Football Prayer at the Professional Level
Because participation in pro-football is considered voluntary, it’s hardly a concern that players are compelled to exhibit public display of prayer during and after game-time. In fact, most people don’t realize that it happens.
As far as occasional televised gametime occurrences of religious display, they are rare and often challenged- unsuccessfully challenged, due to the nature of religious freedom in the United States. However, there are aspects of a more fervent religiosity that ritually take place in complete seclusion not from the public of football fandom in attendance but from the merchandise-buying, cable-TV and special event purchasing public-not-present who nonetheless consume all sorts of festivities in the name of the game . . . largely unaware that such religious fervency is a strong part of that “game” for many of the people who actually become involved in it.
A Beliefnet article confirms that there are skeptics of the practice, nonetheless, and that effort is made to shield TV viewers from it. Somehow in attendance to- or in participation of- a secular event filled with decidedly non-secular religious rituals, the usual put upon scapegoat side-comments as to the validity of the antics:
“Doug, you gotta understand,” one ex-player said, “players will try anything if they think it’ll give them an edge in the game.” -via Beliefnet
Why not televise the prayer rituals of pro sports?
We have to wonder why pains are taken to not televise the practice of prayer/religious display at professional sporting events. If these practices are of free will among all subscribers (all those present) then why does media shield television viewers from that activity?
The modern football audience-in-attendance is now, more than ever, financially distinguishable from the rest of the public . . . those normally relegated to TV seats wherever they may find them. Is this development based on religious privilege?
In other words, to what degree has the vast public already been marginalized financially due to perceived lack of religious fervor or display? Is marginalization perpetuated by religious freedom or minimized by it?
American Education and Expectation
We rely on our public education system to provide impressionable students a serious education while leaving religious fervor for the church. Yet somehow, as we’ve allowed our public education systems to fail in large part, we’ve also allowed our original intent to become sidetracked in favor of religious dogmas and their inherent, eventual marginalizations.
We have to wonder how and why we’ve come to this place. When and why did it become acceptable to juxtapose this quality of freedom with such antics of religious display at adult public events. Does it really matter the age or level of achievement? Shouldn’t the same respectful behavior still apply in public groups, if for no reason other than to avoid muddling the minds of the children?
Freedom for All
All secular systems don’t necessarily allow free expression, but the American system of government does. This leaves us with the same old dilemma: just because one has legal protection of free expression, doesn’t necessarily mean all displays are rational, reasonable or appropriate. Isn’t it much more important that we use our rational senses in the public eye, for the sake of our kids?
Until we can turn back the tide of recently renewed religious fervor, all of our public systems are at risk of being engulfed by some yet-undetermined religion. Our melting-pot nation states cling to one religion only, and practically every holiday is a scathing battle of wills for superiority in our workplaces and neighborhoods. . . not unlike we see globally. How long, if we don’t change our current religious-political trajectory, before we succumb completely to the typical way of religiously-based discord and how can we stem that tide?
One way is to remain conscious. We can remind responsible adults and continue to teach about the history of the free West and the respect of our nation’s Founding Fathers for one another’s ways (why we hold our secularized freedoms so dear). Only this way will we be able to once again live free of the heavy-handed influence sought (and gaining) by our new extreme-religious breed of politicians.
Image via Public Domain (2-2016)