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By Larry Rowell
Landmark News Service
The 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states that while Americans have the right to practice a religion of their choice, no government body has the right to establish a religion.
Based on that principle, one practice at football games in the south has come under fire from people who object to a minister praying on the public address system before the start of the game.
Two months ago, Bell County, Ky., school district officials received a letter from a lawyer representing a Wisconsin-based foundation threatening a lawsuit if the practice wasn’t halted.
School officials quickly discovered that if the lawsuit went to court, it could cost the district as much as $500,000 in legal fees.
Recently, two counties in central Kentucky were ordered to pay the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky more than $400,000 because it won a challenge to the counties’ Ten Commandments displays.
I think that Bell County school officials were smart not to pursue the issue of continuing the prayer before football games.
How can cash-strapped school districts spend - and, likely lose - hundreds of thousands of dollars that could go to educate Kentucky’s children?
Now, before you mount your self-righteous high horse and pronounce me a heathen, let me state that I’m not against Christian, public prayer.
I appreciate that Casey County Fiscal Court has prayer seeking God’s guidance in each meeting.
But, I wonder if the county could or would seek to defend the practice in court if it’s ever challenged.
Now folks, no matter how much we decry the lack of prayer in schools or on the ball field or having to remove the Ten Commandments from government buildings, let’s be realistic.
The law of the land has spoken and it’s simply useless to spend taxpayers’ dollars trying to defend something that the courts have said is a violation of the Constitution.
Those funds are better spent on roads, schools, police, and helping the truly deserving rather than in defending an indefensible cause.
In addition, let’s be realistic from a Biblical standpoint.
Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that praying in public is more important than LIVING what Jesus taught.
Three times in John chapter 14 Jesus stated that if His followers truly love Him, they’ll keep His commandments.
Also, Jesus said that all men will know that someone is His disciple “if they have love one for another,” Mark 13:35.
Possibly, if we who call ourselves Christians did a better job of daily living what Christ Himself lived and taught, we might see those who object to Christian prayer come to know the One called the “King of Kings” and the “Lord of Lords.”
Bible-believing Christians can rant and rave against unbelievers until they’re blue in the face. But a sermon lived is better than a sermon preached or posted.
We sing the words to the old hymn: “Let others see Jesus in you, let others see Jesus in you, keep telling the story that’s faithful and true, let others see Jesus in you.”
Editor’s note: Larry Rowell is a staff writer for The Casey County News in Liberty.