The Freedom From Religion Foundation is requesting that an Alabama school take immediate action to halt further prayer broadcasts during football games.
A local resident reported to FFRF that before the start of an Oct. 6 football game between two Alabama high schools a prayer was broadcast over the loudspeaker by an adult representing one of the schools, B.C. Rain High School, after a recitation of the national anthem.
FFRF has sent a letter to Mobile County Public Schools requesting that the district take immediate action to end the practice — an illegal sponsorship of a religious message to the student body and general public.
“The Supreme Court has specifically struck down invocations given over the loudspeaker at public school athletic events, even when student-led,” writes FFRF Legal Fellow Chris Line to Superintendent Martha Peek. “Prayers at district football games are also inappropriate and unconstitutional.”
Providing an allotted time for prayers at the start of a school athletic event not only endorses prayers on behalf of the district, but allows the prayer-giver to use a public resource to impose a personal religious message to all community members in attendance, FFRF points out.
FFRF is insisting that the district protect the freedom of conscience of all of its students and public football fandom.
“All public school events must be entirely secular,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Steps to rectify this flagrant violation of the First Amendment must be taken as soon as possible.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 29,000 members across the country, including in Alabama. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.