Tennessee Cheerleaders Overwhelm Secular Silencing of Prayer
Since 1930, Tennessee’s Oneida High School began every home football game with a school-led prayer. This season, the 80-year-old tradition came to a disheartening end when school administrators bowed to escalating pressure from secularist groups and replaced the traditional prayer with a moment of silence.
While this new moment of silence avoided potential legal issues, it utterly failed to replace the sacred prayer tradition that was special to students, parents and the local community at Oneida High School. In fact, the head football coach of Oneida High School described the shift from a public prayer to a moment of silence as sickening.
Though school administrators forfeited the pregame prayer tradition, faith-driven students at the school weren’t content with being silenced. When the football game announcer called for the school’s first moment of silence, cheerleader Asia Canada took action by holding hands with her fellow cheerleaders and reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Audience members began joining in, and by the end of the prayer, the whole stadium—including the visiting team’s cheerleaders and fans—was reciting Jesus’ hallowed words.
Oneida’s football game announcer, who has worked in the booth for more than a decade, was inspired by Asia and saw a bright side to the end of the tradition. “Where you had one person saying a prayer over the PA, now you've got hundreds maybe a thousand people saying it together,” Acres said, according to the Huffington Post.
Asia’s bold move to assert her faith is an inspiring story as many schools throughout the United States have been sued for their pregame prayers.
The story has received national attention and with that exposure, the cheerleaders have faced bullying, alarming threats and harassment.
In the midst of this persecution, many Faith Driven Consumers have rallied to support the cheerleaders. And the cheerleaders continue to firmly stand behind their actions. As one cheerleader put it, their community needs God in it and that is what motivates her.
As Faith Driven Consumers, we are called to boldly stand up for our faith in the marketplace of goods, services, and ideas. This heartwarming story encourages all of us to exercise our religious liberty and courageously share our faith in every arena of our lives—from the football field to the grocery store check-out line.