Tennessee Principal

       In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision making school-initiated prayers on public address systems before high school football games unconstitutional, many communities across the country-and the Christians who live in those communities-have stepped out in faith and with boldness to demonstrate they don't agree with that decision. Since the fall football season kicked off, God-fearing citizens in states such as New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Arkansas, Maryland, and Mississippi have chosen to continue to honor God through pre-game prayer. Many of those citizens, according to reports, have chosen to pray the Lord's Prayer in unison immediately following the National Anthem. Others have chosen different approaches.

       Still another-high school principal in eastern Tennessee-chose NOT to pray over the PA system, but instead used the opportunity to remind the football fans that night why it is important that we SHOULD pray. Mr. Jody McLoud, Principal of Roane County High School in Kingston, TN, stepped to the microphone on Friday evening, September 1, 2000, and spoke these words:

        "It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games to say a prayer and play the National Anthem to honor God and Country. Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law.

       As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it 'an alternate lifestyle,' and if someone is offended, that's OK.

       I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity by dispensing condoms and calling it 'safe sex'. If someone is offended that's OK.

       I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a viable means of birth control. If someone is offended, no problem.

       I can designate a school day as earth day and involve students in activities to religiously worship and praise the goddess, mother earth, and call it 'ecology'.

       I can use literature, videos, and presentations in the classroom that depict people with strong, traditional, Christian convictions as simple-minded and ignorant and call it 'enlightenment'.

       However, If anyone uses this facility to honor God and ask Him to bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, Federal Case Law is violated.

       This appears to be at best, inconsistent, and at worst, diabolical.

       Apparently we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except God and His Commandments.

       Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be at best, inconsistent, and at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression.

       For this reason, I shall 'Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's,' and refrain from praying at this time. However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise, and thank God, and ask Him in the name of Jesus to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that's not against the law-yet."

Mr. Jody McLoud, Principal of Roane County High School, Kingston, TN (delivered over the public address system at a football game on September 1, 2000)