RANDLEMAN, N.C. — Normally, Randleman High School starts its football games with the announcer saying a short prayer.
But on Friday, the announcer followed a request by the ACLU and simply asked for a moment of silence instead.
But the stadium wasn’t silent – several audience members stood up and recited the Lord’s Prayer from the stands.
Many held signs showing support for prayer announcements. The community also started a Facebook page called Randleman Prays, with more than 3,000 likes.
“We are a community that the spirit is alive in,” said Ashley Parson, a Randleman High School parent.
For the past 20 years, announcer Tommy McDonald said a prayer – asking the Lord to watch over the players and for the fans to make it home safe.
The less-than-20-second prayer caused the ACLU to send a two page letter to the school saying the prayers had to stop.
The ACLU believes announcing prayers at public high school football games is unconstitutional and excludes members of the Randleman High School community.
This is the first game in 25 years that Melanie Higgins has been back to attend.
“This is the class of 88 showing up, and we are going to do this thing,” she said, supporting prayer announcements.
Announcer Tommy McDonald, who is also a member of the school board, did not want to go on camera, but told FOX8 that he was emotional after the prayer. He said he believes Randleman in a great place to live.
Fans said they plan on doing the same thing at the next home game.
“I think it’s silly,” said Pat Hollingsworth, a Randleman High School fan, referring to the prayer ban. “I really do. It’s pitiful.”
Randleman ended up winning the game over West Davidson with a 44-14 victory.