Prayer Helps Not Hurts
Verse for today...
Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
About a month ago, Nancy Armour of the USA Today gave her opinion about a Supreme Court case involving prayer on a football field at school. Coach Joe Kennedy prayed after football games on the football field. He continued to kneel at the 50-yard line and pray after games in defiance of orders from the Bremerton (Washington) School District during the 2015 season. Kennedy asked the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision that allowed the school district to fire him because fans and students could see him take a knee in quiet, personal prayer after football games.
Initially, Kennedy prayed quietly and alone. After several games, some students took notice of Kennedy’s post-game prayers and asked if they could join him. He told them, “This is a free country.” And, “you can do what you want.” Over time, and if students gathered, Kennedy began offering short motivational speeches to players, ending with a brief prayer. Sometimes, no players gathered, and Kennedy prayed alone. Kennedy’s prayers went apparently unnoticed by school officials for seven years. No students, coaches, or parents had complained about them. When the practice came to school officials’ attention, Bremerton School District conducted a fact-finding investigation. The district recognized that students had participated voluntarily in Kennedy’s postgame religious expression and that Kennedy had “not actively encouraged, or required, participation.” However, the District said that Kennedy must keep his prayers “physically separate from any student activity.” In compliance with the district’s directive, Kennedy immediately ceased praying with BHS students. Kennedy, through counsel, sent a letter to the district formally requesting a religious accommodation under Title VII to kneel to say a brief personal prayer on the field after football games concluded. The district acknowledged that Kennedy’s religious exercise was “fleeting,” and that the only issue now in play was whether Kennedy had a “right to conduct a personal, private prayer.” However, the district denied Kennedy’s request for accommodation. Instead, the district issued a sweeping new ban prohibiting Kennedy, or any other employee, from engaging in any “demonstrative religious activity,” either silently or audibly. The only “accommodation” the district offered was for Kennedy to pray in a “private location within the school building, athletic facility or press box.” After the district’s denial of Kennedy’s request for an accommodation, Kennedy, unwilling to break his commitment to God, knelt alone to offer a brief, silent prayer at the 50-yard line after the next football game. After this game, the district said Kennedy’s actions “moved closer to what we want,” but are “still unconstitutional.” After the next football game, Coach Kennedy again knelt to say a brief, silent prayer. Two days after the game, the district placed Coach Kennedy on administrative leave and barred him from coaching.
In mid-June Nancy Armour of USA Today wrote, "In Ecclesiastes it says there is a time for everything. Youth sports is not the time, nor the place, for public prayer."
This opinion is very much in line with some of the opinions Armour has shared in the past. Christine Brennan and she have appointed themselves the moral police which includes doing whatever is necessary to go directly against the Bible regarding many issues.
Then, about a week or two ago, a retired Episcopal priest from Arden, NC, named Todd Donatelli, wrote his opinion. He said the Supreme Court's recent decision that a school director/coach can lead prayers with clubs and teams ignores entirely the power and pressure of a director/coach over the young people they are leading. He went on to say that what the Supreme Court had done was to open the Pandora's box of determining what religious group's prayers would be allowed and that young people who just wanted to experience a place of esteem and group spirit along with the joy of participation would now have that experience compromised by adults who feel the need to establish their religious beliefs upon others.
Well, now it's my turn. I desire to do what Jesus would have me do. The Bible is the example to follow. Do what the Bible says. It is the unerring Word of God! Don't read a bunch of bull into it. Its message is the same now as it was when it was written. Just do what it says, and don't do what it says to not do. Nancy Armour has given me no indication that she is a Christian. From what I can tell, she either has no thought of life after death or she believes a person can get to heaven by doing what seems right to her (Armour), regardless of what religion a person happens to profess. She seems to think... Let's not hurt anyone's feelings, even if the Bible says point blank to not do something. Homosexuality? Oh, that's perfectly fine. (Maybe she should check out Romans 1:26-27 among other scripture... For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Or, the NIV version... Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.) And she seems to think... Don't pray in front of anybody, ever. (While forced prayer is not a good idea at all, nothing whatsoever was forced about what Kennedy did. Nothing. And, I can't begin to give you all of the scripture verses that say prayer is appropriate and necessary.
As far as Donatelli's comments are concerned, isn't the main goal of an Episcopal minister, or any Christian minister for that matter, to try to lead people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? Why would Donatelli even begin to pick on someone trying to say a prayer, much less someone who was forcing no one to follow? I can think of only one good thing about Donatelli's comments... He's retired. Let's hope it stays that way!
May God always be your number 1 draft pick!