The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues its attack on the constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech and religious expression as it targets school districts in Mississippi and Kentucky that have held to their long-time traditions of public prayer. On August 18th the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that the Wisconsin-based secularist group had sent a letter to the superintendent of the DeSoto County, Mississippi, school district, the largest in the state with 40 schools and 32,000 students, demanding that the district stop allowing prayers at school athletic events and high school graduations.
“Prayer over the loudspeakers at football games is a constitutional no-no,” quipped FFRF spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The Supreme Court has spoken on this issue…. We’ve given them the law, and the law is incontrovertible. What they’re doing is illegal.”
The Commercial Appeal noted that on “Friday nights, it’s customary for the football public address announcer to hand over the microphone to a student or teacher to pray before the home team’s band performs the national anthem.”
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Photo: Players on the University of Tennessee at Martin football team take part in a prayer before their game against Kentucky Wesleyan College on Sept. 13, 2001, in Martin, Tenn.: AP Images