October 2015 Church & State | People & Events

Officials at a Georgia high school agreed to stop reciting prayers over loudspeakers before football games thanks to a complaint from Americans United, but a new controversy has arisen in the wake of this decision.

West Laurens High School in Dexter agreed to replace its pre-game prayer with a moment of silence. But before a game on Aug. 21, many attendees interrupted the moment of silence by reciting the Lord’s Prayer in unison and then singing “Amazing Grace,” which was played by the school marching band.

In response, attorneys with Americans United sent a follow-up letter to the Laurens County School Board asking it to ensure that the school stops using religious hymns at football games and prevents its employees from actively promoting or facilitating the recitation of prayers during games.

AU received an anonymous tip that the school band’s director organized a group of audience members to recite the Lord’s Prayer, and a news report said that the band director reached out to local churches and requested that church members attend the game to support his religious cause.

In other news regarding religion mixing with high school football in Georgia, a video posted recently on YouTube showed a group of football players from Villa Rica High School being baptized by a local church.  The video, taken at the school before football practice, was posted by First Baptist Villa Rica.

“We had the privilege of baptizing a bunch of football players and a coach on the field of Villa Rica High School! We did this right before practice! Take a look and see how God is STILL in our schools!” read the caption accompanying the video.

The Carroll County School District said Sept. 1 that it is investigating the incident, Religion News Service reported.