Summarized by Kent Larsen
Mormon Sports Columnist, ADL Object to Football Prayer Protests
SANTA FE, TEXAS -- As activists continue preparations for their protest in
favor of school-sponsored prayer before high school football games, both the
Anti-Defamation League and a Mormon sports columnist question the practice,
supporting this past summer's US Supreme Court decision which ruled
school-organized prayers before football games unconstitutional. The case
resulted from a challenge by a Mormon family and a Catholic family.
The Houston Chronicle quoted the Anti-Defamation League as calling the
efforts of the group No Pray, No Play insensitive to non-Christians. "Even
if the group's efforts were to pass constitutional muster,k its highly
publicized efforts to engage in religious worship are likely to cause
members of minority faiths to feel coerced and vulnerable at a place where
everyone should feel welcome," said the ADL's Marks.
Meanwhile, a Mormon sports columnist, Greg Hansen, writing in the Arizona
Daily Star, questioned why anyone would want to combine prayer and football
in the first place. "Football neither warrants any sanctity, nor does it
fit," wrote Hansen. He claims that the nature of football is
"mean-spirited." "I have yet to come across a football player - high school,
college, pro - who didn't take each game with the same physical seriousness,
bordering on violence."
Like the ADL, Hansen also notes that our diverse society won't accept these
kind of prayers because someone will always be left out, "There's a time to
pray - and it's not before a ball game. . . . However well-meaning a prayer
before a football game may be, it will never fully be accepted because our
society is so diverse. Someone is sure to be offended."
But Alex Yovan, pastor of Santa Fe's Maranatha Christian Center disagrees.
He says that the supporters of football prayer don't want to hurt anyone's
feelings "I'm a Vietnam veteran, and Vietnam veterans fought for the
minorities. And we don't want to step on anyone's religious rights whether
they're in the majority or the minority. . . . We love people -- whether
Mormons or Jews or gentiles or Buddists. I have nothing bad to say about them.
"All I want them to do at this point is to allow me to pray the prayers I
want to pray, if its in private or in public."
Prayer conflicts with football ethos
(Tucson) AZ Daily Star 1Sep00 N1
By Greg Hansen: Arizona Daily Star