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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended September 03, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 01Sep00

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


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