North Carolina Community Defies Ban, Prays on School Grounds

Thomasville NC Prayer Protest

Residents of Thomasville, North Carolina, hosted a prayer protest beginning in October on the football field of a local high school after county officials prohibited students from hosting pregame prayers via the school’s public announcement system. The protest came after Davidson County Schools warned Samantha Warwick that neither she nor her team could use the PA system to deliver prayers before games. On finding out about the school system’s prohibition, hundreds of students and players marched onto Ledford High School’s football field on October 4 and started to recite the Lord’s Prayer in unison.

Warwick had started the tradition of delivering pre-game invocations in 2013 and she said she was very disappointed when the school system told her that she could not continue to do so.

“I'm kind of disappointed that someone would try to take something that so many students were in support of,” she said.

Meanwhile, Warwick decided that she and her team “would handle this in a godly manner.”

The public prayer organized earlier this month received a great deal of support from Abbotts Creek Missionary Baptist Church pastor Mark Hollar, who met with many pastors in Thomasville to organize the protest at Ledford High School.

“Our parents and our students have the freedom to be here and they will pray,” he said.

The united prayer in Thomasville was the latest in a string of defiant game-day prayers. While South Davidson High School in North Carolina also staged a similar protest on Friday night, last month, Oneida High School in Tennessee witnessed a similar incident, thanks to its cheerleading squad. Despite a 2011 Rasmussen survey revealing 65 percent of American adults want prayers to be incorporated in public schools, high schools across the United States have stopped the practice after being pressured by groups such as American Civil Liberties Union and Freedom From Religion Foundation. Both these groups believe praying during school events violates the First Amendment of the American Constitution that offers every person protection from state-funded religion. Yet, those on the other side of the spectrum argue that the First Amendment also offers them the right to speak about their faith openly.

According to a new bill that was signed into law in North Carolina earlier this year, state-funded public schools must allow its students to pray either silently or aloud by themselves or in a group “to the same extent and under the same circumstances as a student is permitted to vocally or silently reflect, meditate or speak on nonreligious matters alone or with other students in public schools.”

Photo Credit: Christian Post

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