why did Tennessee’s Oneida High School abandon its proud, 84-year-old tradition of reciting Christian prayers before football games over the PA? Because the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation gently reminded them that forcing your religion onto everyone else in publicly-funded schools is discriminatory and flat-out illegal (You can read their letters here and here).
Alas, that victory proved short-lived thanks to those danged law-savvy Christian cheerleaders, who found a clever way to defy their school’s pre-game prayer ban.
WBIR 10 reports that when the school announced a moment of silence instead of the usual pre-game prayer, the Christian cheerleaders began reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the crowd enthusiastically joined in.
Head football Coach Tony Lambert told reporters:
“I heard the moment of silence, but it was kind of a sick feeling in my stomach.”
Then Kevin Acres, the announcer dropped a not-so-subtle hint:
“During our moment of silence, if you want to say a prayer, that would be perfectly fine.”
Onwards Christian cheerleaders…
That’s when one of the Christian cheerleaders, Asia Canada, took the ball and ran with it, though she felt a little bit nervous about wanting “to say it right.”
“He called for the moment of silence and I started off, ‘Our Father who art in heaven’ and everyone joined in. I never prayed in front of a big crowd before. I am just used to fifteen girls and my coach […] It just touches my heart that so many people are getting involved with it”
How heart-warming. The mean, atheist bullies and jackbooted thugs of Big Government outwitted by Jesus Christ’s frail and lovely handmaidens. There’s just one problem with that plot line: What if you happen to be among those few poor non-Christian souls who have the misfortune of living in that community? How would you like to have someone else’s religion forced on you day in and day out?
There’s a fine line between bearing witness to your faith and bullying others who do not share your faith… or at the very least, creating a highly unwelcoming environment.
Here in America, we have the right to worship as we see fit…. But we do not have the right to force our beliefs on others on taxpayer-funded property.
But now, it’s the Christian Cheerleaders who claim they’re being bullied, with WBIR 10 corroborating:
The moment the story broke, non-religious groups and strangers began harassing and threatening the teenage girls. Now the cheerleaders’ story has reached national media outlets including Fox News.
Oh no! Not Fox News! We know how cruel they can be to those persecuted Christian folks.
Alley Meyers, the senior cheerleading co-captain told her tormentors at Fox:
“I feel like our community needs God in it, especially at football games. We pray for the safety of every football player out there, and the cheerleaders, and the fans for their drive home.”
If only these Christian cheerleaders could go pray for people’s safety in war zones around the world, but that would be silly, football’s way more important.
Cheerleader mom Misty Rhey laments:
“They have really seen a lot of negative, hateful comments. It’s really just breaking their hearts. They are getting messages to their Facebooks, their names are being brought up.”
Rhey then added:
“We grow up telling our children not to bully other children and now these children are being bullied by adults. It’s not fair to them.”
Yet, she fails to see how the Christian cheerleaders’ ostentatious public displays of their religious faith amounts to a form of bullying towards those who do not share that faith. And what would happen if one or more of the girls on that cheerleading squad came from a different faith, or no faith at all?
As a fellow mom, this writer sympathizes with Rhey’s concern and sincerely hopes adults aren’t bashing teenage girls (so far, searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have yielded no evidence of this online bullying, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist). But on the other hand, shouldn’t some of the blame lie with adults in the community who insist on putting their daughters forward for a losing cause?
Nobody’s complaining about these Christian cheerleaders praying or believing in God. But some of us do take issue with what amounts to school-sponsored proselytizing on public, taxpayer-funded property.
These so-called “Christians” are quick to assert their rights, and cry bullying when people object to their proselytizing. They then how their true colors when others refuse to join their public prayers or when someone offers a non-Christian prayer in public.
WBIR 10 reports on Christian cheerleaders getting ‘bullied’ by atheists.
Watch WBIR 10’s news report on Oneida High School’s Christian cheerleaders defying the pre-game prayer ban, making national news headlines, then expressing concern about unwanted attention.
h/t and Featured image: WBIR 10.