BLOUNT COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Student or volunteer led prayer will no longer be allowed over the intercom before high school football games in the Blount County School District.
According to superintendent Rodney Green, the district made the decision after a complaint from an organization based outside of the community.
After discussing options with attorneys, the district said there will now be a moment of silence at home games instead.
Some neighbors who live in the area were upset to hear about the change. Many said they have been accustomed to prayer over the public address system for years.
“One of our youth actually led the prayer over the P.A. system and that was last week,” said Scott Wortham, who is a youth minister at First Baptist Church in Remlap.
The church is just down the road from Southeastern High School.
“We really see no harm in praying for the welfare of our football players, and those that will be out playing, protection, and good sportsmanship,” said Wortham.
Religion is ingrained in many who live in Blount County. On a Wednesday night, we found several members of the Church of Remlap washing car windshields for strangers at a service station as part of a ministry.
“I feel like we as Christians are being silenced and so we have to go with the majority that is very loud,” said Alecia Melvin, who also lives in Blount County.
Previously, outside organizations have threatened other area schools with lawsuits, arguing that not everyone should be subjected to a prayer over a public intercom. A complaint prompted Hewitt-Trussville students to say their own prayer during a moment of silence last year.
Many neighbors say that intercom or not, they will not be silent.
“We believe that is an integral part of our life, we believe that to be able to pray, the bible tells us to pray without ceasing,” said Wortham.
A few Blount County neighbors reached out to CBS 42 via social media saying they were against prayer over the intercom, but did not want to speak out publicly against a majority of neighbors.
Religious leaders hope that students and parents still find a way to express their faith.