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Sporting Event Prayer

by Nick Gholson
 Times Record News, Wichita Falls, TX

9/5/1999

(received as email attributed to Andy Rooney, 6/5/2010)


I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations. Nor do I believe that not praying will result in more serious injuries on the field or more fatal car crashes after the game. In fact, I'm not so sure God would even be at all these games if he didn't have to be. That's just one of the down sides of omnipresence. Do you think God Almighty himself would have watched Spearman beat Panhandle 50-0 Friday night if he didn't have to? If God really liked sports, the Russians would never have won a single gold medal, New York would never play in a World Series and Deion's toe would be healed by now.


Some people, it seems, get offended way too easily. I mean, isn't that what all this prayer hullabaloo is all about - people getting offended? At least that's what I hear the courts and the ACLU telling us. If you read Sound Off, you know I am not easily offended. Outside of getting run off the road by a Mack truck, nothing much offends me. Daddy and Mama gave little Nicky a sense of humor.


Some people, however, either weren't born with a sense of humor or they lost it in a crap game. These people are still in the minority, but those of us in the majority are always tippy-toeing around, trying to make sure we don't step on the toes or hurt the feelings of the sense of humorless. And you can bet there's a lawyer standing on every corner making sure we don't.


Take this prayer deal. It's absolutely ridiculous. Some atheist goes to a high school football game, hears a kid say a short prayer before the game and gets offended. So he hires a lawyer and goes to court and asks somebody to pay him a whole bunch of money for all the damage done to him. You would have thought the kid kicked him in the crotch. Damaged for life by a 30-second prayer? Am I missing something here? I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his theory of evolution. Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game.


So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game. "But it's a Christian prayer," some will argue. Yes, and this is the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles. And we are in the Bible Belt. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect - somebody chanting Hare Krishna? If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer. If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. If I went to a ping-pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha. And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit. When in Rome . . .


"But what about the atheists?" is another argument. What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of earplugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer. Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do.


Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.

God, help us.


And if that last sentence offends you - well, just sue me.