Cheerleaders at a small, northern Tennessee community spoke with a huge voice by refusing to let go of a tradition that had been a part of their high school for decades–pre-game prayer–and they got a good chunk of the community to join in.
After continued pressure from the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Oneida High School dropped its practice of giving an invocation over the PA system before each game, and substituted instead a moment of silence, according to local NBC affiliate WBIR.
“[As[ far as I know we have been playing football here since 1930 and been praying ever since,” Kevin Acres, who sits in the booth for every Oneida High School home game told the station.
But the moment of silence seemed all wrong.
“I heard the moment of silence, but it was kind of a sick feeling in my stomach,” said head football coach Tony Lambert.
When Acres made the new announcement over the PA system at a recent game, he added, “During our moment of silence, if you want to say a prayer, that would be perfectly fine.”
That’s when one member of the cheerleading squad–Asia Canada–decided to take matters in her own hands. She recited the Lord’s Prayer–loudly–with wondrous results.
“He called for the moment of silence and I started off, ‘Our Father who art in heaven’ and everyone joined in,” said Canada.
And “everyone” included the visiting fans and cheerleaders–everyone in attendance.
“By the time the prayer was over with, the entire stadium was saying it,” said Acres.
It’s a new tradition at Oneida, that the cheerleaders begin each game with a cheer for God.
“It just touches my heart that so many people are getting involved with it,” said Canada.
Watch the WBIR news clip below.