Awesome: Atheists Attacked This School, but Their Football Team Just Told Them to Shove It

Some much-needed and long-overdue pushback against the abuse of what may be one of the Supreme Court’s most-abused decisions ever, Engel v. Vitale. As the First Amendment says: …or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Immediately following a recent matchup between football teams from the Air Force Academy and Arizona Christian University, the disdain for such anti-Christian activism was on full display. ACU President Len Munsil explained that both teams united for a post-game prayer on the field.

After leading his team to a hard-fought victory, ACU captain Brennan Bowen — number 54 — took the opportunity to thank God for his gridiron opponents who have made the decision to defend the liberty American enjoy, Munsil said.

A stirring image of the prayer shows two teams joining for a higher purpose than the game that initially brought them together.

“As the photo indicates,” Munsil noted, “while extreme anti-Christian groups may try to drive military cadets away from expressing their faith, young men of courage and Christian commitment will continue finding ways to express their faith in public.”

In addition to thanking God for the bravery of the cadets, he added, Bowen appropriately quoted John 15:13, in which Jesus assured, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

From Justice Potter Stewart’s dissenting opinion in the Engel decision:

With all respect, I think the Court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. I cannot see how an “official religion” is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the contrary, I think that to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation.

The Court’s historical review of the quarrels over the Book of Common Prayer in England throws no light for me on the issue before us in this case. England had then and has now an established church. Equally unenlightening, I think, is the history of the early establishment and later rejection of an official church in our own States. For we deal here not with the establishment of a state church, which would, of course, be constitutionally impermissible, but with whether school children who want to begin their day by joining in prayer must be prohibited from doing so. Moreover, I think that the Court’s task, in this as in all areas of constitutional adjudication is not responsibly aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the “wall of separation,” a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution. What is relevant to the issue here is not the history of an established church in sixteenth century England or in eighteenth century America, but the history of the religious traditions of our people, reflected in countless practices of the institutions and officials of our government.

I have noticed, from the many times I’ve seen this issue come up, that it very often tends to hinge upon whether atheism is a religion. Perhaps that could not have been foreseen at the time Engel was decided, but in the past few decades it seems the secular part of America has become emboldened, and the more zealous bits of it have embarked on a mission to “establish” a system of belief that may or may not be able to escape the confines imposed on true religions, by way of calling itself not-a-religion. Government, therefore, enshrines a belief in a godless universe and not only is that fully constitutional, but it’s unconstitutional to oppose or resist such an “establishment” movement, in any way.

To test whether or not atheism is a religion, I’ve noticed it is most enlightening to ask an atheist how the universe began. Goodness gracious, the yawning chasm that follows between what is “known” and what is actually proven; it’s dazzling. If that is not “faith” then what is? One can only conclude, in the aftermath of such a social experiment, that Justice Stewart was onto something — as were the gentlemen who actually wrote the words in the First Amendment.

Do not establish, but also, do not interfere with the free exercise. It’s right in there, look it up.

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