An Alabama school district decided to halt its decades-old practice of reciting the Lord’s Prayer over a loudspeaker before high school football games after atheists complained — but that did little to stop fans from still belting out the biblical invocation.
The fascinating moment, which united players, fans and parents from both teams, came on Friday night when the announcer called for a moment of silence in place of previous student-led prayer at Smiths Station High School games, AL.com reported.
The Lee County School System decided to halt the Lord’s Prayer tradition after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, wrote a letter complaining about it.
“It’s especially unacceptable for public schools to invite proselytizers to take advantage of an immensely popular school event in order to preach,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement. “Any time we contribute to halting that, we feel vindicated.”
But while atheists are elated, many in the public have taken a starkly different stance. Rather than back down, the crowd came together on Friday night to recite the prayer before erupting in cheers and applause.
Watch it all unfold at the 1:10-mark below:
On another note: a GoFundMe campaign emerged in recent days in an effort to raise enough money to place the Lord’s Prayer on a scoreboard.
While that fundraiser quickly raised more than $4,000, the school board said that no such religious messaging would be allowed. Instead, that money will be donated to a local organization for Christian athletes.