Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Acts of Faith Penalized in Sports

A new battleground in First Amendment rights has appeared in sports. Public schools are trying to censor or even punish athletes who make any outward display of their religion. In high school sports ranging from track and field to wrestling, contestants are being penalized and even disqualified for merely giving brief thanks to God before or after a match. Even in professional football, the outspokenly Christian Tim Tebow faced constant opposition from liberals to the point where he was never even given a real chance to play football on his team during the past season.

In North Carolina, a high school junior knelt for a brief 2-second prayer before a wrestling match, and the referee penalized him a point for doing so. The referee claimed that the wrestler was "stalling," but the wrestler had already finished his quick prayer before the referee even warned him. It is obvious that no such penalty would have happened if the student has spent those two seconds thanking the referee rather than God.

In Texas, a boy's track relay team ran its fastest race of the year and defeated its closest rival by 7 yards, which should have enabled it to advance toward the state championship. Its anchor runner pointed to the sky to give glory to God as he crossed the finish line for achieving what the team had worked so hard for. But someone did not like the gesture, and authorities then disqualified this winning team because of it. And last year in Texas, it became necessary to file a lawsuit in order to prevent school officials from censoring cheerleader banners that had references to Bible quotes.

Years ago, the liberals used to be supportive of free speech, but now the Left is more likely to be on the side of censorship. It's time for the public to stand up against the censorship of personal, public, expressions of religious faith.

Listen to the radio commentary here:



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