SOUTHAVEN, MS - DeSoto County Schools said it’s not allowed anymore, but parents did it anyway. Prayer filled the air at the first football game since the district enforced a ban on public praying at school events. An atheist group called the practice unconstitutional. But it didn’t stop parents and students from praying out loud.
Friday, August 25, 2011, hundreds of people stood for the National Anthem, then a moment of silence as if waiting for the familiar prayer over the loud speaker. Instead of one loud voice, suddenly hundreds of small ones recited the Lord's Prayer. Their message delivered quietly, was still powerful.
Angie Jackson says she was upset when she heard an atheist group was attacking DeSoto County’s prayer policy.
“We need to stand up, we need to fight for prayer,” says Jackson. “We need to get it back in the schools.”
She immediately knew she wanted to be at the next home football game, saying her prayer out loud.
“We need to get it back, we need to fight as Christians,” she tells abc24.com. “We need to stand together and fight.”
Kristi Faulkner’s daughter attends DeSoto Central.
“The ban on prayer bothers me as a parent and a Christian," says Faulkner. "Being able to pray in public is something I believe in and I want to be able to do, I don't want to see it go away.”
Students say prayer over the loud speaker is something they'll miss. Many are upset that someone would change what they hold so dear.
“It’s something that motivates our team," says cheerleader Bailey Burnham. "It’s something we’ve always done and I don't think they should have taken it away.”
Standing in unison, one line shines brighter than the rest: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” And that's what these fans say they’re doing, the Lord’s Will, and they say they’ll continue to even under the bright Friday night lights.
“It’s showing God’s light shining through everybody," says DeSoto Central cheerleader Chelsea Moyer. "The entire community being active and praying, and it’s awesome.”