Christian high schools denied prayer before football game

Dec 5, 2015 by

TAMPA —  A pair of Christian high schools facing off in the District 2-A Championship football game Friday at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando will not be allowed to broadcast a prayer over the PA system before kickoff, according to the Florida High School Athletics Association.

“What we really want to do is raise awareness,” said Tim Euler, the Head of Cambridge Christian School. “All we’re asking for is an opportunity for two Christian schools to pray.”

Euler said the Cambridge Christian School in Tampa and their opponent, the University Christian School from Jacksonville, both sent letters to the FHSAA requesting the prayer.

“We’ve played 13 football games this year,” he said. “We’ve prayed before every one of them.”

The FHSAA did not respond to a request for an interview, but an email from executive director Dr. Roger Dearing outlines the reasons the 30-second prayer was denied.

“The facility is a public facility, predominantly paid for with public tax dollars, makes the facility ‘off limits’ under federal guidelines and precedent court cases,” Dearing wrote. “In Florida Statutes, the FHSAA (host and coordinator of the event) is legally a ‘State Actor,’ we cannot legally permit or grant permission for such an activity.”

Euler said he’s not buying that argument but realizes there’s not enough time to try and fight the issue before the game begins.

“I don’t foresee Florida High School budging on this,” he said. “The state legislature opens up every one of their sessions in prayer and that facility is paid for with tax dollars. So, as far as I’m concerned, neither of their two reasons to deny both schools’ request to have a corporate prayer is valid.”

Source: Christian high schools denied prayer before football game

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