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Group Attacks University Of Tennessee For Praying Before Game

September 24, 2012 by  

Group Attacks University Of Tennessee For Praying Before Game
After receiving a letter of complaint, officials from the University of Tennessee decided that praying before a game is Constitutional.

Praying before a game is a tradition in many football programs. But the University of Tennessee recently re-evaluated the process after a group complained.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a letter to Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, urging the school to stop the ritual. The letter cites surveys, court cases and even the Sermon on the Mount in an attempt to convince Cheek that praying before a game is unConstitutional.

Earlier in the year, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga started having a moment of silence before games, instead of a prayer. The FFRF wanted the University of Tennessee to volunteer to do the same.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation and author of the letter, said: “This is a public university, not a Christian club. It’s open to all comers and should be welcoming. When you’re not religious or are of another faith and you get prayed at during events, it’s really very grating. It’s a sock in the gut for you to go for a sporting event and then be told to conform to someone else’s religion.”

Presently, Tennessee officials have no intention of changing the ritual.

Bryan Nash

Staff writer Bryan Nash has devoted much of his life to searching for the truth behind the lies that the masses never question. He is currently pursuing a Master's of Divinity and is the author of The Messiah's Misfits, Things Unseen and The Backpack Guide to Surviving the University. He has also been a regular contributor to the magazine Biblical Insights.

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  • Robert Smith

    Praying is establishing a “group think” just as casting a spell or chanting at a sales meeting does. Rituals are important for tasks that require team work. As long as nobody is forced to participate (they don’t necessarily need to be on a team) I have no problem with it.

    When it’s forced I’m at the head of the line with objections.


    • FreedomFighter

      Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation and author of the letter, said: “This is a public university, not a Christian club. It’s open to all comers and should be welcoming. When you’re not religious or are of another faith and you get prayed at during events, it’s really very grating. It’s a sock in the gut for you to go for a sporting event and then be told to conform to someone else’s religion.”

      I have never seen anyone forced to pray, ever. A. Gaylor need to respect the rights of those that do pray and go get a Hotdog or something during the prayer. Its a sock in the gut for you to go for a sporting event and then be told not to pray because someone else isnt into religion and must force you to conform to there nonbelief. Especially when you know they are wrong.

      Laus Deo
      Semper Fi

      • larry h

        I’m no Muslim for example and if Muslims wanted to hold a Prayer before a event rather than complain about it i would not participate, but would show respect for there choice by respectfully being quiet while they pray.Just as a Jehovahs Witness does not say a pledge of allegience to our flag but yet they say nothing to those doing so but do not participate.My question to those objecting to the prayer is can they show where any harm has been brought on an to them from hearing the prayer. If not then what is the problem as i can guarantee them that a large percentage of those attending the game just do not participate but at least are respectful of those who do take the prayer to heart.My question to those complaining is what is your real purpose for the complaint..

      • Vigilant

        Constitution of the State of Tennessee, Article I, Section 3”

        “That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.”

        Looks to me like the FFRF is the one who would seek to “control or interfere with the rights of conscience.”. It is THEIR attempt to urge the university to unConstitutional activity, at both state and Federal levels.

      • JCfromDC

        Yeah, go and get a hot dog and a beer, or, if you’re a muslim, get a burger and a coke, or a hindu, a salad & water. Somehow the “freedom from…” crowd always seems to cow down to muslims (fear?) when they want their way, but christians seem to make an easy target because we are so “tolerant”, which seems to fly in the face of our supposed “INtolerance” to the beliefs of others, tho’ it’s mainly just a disagreement in dogma. TRUE christians generally do not force their doctrine on others, we just want the same “tolerance” shown in our direction that muslims and atheists always scream bloody hell about with THEIRS. Ours is NOT a religion of supremacy as islam is (the very definiton of submission), tho’ we’d like it to be — but voluntarily. We were given a free will, after all. What’s the big deal, if a majority favors this? Nobody’s toes are literally being “stepped on”! Don’t like it? Ignore it? Don’t make the same fuss that YOU would resent if it was aimed in YOUR direction. Don’t let it wreck your day. No one is “forcing” you to be a “believer.” Gulity conscience, maybe?

        Please also note that I use lower case for referring to “religions” here as their are those WITHIN both the islamic and christian “faiths” that believe they are more “enlightened” than other “flavors” of same, i.e. (Catholic vs. Methodist vs. Lutheran, vs. Presbyterian & Sunni vs.Shia; Judaism vs. Christian vs. Islam vs. Hindu, etc). Get a GRIP people! It’s a small world.

    • Jay

      When was the last time you were forced to pray, Robert?

      • sam1966

        Just like when the Chaplain would stand in front of our unit in Iraq and he said “let us pray”, if you wanted to pray you bowed your head and prayed. If you didn’t want to, you just stood there in silence and allow those who wanted to pray a chance to do it without interruptions. OMG! Rob made no Christian bashing comments. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님과 국가 대 한!

        You need both love of country and fear of God to be a patriot.

  • Peter

    I received this today and think it’s relevant for this post:

    “If you’re placed in a situation where you suspect your convictions will be labeled intolerant, bigoted, narrow-minded, and judgmental, turn the tables. When someone asks for your personal views about a moral issue—homosexuality, for example—preface your remarks with a question.

    You say: “You know, this is actually a very personal question you’re asking, and I’d be glad to answer. But before I do, I want to know if you consider yourself a tolerant person or an intolerant person. Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view? Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?” Let them answer. If they say they’re tolerant (which they probably will), then when you give your point of view it’s going to be very difficult for them to call you intolerant or judgmental without looking guilty, too.

    This response capitalizes on the fact that there’s no morally neutral ground. Everybody has a point of view they think is right and everybody judges at some point or another. The Christian gets pigeon-holed as the judgmental one, but everyone else is judging, too. It’s an inescapable consequence of believing in any kind of morality.”

  • Brian

    No where does the constitution guarantee freedom FROM religion

    • Vigilant

      Not only that, it prevents Congress from prohibiting the free exercise of religious beliefs. The anti-Christians always seem to forget the second half of the sentence.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      The University of Tenn. already had determined to have an end to before game prayers but they needed this supposed group to be the catalyst to end this praying.

      • firefight

        You’ll need to show some proof of your statement. To say that the University of Tennessee needed some group of any kinds support to violate basic Constitutional rights is absurd and shows a lack of understanding and education about our governing documents . Where are you from?

      • Nadzieja Batki

        Better reread the article. What part of “presently” do you not understand, this gives the Univ of Tenn a temporary out of announcing a decision which was already made to stop the prayers.
        How many months would like to wait for the Univ of Tenn to announce that they are stopping the prayers before the game?

      • sam1966

        They don’t need to stop them. If others are “uncomfortable” with prayers before a game, tough luck. This country was founded a Christian nation and they have the right to pray to Almighty God anytime and anywhere they wish. Whether on the gridiron, battlefield, in front of abortion mills (slaughtering of the innocent), near queer rallies, etc., it is their God given right and no one has the right to tell them they can’t. Here is something else they are trying to pull off.,html

        FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님하고 나라를 위해서!

        You need both love of country and fear of God to be a patriot.

    • cpa

      In this country we have the freedom to practice our religion (any of them). We are guaranteed that freedom so that the government will not come in and prohibit any individual from practicing their religion or establishing one government religion to the removal of all others. Government is the one restrained – not individuals.

      If they stop prayer – they are stopping an individual(s) from practicing their constitutionally protected right to practice their religion.

      Only exception – if my religion says that I need to take a right away from someone else – such as take their life. If my religion says that if you don’t believe in my religion that I need to kill you, then I do not have that right to kill you. But I still have the right to pray or practice other elements that do not take rights away from you such as the right to life. This specification is required for some religions (Islam for example) that if you actually practice it requires the killing of anyone who does not convert.

      But as for prayer – there’s nothing you can do while praying that takes any right away from another individual. Having your feelings hurt or just not liking God being part of things is never something that is protected to enable one group to remove the right of freedom to practice their religion from another group.

  • priscilla rutland

    do as we did__students led Lord,s Prayer___officials were not involved___ we exercised our freedom of speech.

    • Peter

      That is truly beautiful Priscilla :-)

    • Nadzieja Batki

      This also will be eliminated if the games are put on strict timetable, you will be considered as time wasters. Everything possible will be done to make things inconvenient for group assembly.

      • firefight

        You have an interesting name Nadzieja Batki. Will you be a part of that organization who will seek to end our freedoms?

      • harry

        Why dont you go back to where you came from.

  • “Homer”

    Ms Gaylor: I ask God to do this for you, PUT you in a Positiion that you wil have to be in such a position that YOU will have to LOOK UP and say….OH MY GOD…help me!! As far as your doctrine…to “HELL” w/your destruction of faith! YOU have NO idea what you are doing and YOu are being lead by an evil spirit!! Psalma 150 KJV!!!

    • Rebecca

      Homer you are so right!!!! The night before my youngest child was born I had a heavy sense of impending doom. I could not shake it. She was 7 weeks early and as I prayed I was totally honest with God. I said, “Lord, if you take this baby from me I don’t know if I can trust you anymore”. Well…He put me in a place that I had no choice but to trust Him. My daughter was on life support for the first week of her life and things were touch and go for several weeks after. The only thing I COULD do was to trust the Lord. The situation was beyond my control and beyond the control of the medical staff. Today, she is a healthy, happy high school senior and I KNOW that it was THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY that healed her. Through that time He taught me to trust.

      • http://naver samurai

        Good post Rebecca and Godspeed. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님하고 나라를 위해서!

        You need both love of country and fear of God to be a patriot.

  • Nanc

    Thank you for not changing the ritual Amen.

  • Gary L

    You have every right not to pray. But why in the hell should my right to pray be infringed upon simply because you don’t like it? Until someone forces you to pray, get over it.

    • Doc Sarvis

      Any and every concious moment of your life you can be in prayer if you want to be. God makes no requirement that you must pray in a group.

      That being said, I don’t have any problem with “a moment of silence/reflection” at group events. It can be used for whatever cerebral or spiritual purpose one wishes.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Doc Sarvis, neither you or the Leftists care about anyone praying. What worries you is the group cohesion that occurs in this type of assembling.

      • Robert Smith

        “What worries you is the group cohesion that occurs in this type of assembling.”

        You bet! Without the group cohesion the inquisitions, crusades, and the current attacks on minorities like gays wouldn’t be possible.

        Why don’t you prey for understanding rather than condemnation of gays, for example? One has the potential to change your point of view, and the other is simple hate and bigotry.


      • Patriot1776

        Rob, no true Christian prays for the condemnation of anyone. The attacks that I see happening today are the gays attacking the christians. I haven’t seen any christian riots or attacks, but mention the Word and see the feathers fly.

      • harry

        You must be illegal, i would like to meet you in person and fix your attitude.

      • sam1966

        SSDD, eh Rob? FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님과 국가 대 한!

        You need both love of country and fear of God to be a patriot.

  • teaparty13

    Isn’t it about time for Americans to speak up to those that want to change everything about OUR country? I guess BHO’s “change” is everything we hold dear, notice how all this type of BS really got going when he was elected?

    • Doc Sarvis

      I don’t see how you can blame this event on President Obama. These sorts of conflicts about religon in public events have been going on for a long time. Get real.

      • Nadzieja Batki

        You don’t know how deep and stinky that sewer that you call your heart is but lay claim that you have secret knowledge of O.

      • deerinwater

        You host and harbor a mean spirit Nadzieja Batki ~ and really not one to be passing any judgement on other people. ~ You show us time and time again your backside as you snap, snarl and attack the fence that divide us.

      • Doc Sarvis

        Nadzieja Batki – when have I claimed to have secret knowledge of President Obama?

    • Patriot1776

      The official day to speak up is November 6th I believe.

  • David

    The Freedom From Religion gang are the ones violating the Constitution by trying to deny people the right to freedom of religion which includes religious practices! To say people of other faiths are “prayed at” is ludicrous since anyone denying the faith of those praying can simply ignore what they don’t believe rather than to try to infringe on the religious freedom rights protected by the Constitution.The founders wrote the freedom of religion clause with the intention that government was not to TOUCH religion & religious practices! The reason this country was founded was based on those who came here to escape religious persecution!!

    • Nadzieja Batki

      But O and his minions don’t believe in the Constitution as you do, so they will make sure that their twisted vision of the Constitution prevails.

      • firefight

        OH, so it is YOU who knows the secret workings of O’s mind. Perhaps the cesspool of your mind is beginning to smell a bit.

  • firefight

    “Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation and author of the letter, said: ‘This is a public university, not a Christian club. It’s open to all comers and should be welcoming. When you’re not religious or are of another faith and you get prayed at during events, it’s really very grating. It’s a sock in the gut for you to go for a sporting event and then be told to conform to someone else’s religion.’ ”

    I’m sitting here wondering if Annie Laurie Gaylor ever hears her own words and I wonder if she has the slightest clue about this country, our Bill of Rights, Our Constitution or the laws of the State of Tennessee. I wonder if she knows anything about our founding fathers, their struggle to bring this Nation to greatness or what we have sacraficed to achieve and maintain the freedoms we enjoy. OBVIOUSLY not! She can take her ” sock in the gut” and go straight to hell. While she sippedly tries to tell us that we are trying to make her and her mionions “conform” to our religious standards, she tries to make us conform to hers. Does she think that we are that stupid…….as stupid as she is? Here’s what I suggest to her. Move into a cave, Annie. Don’t go to any Tennessee football games. Don’t own a TV or a computer. Avoid any contact with anyone who might believe in God or who might even mention his name or that of his Son. Avoid any contact whatsoever with the 98% of the people in this country who DO believe in a creator, our God. And, keep her stupid mouth shut.

    This message is approved by Americans who believe in God as being totally, 100% politically correct.

    • Tim L.

      There’s that Christian, love and goodwill again! Kinda like the Taliban.

      • sam1966

        SSDD eh Tim? FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님하고 나라를 위해서!

        You need both love of country and fear of God to be a patriot!

    • Ralph

      I fail to see how God (any God) cares who wins a football game? Can any one give a good answer to why God would select one team over the other to favor? Then tell me how God would exhibit that favor?

      • Bill Miller

        Obviously , since at most games both teams and fans from both sides say a prayer before the game, GOD does not “favor” one team over the other.
        This is plain and simply a tradition and a ritual that has been carried on at our nations schools, colleges, and universities, since they started playing sports. It is not to ask GOD to favor one team over the other, but to ask GOD to bless the game and the fans and to allow each participant to do their best. the team that works best together on that particular day will be the winner.

      • Berry

        Have you ever been to a football game and heard someone praying for their team to win? ALL the prayers I’ve heard have been for the protection for the players, fans etc.

  • Deerinwater

    Here in Texas, we offer thanks and bless the riders and stock at the beginning of each rodeo. We are one of many states in the bible belt and this opening of events with a brief prayer is a custom that has been practiced for a good hundred years that I’m aware of.

    There would be a lot of opposition offered to anyone wanting to change this custom where is good or bad or right or wrong. As long as I’m not being asked to get on my knees or stay frozen in “reverence” most then 3 minutes, I don’t mind it personally. For anyone that does, I’d encourage them to not attend.

    While I do not normally encourage “public” displays of faith as I find it very personal.

    Allow me to offer some of the reasons why I feel as I do.

    Matthew 6:5-6

    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    Mark 1:35
    And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

    1 Corinthians 14:14
    For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.

    Luke 20:46

    “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,

  • TML

    I think even most atheists would agree that this is total crap. Holding public prayer, especially during a sporting event, in no way forces one to participate in the ritual. The Freedom From Religion Foundation itself, even in name, shows an utter lack of understanding the what the first Amendment actually says.

    • Vigilant

      Correctamundo, my friend!

      • sam1966

        I second that motion! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님하고 나라를 위해서!

        You need both love of country and fear of God to be a patriot.

  • Geo2mqn

    The FFR is a subversive anti -American activist group of thugs whose primary aim is to undermine the freedoms of all Americans . Freedom OF religion is the only Constitutional directive .

  • msgttbar

    Reminds me of the old story of the atheist gun control advocate who, upon hearing someone enter their home at 2 AM, calls someone with a gun to come help them and prays to God they arrive in time.

  • Benjamin Fox

    Someone should tell Barry Lynn the so called minster that he is distorting what the first ammendment says about free speech, the so called minster that Thomas Jefferson’s letter said the government was not to make a religion the law of the land and to stay out of church affairs, Lynn is a commie idiot and not speaking for God. Pray when ever and where ever you want, it’s not against the law.

  • Tim L.

    I don’t have a problem with people praying. If you want to pray, pray quietly to yourself. I don’t understand why some people feel it is necessary for everyone to be involved. When I attend an event, I’m there for the event– not to go to church.

    • Benjamin Fox

      Wow, where is the tolerance you guys say your about, or is that only for religion? I don’t want to see homosexuals acting out in public but, it’s there and my tolerance says let them make asses of themselves.

      • Tim L.

        Gee Ben, are you that judgemental about everything or is just the things you don’t agree with?

      • sam1966

        Once again Tim shows his ignorance and intollerance of others with this remark. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님하고 나라를 위해서!

        You need both love of country and fear of God to be a patriot.

  • ronald smith

    When i giving my time for your freedom in the United states Army, i was protecting the rights of all American citizens to pray as they believe, if you can’t respect other peoples
    rights to their freedom of religion, then maybe its time you get out, and go to a country that doesn’t pray.

    • Benjamin Fox

      Amen Ronald, 12 years in the Corps fight for that freedom, for myself and others. God Bless:

    • Doc Sarvis

      NOBODY is saying you can’t pray.

      • Nadzieja Batki

        Doc Sarvis, you are the one having problems with Christians praying.

  • Abby

    You can’t please everyone; someone is always going to be offended; stop with the political correctness and be christian and charitable.

  • gunner689AI

    If the before game prayer is eliminated I suggest Koran burning bonfires at all pep rallies.

  • joseph

    LETS GO UT!!!!!! tell the pansey waste progressives to stay out of school tradition. they dont like it when we sugest that they buy their own protection or to allow that feetis to live or pay for their own collage tuition. so they can let tradition stay at UT. LETS GO UT!!!!!

  • Wil

    Good for them for refusing to give in to what is basically attempted bullying.In fact they should respond by having even more prayers.These whiny azz little groups have a problem with it,rather than trying to force all of America to conform to their hatred of religion,there are enough other,already atheist,countries where they would feel at home.

  • gunner689AI

    Anyone know where I can buy korans in bulk at wholesale prices? Must be made of burnable paper or toilet tissue.

  • Ladybug

    What gives you the right to tell others not to pray? just shut up and leave people alone. No one is imposing prayer on you, morons. You are not even worth praying for and you, faithless morons speak of ‘tolerance’ but you yourselves are not ‘tolerant’. For the faithless it is a 1-way street, only what they want. The majority of people believe in God and they have every right to pray and no one has the right to interfere.

    • sam1966

      Right on! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님하고 나라를 위해서!

      You need both love of country and fear of God to be a patriot.

  • Rachel

    And bye the bye, it is Constitutional to pray, she needs to read the U.S. Constitution, it says “FREEDOM of Religion” NOT freedumb from religion.

  • Tim L.

    Religion is like a penis: It’s fine to have one, and it’s fine to be proud of it, but please don’t whip it out in public and start swinging it around–AND don’t try to shove it down other peoples throats.

    • gunner689AI

      tell that to your fag friends.

      • Tim L.

        Don’t get your panties in bunch, gunner.

  • Jose

    Not against atheism but one should not force one’s beliefs on one another

  • Louis

    prayer is mans way of speaking to GOD, the bible is GODs way of speaking to man.
    Since GOD is a, “spirit” and he is light, wich takes a way the darkness, then, one must become like him, meaning”light” to be able to comune, and be,”one with him.” I/E, “you must be born again, of water and of the spirit, in order to see, or enter into the kingdom of “GOD.”
    Anyone that thinks that they can interpret the “word of GOD,” without the spirit, is like one trying to swim, “up!” niagara falls…
    “Light takes away the darkness, but the darkness can not comprehend the lght,” so this is why so many resent, anything that has to do with GOD….

  • Edwin

    Freedom of religion goes both ways. Just because they don’t believe in God does mean that other people have to do the same. Praying before a game, before a meal or before going to sleep is practicing freedom of religion. Imposing the contrary is stupid.

  • Dee Ventress

    The first thing i thought was ” Oh No He Didn’t” Borned and raised in Tennessee let me let yhall in on a little secret…..If you for one second think your going to walk in to Tennessee and tell us we can’t pray then honey we are gonna show you what hell on earth is like. Trust me you’ll leave before we stop praying. When they said no prayer in school, we prayed anyway. Just who the hell do you think you are? You don’t believe in God? that’s your problem we do. No one in that whole state is being forced to pray, we do it because we want to you got a problem with that then stay the hell out of our state. People like you is the reason that the world is in the shape it’s in now. When i went to school we didn’t worry about someone coming in and shooting us…….we knew better and we either fought it out on the playground and took our ass whipping later or we acted like we had some dam sense and talked it out, why? because being raised with prayer in our lives taught us to be responsable for our actions and yeah a smack upside the head didn’t hurt either. Like i said don’t like it leave and take your spoiled and unruly kids with you. One more thing to think about we earned our prayers just check your history.


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