Group Tries to Prevent Team From Praying Before Games

"They cannot do this practice anymore and it will cease.”

The West Branch high school basketball team in Beloit, Ohio has a nondenominational prayer before games. This is a tradition that the community appears to enjoy, but the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a group dedicated to defending the non-existent "constitutional separation between religion and government," is fighting to take it down.

Local news outlet The Vindicator reports that FFRF, which claims it received a complaint, is calling this a victory after a January 18 letter asking the school to stop. “As of now we do know the district has put a stop to the prayer before athletic games, which we think is the correct solution,” said Rebecca Markert, FFRF legal director. “We are confident [West Branch Schools] will understand they cannot do this practice anymore and it will cease.” 

Tim Saxton, West Branch superintendent said:

“We hear what everyone is saying and we understand their concerns, and as soon as we can come to resolution on this we will. We ask for their patience as we work through this. We have to abide by policy and according to the law, but at same time we don’t want to take away something held in such high esteem here... We want to be both following the law and living up to the standards of the community.”

They hope to have a resolution by the next home game on February 9. The FFRF is a highly confused organization with many references on their website trumpeting First Amendment victories. What they don't seem to understand is that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. They are actively fighting against the Constitution. Good try, though.