Most Americans are on board with prayer at public school sporting events, a new survey found.
The results of The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research study came after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision this summer in favor of Washington state high school football coach Joe Kennedy, who had been battling the Bremerton School District since 2015.
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District officials argued for years his prayers at the 50-yard line were a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The justices, though, sided with Kennedy, ruling school officials violated the coach’s free speech and free exercise rights.
The new study found 54% of Americans approve of the high court’s ruling. Conversely, 22% disapprove of the justices’ decision and 23% hold neither opinion.
Overall, Americans support prayer at public school sporting events.
“Solid majorities think a coach leading a team in prayer (60%), a player leading a team in prayer (64%) and a coach praying on the field without asking the team to join in (71%) should all be allowed in public high school sports,” reported the Associated Press.
The survey found nearly one-quarter of respondents — 23% — have prayed about the outcome of a game, with 35% of evangelical sports fans and 21% of fans from other faith backgrounds saying they had done so. Interestingly, even 15% of nonreligious fans admitted they, too, have prayed about the end result of a sporting event.
According to the study’s findings, about 3-in-10 American adults believe prayer “can play a role in determining who wins a sporting event, and a similar percentage say God plays a role.”
A 2016 study by Lifeway Research presented Americans with a question: Does God care who wins the Super Bowl? At the time, a whopping 88% of the 1,000 adults surveyed said, “No.”
The research found Christians (89%) were more likely to believe God does not care about the outcome of the biggest sporting event on the U.S. calendar than those of other faiths (79%).
“Our previous research has shown most Americans think God is concerned with their day-to-day decisions,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “Yet this survey shows Americans do not see God as interested in their favorite sport.”
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