OneNewsNow.com reported that an Atheist group filed complaint against a school in Tennessee where a player was severely injured by a blow to the neck that made him unable to move his legs. So, another student asked the youth pastor Eric Dill of Bayside Baptist Church to pray for the injured player. Pastor Dill prayed with the student and some teachers and coaches bowed their heads in prayer. But the atheist group alleged that “coaches cannot participate in prayer in school, and even that student-led prayer at football games is unconstitutional,” according to the FFRF’s complaint.
The pastor, however, responded that he could not turn down a request to pray for a person in need: “If I believe in a God who answers prayers, how bad [do] I have to hate the kid who’s injured or the player who asked or the players who are hurting not to pray?” Dill asked. “I’m going to be respectful and I’m going to be considerate. I’m not going to force my myself or my faith. God doesn’t force Himself on people, but if a student asks me, ‘Eric pray for this’ – especially in something like this – I’m going to pray.”
The school district has apparently investigated the complaint and, according to Natalie Potts of WRCB-TV, “School officials say they understand that they are not to endorse any particular religious practice – including student led prayer – and they do not believe that any boundaries were violated in this situation, but additional training will be provided to school employees.”
Can the state forbid Christians to pray when they are in need?
The framers of the Constitution were God-fearing men. They made a serious endeavor to institute a new nation on biblical principles, including equity, justice, and liberty. One of the liberties they recognized as “inalienable and sacred” was the freedom of religion. The first amendment of the U. S. Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The story of Daniel reminds us of the importance of exercising our religious rights even when the state forbids it. The king of Babylon made a law forbidding prayer to anyone but himself and if anyone would violate his law he would be thrown into the lions’ den. “When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). As a result, Daniel was thrown into a lions’ den.
But the Lord saw the injustice of the king’s law and sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths that they could not hurt Daniel. God in heaven is watching with extreme interest the affairs of men and He will administer justice, at His appointed time, on those that fight the freedom of religion. For the Bible teaches that, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29).
While Christians should not go out of their way to offend those biased against prayer or God, they should not be ashamed of their faith. For Jesus clearly teaches that: “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32, 33).