Student prayer line held before Smiths Station high school football game despite backlash

Student prayer line held before Smiths Station high school football game despite backlash
(Source: Chandler Morgan)
(Source: Chandler Morgan)
(Source: Chandler Morgan)
(Source: Chandler Morgan)

SMITHS STATION, AL (WTVM) - After an East Alabama school system banned student-led prayer over the loudspeaker at football games, students and supporters are continuing to come together and take a stand for Friday night's football game at Smiths Station.

Game-goers wore shirts with '#PRAYER' on them.This is part of the student-led prayer line which students say is now becoming a tradition before games despite previous setbacks.

"They can take away our microphones but they can't take away our voices."

Students, parents, and supporters joining hands in a prayer line before the Smiths Station High school football game…a demonstration supporters say is in response to the Lee County board of education's decision to cease a pregame prayer before games.

For sisters Megan and Katie Johnson, the pre-game prayer has been an ongoing tradition - for Megan as an alumni and Katie as a current Junior at smiths station.

"It was always from a place of love, we never wanted to convert a single soul."

News Leader 9 first told you about this story when the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a cease and desist letter to Lee County Schools after a spectator claimed to be offended when listening to a student-led prayer over the loudspeaker at the Opelika vs. Smith Station High School football game in September.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation cited a supreme court case wherein a similar situation student-led prayer over a PA system was deemed unconstitutional, but that does not stop some smith station locals hoping to bring the tradition back to life.

"You know it's not our school boards fault and it's not our principal's fault. Its a law, a federal law that we cant pray."

As per the federal law, students are permitted to pray or initiate prayer in whichever setting they choose, no matter the size of the group which equals a private matter of prayer as long as the prayer isn't announced over a loudspeaker, which would become a public matter by law.

"Our prayer line will be a tradition, we've got hundreds and hundreds lining the field and the gates."

Students also invited Enterprise, tonights opposing team to join in on the prayer.

Read more on our previous reports related to this story here.

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