The Praying Coach

A person that just joined my blog made this comment on one of his posts:  The Bible is my rulebook … I’m supposed to use it as the standard bearer for everything that I do in life.

prayingcoachAnd it seems this is also the philosophy of the four Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of the high school coach who led a “voluntary” postgame prayer on the field.

It’s been suggested that had it only been the coach performing this act, the impact of the ruling might not have been so great. But as images have shown, it wasn’t long before some of the players joined him. A few at the beginning, but soon the entire team. Most likely, early on the joiners were actual believers, but the Law of FOBLO (Fear Of Being Left Out) soon came into play.

Another point that should not to be overlooked is the considerable amount of power coaches have over high school players. They are huge authority figures and can delve out many sought-after benefits … from playing time to access to scholarships. Plus, at its core, such an action tends to become coercive –and exclusionary– when performed by authority figures.

Mmuslim-g49a59d552_640oreover, what about religious minorities … or people who are not affiliated with any religion? Several parents wondered how receptive the high court would have been to the freedom arguments if the coach in question had been a Muslim, who placed a prayer rug at midfield and bowed in prayers to Allah.

Prayer_Closet.jpgWhat’s interesting about this ruling is how many believers (and especially certain SC Judges) seem to “forget” (ignore!) the scripture in Matthew: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners that they may be seen by others. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret,

Final thought: A WHITE man gets the OK from the Supreme Court to pray after a high school football game, but a BLACK man is castigated for “taking a knee” during a Super Bowl football game. Prejudice anyone?

58 thoughts on “The Praying Coach

  1. Hello Nan. What most people still don’t realize is that the majority on the SCOTUS religious wing is the Catholic Opus Dei. Alito is one. As are the majority of the other conservatives Catholics including John Roberts. It seems that tRump’s staff was full of them. The more I dig into this the scarier it gets because this faction of the Catholic religion is actively working against the current Pope to take the church back centuries in its rules. The short definition of the goal of this organization is “Its mission is to help people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, serving others, and improving society”. In other words to turn everything in daily life into worship of god, every function of government to push the doctrines of the church, every action of the public to observe the doctrines of the church. Not just in the US but all over the world. What they can not make religious they aim to destroy. And they think their goal is above everything else, the constitution and secular law because they are on a mission from their god. The hidden is becoming into the open. Hugs

    Liked by 9 people

    • Very well said, Scottie.

      The Christian Nationalists have openly declared their intention to ‘subdue ‘ the world to enable Christ’s return. That’s contrary to their own scripture, but even mythological ‘facts’ have no affect on them.

      The insurrection goes on and Christian zealots are leading the charge. While they have the SC in their purse they will take every advantage of the Democrats who seem to think it is sacrilegious to speak out against the Republicans.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. Such praying isn’t praying; it’s preaching. SCOTUS got this one wrong when Gorsuch wrote the coach kneeled at midfield to, “offer a quiet personal prayer,” and came up with this ‘majority’ decision (that’s six Catholics towing the same religious line in case after case after case, let us not forget). That’s not an accurate rendering of what the coach was doing. He was using his public funded position to advance his religious beliefs on others.

    Such praying isn’t praying; it’s preaching. And, once upon a time, that for a public funded figure to do so was crossing the border between church and state. But expect more of this kind of religious advancement now that stare decisis – the doctrine that courts should adhere to precedent when making decisions (it means “to stand by things decided” in Latin) has been discarded by this little cabal of religious wingnuts.

    Liked by 11 people

    • Agreed. But we can’t expect the Supremacist Court to care that we know what they are doing.

      “Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted.”

      Seneca The Younger

      We need to find a way to convict them. I refer everyone to Nan’s post on fixing the SC.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. Hello Tildeb. He ignored it deliberately. Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed it out with pictures of the coach on the field surrounded by players and affidavits from the families saying their kids felt pressured to join or they might be cut from the team or lose playing time. But it was all about pushing their sect of religion on the country, pushing prayer to their god. If this had been a Muslim they would have found a way to not take it up or deny the right. Hugs

    Liked by 6 people

      • I think we will get there one day. This may turn out to be a serious setback, but once people have experienced the freedom offered by democracy, I’m hopeful that we will fight our way back if we fail in this situation.

        The Christian Evangelicals make clear that religious freedom is all about the freedom to be Christian. Period.

        Liked by 4 people

        • “The freedom offered by democracy” is all illusion, bequeathed by the wealthy who want you to believe what you have is freedom. For everything you can do, there are 10 things you cannot do. Is that really freedom? It all refers back to the Ten Commandments, and “Thou shalt not…” No one ever tells us what we can do, but they certainly love telling up what we cannot do.

          Liked by 6 people

  4. I think we can all relax about any possibility of God showing up down here in the foreseeable future. Putting aside, for a minute, the utter absurdity of the God concept itself, I think it safe to assume that, we’re He to exist, this would be the last place he’d likely show His face. Humanity must be a terrible embarrassment to Him, especially those who make public displays of ‘worship’ and those that put their words into His mouth (and then ram them down everyone else’s throat).

    Liked by 8 people

    • @Richmond Road: “Humanity must be a terrible embarrassment to Him,”

      It would not be the first time.

      Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

      His mistake. Everybody pays.

      If his son was on that ball field, he would tap that coach on the shoulder and say, “Get up. You’re embarrassing me.”

      I bet if that coach did Muslim style prayer postures/motions, he’d be out on his ass instead of his knees and forehead. Anatomy of religion in America.

      Liked by 7 people

  5. They all ignore the fact that what the coach is doing is directly contradictory to what Jesus told people to do. When they prayed they weren’t supposed to make a spectacle of themselves as he is, because that was sheer hypocrisy. They weren’t doing it to worship god, they were doing it to show other people how “holy” they were.

    “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites
    are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and
    in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.
    Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

    Liked by 8 people

  6. As I said somewhere else, atheists should congregate on the 50 yard line and loudly refuse to pray. Mwybe have an impomptu hootenany instead. Sing Puff the Magic Dragon…

    Liked by 7 people

  7. I have witnessed team players praying on the field here in Australia, however we only have 43.9% of Christians in Australia. Yes, I am unashamedly bragging to you Americans, NZ has even less Christians I understand and a declared atheist Prime Minister. Are we smarter down under or not? 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    • No idea what the figures are in Canada, but Christianity is not the only religion to consider, though it is the most prosthelytic. For the most part, Canadians live and let live. There is a small group, relatively speaking, who would have all of us live by their morals, but most people are tolerant in that belief is a personal choice. And that is my morality: make your choice, and keep it to yourself.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I suspect the number of atheists and agnostics in the US is far, far higher than what is being reported. Most atheists I know are very reluctant to proclaim their lack of belief for fear of how family and friends would react and even out of fear of harassment by religious.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I know someone smarter than me who will not say atheist. She says unbeliever. I’m an atheist but wonder sometimes about using it to label myself because it seems to be almost an institution with a public image that I don’t want. So I usually just say that I don’t believe in anything supernatural rather than say atheist / not believe in God (also true). If I have to use a label, I use Naturalist, but most of the time I have to explain that by adding, “there is no supernatural.” Untheist?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Now that’s an interesting point. The term atheist does have some unfortunate baggage thanks to some of the nonsense being spouted out there by various religious groups. Perhaps ‘unbeliever’ is a less politically charged term?

          Sidenote: Once upon a time I seriously considered buying a church. I could have got a pretty nice one for about $50K, in good condition, nice sized parking lot, etc. I’m an ordained minister with credentials, fancy degrees and all that fun stuff (well, they were fancy until one of the cats licked the gold foil off ’em). I was going to do gay marriages (this was before gay marriage became legal). But then it got bought by some kind of “Karate for Christ” outfit. Seriously. I wish I was making this up. Someone bought the place to “bring troubled youth to Christ” through karate.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Adding to this discussion re the term atheist … I’m sure you’ve heard that there are some who say that atheism is a religion in itself! Of course it isn’t, but very often when Christians begin to see their “arguments” are going nowhere, they go into Attack! mode.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Yes, and atheism has collected other reputations, true and false ones. It has baggage that I don’t like strapped onto me when I say that I am an atheist. So I say Naturalist and most people think I’m a gardener.

          Liked by 2 people

        • @grouchyfarmer, funny stuff! Karate for Atheism should work just as well. But proselytizing is not a big thing in most atheist circles. “Unbeliever” makes sense, of course. But it identifies someone by reference to someone else, not on their own. You exist as NOT something that somebody else is. (There’s probably some psycho-social term for this.) It’s like saying LGBTQ+ folks are “non-heterosexuals” or Blacks are Non-Whites. Somebody tell me the right word for this!

          Liked by 1 person

        • I prefer misotheist as it makes clear I find their Good News the most awful wickedness.


  8. Another thing to bring up is these “end timers” and the feverish beliefs. This is the last paragraph of a good article.

    “It’s [being end times belief] also a reframing of Christianity from a source of compassion into a source of vengeance. “What you have is this kickass, superhero Jesus who comes back to fix the passive, humble Jesus who didn’t get things right the first time,” Hunt continues. “This superhero Jesus who is going to beat up the bad guys and stomp on their enemies and crush everything under His heel. Then you find yourself in a place where you essentially have to cheer on violence. You have to cheer on calamity, because you’ve already decided that it’s a sign of the times.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Major big time prejudice Nan! It’s so monumental and glaring the the Bling-Faithers right in the face—like Mt. Everest—and your excellent comparison of Colin Kaepernick is SO spot-on that it is 3-4 pies in their face! Well done Ma’am. Double-standards or even triple-standards running rampant and amok among the far Right Socioreligious Conservatives. And they likely have no clue… or use “willing ignorance” and complicity for our Constitution and the clear-cut First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. 😡

    But I guess this sort of B.S. is the new norm, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. About what Scottie said about Opus Dei: since the rest of the Religious Right are Dominionists & therefore non-Catholic, it’ll be interesting when the American Wars of Religion start, since most non-Christian Catholics, especially those of the Born-Again variety do not consider Catholics to be Christian at all. Stayed tuned boys & girls ….

    Liked by 3 people

    • you have a good point there. There has been a sort of unholy alliance between Roman Catholics and evangelicals for the last few decades because of the abortion issue. But now that they’ve won that particular battle there is little left to unite them and everything to cause them to begin going after each other again. If you keep and eye on the religious media you’ve probably already noticed an increase in the amount of nasty rhetoric going on concerning various factions even within the same religious sect. The Southern Baptists seem to be on the verge of a serious fight going on between the churches caused by a variety of factors. There’s the “good old boy” network that’s been doing everything it can to cover up and do damage control after the sex scandals came to light, bickering about female pastors, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Given all the lies, blame, and scape goating around religion, prayer, and intentional violations since the early 60s, I cannot be too surprised.

    There is no longer anything “supreme” about the court. How long before they overturn election results? There is serious shit yet to come, in my opinion.

    Forgive or delete my click-bait, but it’s how I feel:

    Monday’s Rune: Independence Day

    Liked by 2 people

  12. That’s a good verse you ended with; I agree that some Christians are a little showy with their faith. However, I disagree with some of the stuff you said. I can understand how a person praying on a field might make some people uncomfortable, but I don’t understand how it could make anyone feel left out; as long as the coach isn’t stopping them, can’t they join in or at least sit with the others while they pray? Also, if the coach isn’t being oppressive and forcing people to pray with him, then what’s the big deal? It’s just religious freedom. While I cannot say whether or not a Muslim would have won the same ruling as this coach did, they technically should according to our laws, besides I’m not sure how judges these days could be very biased in favor of either Christians or Muslims as neither of those religions are very popular.


    • You write, … some Christians are a little showy with their faith. A LITTLE showy??? Surely you jest!

      Of course you think it’s “OK” for this person to pray on public school grounds … or for prayers to be said before public meetings … or for displays of the 10 Commandments to be placed on public property … or any other activity that puts Jeeezus in the public eye.

      As with thousands and thousands of other believers, you have this deluded viewpoint that “souls” will be won if only Jeeezus is put front and center. No, Alexander. No. This is a misconception of the highest degree. If you want to convert others to your faith, you don’t ram your beliefs down other people’s throats. You live a life that exemplifies what your savior taught.

      And … you don’t pray on football fields!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, Nan,
        When I jest
        I’m not the best.
        I see how you
        Might think I am,
        But I am not,
        so I digress.

        Like I said, I AGREE that the act this coach is making is showy and not in accordance with your referenced Bible verse. However, I am merely pointing out that, by law, this isn’t something that is wrong. As for the ten commandments being placed on a building, is that honestly any different from any other form of philosophical quote being placed on a building? I mean, Plato had religious beliefs, should we no longer include quotes from Plato on buildings or in other public places (also the Ten Commandments, whether you like them or not, are still really good commandments)? I get that showing off Christianity or, as you put it, trying to “ram” our “beliefs down other people’s throats,” is annoying to some, and look, I don’t disagree that organizing school curriculum’s or arranging similar activities according to or around one belief or another is wrong and takes away a person’s ability to decide for themselves, but if that is the case then we shouldn’t we also bring all the people rioting and protesting over abortion rights to court, as well as all the trans-people who are forcing others to use their preferred pronouns to court and the LGBTQ+ people who conduct Pride Parades. Even you Nan, are posting your beliefs and thoughts on a page that is not private, but accessible to anyone who comes across it. I accept that your blog is kind of like your house, where you are allowed to say what you want, but you’re still projecting that stuff out into the world, so, aren’t you, to some degree, displaying your beliefs too? I just want to say, though, that you are correct, Christians ought to lead a life that exemplifies what our Savior taught. On the flip side of that statement, though, Jesus taught in public (much to the frustration of authority figures), and Paul preached so publicly he ended up in prison. While I feel that you are correct, and that this coach may just be displaying unnecessary pride, living a life that exemplifies what our Savior taught, does, to a degree, involve sharing or displaying our faith publicly.


        • All I’m going to say at this point is that sometimes what you write doesn’t always come across (at least to me) in the way you think it does. Part of that, IMO, is you use too many words to say what you want to say and, in the process, you lose the reader.

          So, after reading another rather convoluted comment from you, it appears we are -somewhat- on the same page. But not entirely. And we’ll leave it at that.


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