As has happened in numerous localities across the nation, teachers and coaches in a Tennessee school district were recently told that they could no longer lead students in prayer.
Reported by WZTV-TV, the edict followed a complaint from an atheist group called Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which immediately got its way and barred religious expression by people who want it to be part of their lives.
What was harmful to the Atheists? Were they barred from doing anything? No. The important part was to silence people in the Putnam County School District who wanted to pray in public, where their children attend school and play sports.
But then something remarkable happened.
Parents and students and players chose to come out onto the field after a football game and pray on their own.
“We do realize this is a public school, but it has always been optional for players to pray, and has been a voluntary event. Players that still want to pray will have to do it on their own,” wrote parent Dustin Whitefield to WZTV.
After a Sept. 17 football game between Upperman and Stone Memorial, dozens of parents, students and fans gathered on the field and surrounded a large group of players representing both teams. According to WZTV, it was the players themselves who stepped up to lead the parents and fans in prayer.
News of the defiance spread quickly after photos were circulated on social media, and people responded with support and admiration.
“Satan’s power was defeated tonight,” one Putnam County Schools alum wrote on Facebook.
“As the threat of a legal action to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by player lead prayer supported by parents and fans in solidarity on Overall Field. God bless the Baxter and Stone players for their faith and courage,” he wrote.