By Michael Banerian
MICHIGAN- July 2, 2013-An issue that has been plaguing our society ever more often is government whether local or federal trampling the rights that we as Americans enjoy. Unfortunately we have an electorate that has turned a blind eye to this intrusion thinking that what they read in the news will never happen to them.
Earlier this week the electorate of the Bloomfield Hills School District (BHSD) were hit hard with a reality check when the BHSD trampled on the students freedom of expression banning the players of the football program to pray publicly after the games.
This decision has been met with much outrage from past and present players as well as many from the student body. The official decision came from the BHSD superintendent Rob Glass after receiving a complaint from a parent, the official statement from Glass read as follows:
“The coach did not lead prayer as alleged, but was present when students led prayer at the game. Student-led prayer is not to be part of post-game proceedings.”
In that one statement the constitutional right of the players to freely express their beliefs was taken away from them. This is not acceptable, and it is time for the players, students, and the electorate alike to voice their discontent with this decision.
All day my phone and computer have exploded with messages from players upset with this decision, one student, Spencer McCourt a current player on the Bloomfield Hills High School football team had this to say:
“I think it is wrong for someone outside of our program to step in and tell us we are not allowed to participate in a voluntary act of prayer.” And “If it is not ok to force someone to pray, then why is it ok to take away our right to pray?”
In this Spencer is right on the mark. Why is it ok for us to create these rules based on the intolerance of others? While there were claims that this kind of prayer may make nonbelievers feel bad, Spencer had this to say:
“It is not frowned upon at all if someone chooses not to participate.”
What we see happening here is a serious problem sweeping the nation. Not only is the right of freedom of expression being dismantled by our government, but specifically our freedom of expression concerning our religious beliefs.
What we see in reaction from some of these players is simple, these intrusions on our constitutional rights need to come to an end. The U.S. constitution gives us the right to speak our minds and believe what we want to believe; nowhere in these documents do we rebuke these rights due to the possibility of peer pressure, and we shouldn’t start now.
These sentiments are echoed by former Lahser football player Tyler Roth who says “It is a direct violation of first amendment rights to ban students from praying under their own will.”
It is time for our voices to be heard, and as a recently graduated senior of Lahser High School, I am appalled that my school district would so quickly trample our rights as students to express our religious beliefs in public.
A school district is supposed to encourage its students to express themselves and fully realize their constitutional rights. The Bloomfield Hills School District has failed at this and they should be ashamed of themselves, they have let down their students, their electorate, and their country.
For all Americans who do not live in the BHSD do not turn a blind eye to these actions. This intrusion is a virus that is sweeping our country; the only cure are our united voices. Let it be known that this generation of patriots will not allow our rights to be trampled by our government, not at the federal level and not at the local level.
We the people of these United States stand by our founding documents, and we will band together to speak out against any who would intrude on those rights.
Editor’s Note: The author of this article, Michael Banerian, is a 2013 Lahser High School Graduate and Political Activist. To contact these Michael and these students for interviews, please send emails to: