Essential Question: Should teams be allowed to pray together before games?
There has been a lot of controversy over the topic of the Freedom of Religion within the First Amendment. Many are at war over whether teams should be allowed to pray before games or not. The problem sparked at Santa Fe High School around 1995 and was reassessed in 2015 and 2016 after a few more sport incidents. The First Amendment may protect individual’s rights to freedom religion but when it comes to teams praying on a public school property, it is not protected. This is because the government is not allowed to promote religion in any way. How does this relate to a school sporting event you might ask. Public schools are owned by the government. If a public school were to teach about prayer, or allow teams to pray together before events, they could get in serious trouble because one may see this as promoting religion. Individuals may take a moment of silence but they must practice their religion to themselves so they do not violate others rights. Some may take The government regulates this closely so that no schools is deemed favored over another. There have been several cases of this and no school has won due to the fact that the First Amendment does not protect them on this matter.
Some may believe that this violates their Freedom of Exercise but it does not. They are not banning you from your religious practices as an individual but they are protecting the rights of others and the laws that they have to follow. If other’s rights are being violated then it can lead to serious conflicts between families of the school and would have to involve members of the school board. If word got out of conflicts like this, it could hurt the school’s reputation or would cause even more arguments from people not involved in the situation. For these many reasons, school athletic teams are not allowed to pray before games.
Membership, ALCU. “Your Right to Religious Freedom.” American Civil Liberties Union, 2018, http://www.aclu.org/other/your-right-religious-freedom.
Carlson, Mr. David. “Establishment Clause.” LII / Legal Information Institute, 10 June 2009, http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/establishment_clause.
Ash, Elliott T. “Free Exercise Clause.” LII / Legal Information Institute, 4 May 2010, http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/free_exercise_clause.
Green, Lee. “Prayer, Religion-Related Activities at School Athletics Events.” NFHS, 13 Apr. 2016, http://www.nfhs.org/articles/prayer-religion-related-activities-at-school-athletics-events/.