Praying before sporting events is nothing new in our country, especially for football teams. Others and organizations, like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, are saying that these coaches are breaking the law. The First Amendment allows everyone to freely exercise their religion and also allows everyone the right to freely express themselves. So the controversy is where the line is drawn, and to the extent that these freedoms go.

The line between what should and shouldn’t be allowed in freedom of religion and speech can sometimes be a confusing one. Teams and more specifically coaches, typically like to pray before games. Often asking for strength, courage, and that players remain healthy throughout the game. But coaches and schools are coming under fire for it, saying that they are violating the First Amendment for imposing their religion on students. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has not only gone after Dunmore High School, but another high school in Birmingham, Alabama, for praying before football games. They say that, “Public school events must be secular to protect the freedom of conscience of all students.” In their letter however, they fail to ask if any students have had any complaints about it, considering they are the ones who would be effected. Unless a student has told their coach, teacher, or school that they are offended by this prayer and asked that it be stopped, it doesn’t seem like it’s doing any harm. Sen. Lankford says, “Gratitude to God is certainly not a crime in America.” The only problem that could come from praying before a game would be if a student feels peer pressured to join in and not speak out against it. Although they always have the choice to not participate in the prayer as well.

The line for freedom of religion and speech for praying before games is definitely on the border. I don’t believe that it should be banned however, unless a student asks for it to be. Although since they have the option to not participate, I believe that others should be allowed to pray and practice their religion for the brief time before a football game.


Wertheimer, Linda K. “Opinion | Why You Shouldn’t Defend a High School Coach Praying on His Football Field.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 Oct. 2015,

“Alabama High School Told to Halt Prayers before Football Games.” Fox News, FOX News Network,




  1. While I agree that praying before games shouldn’t be banned and students should be able to engage in such practice, teachers, coaches and staff members shouldn’t be leading these prayers or possibly even participating in them. Because of the first amendment, teachers cannot practice their religion in the presence of students, “As employees of the government, public school teachers and administrators are subject to the establishment clause and thus required to be neutral concerning religion while carrying out their duties. That means, for example, that school officials do not have the right to pray with or in the presence of students during the school day.” If the coaches of Dunmore High School wish to pray before games, they can do so at the same time as the students who wish to, although they can do it privately, away from the students.


  2. I agree with your blog post. I think that a lot of school believe it is very important to pray before every game, and I know a lot of high school teams that do. I also agree with you saying that people should be able to pray before games unless it is offending someone else on the team. I really like the quote that you included as well saying, Gratitude to god is certainly not a crime in america. I think that represents a good guideline saying that praying before a game is very important and you are doing nothing wrong. I agree fully with your article and think it was a very well written blog post.


  3. Praying before football games and other events walks a fine lines especially if they are for or directed at the students. Many may argue that it breaks the FIrst Amendment by imposing religion on other students. This may be true in some cases, but religion and government are no strangers to each other so it would be highly unlikely that students haven’t been subjected to this in the past. Does, “One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all” ring a bell? Students can chose to not be a part of these prayers if they don’t want to be. If their forced then this is a very different problem. But in America, a country built on religious freedom, it is near impossible to be exposed to ideologies of other religions. It is up to parents and the child themselves to pick what they agree and disagree with and shape their own opinions. This is because no matter who you are, you will always have to interact with someone who shares different values at least once in your life.


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