Bremerton FAQ

The U.S. Supreme Court has approved private, voluntary prayer at high school football games. The opinion raises many questions concerning the Establishment clause and the separation of Church and State. I have put together a helpful FAQ to aid bewildered school administrators.

Q. Has the Supreme Court put prayer back in the schools?

A. Not really. At this stage, there must be a football-related reason to justify invoking a deity’s aid.

Q. If one coach prays in an effort to obtain the favor of a particular deity, what should the other team do to avoid a competitive disadvantage?

A. A school-approved “chaplains’ panel” should level the playing field. Holy men of all faiths may apply.

Q. May a santero football coach sacrifice a goat on the 50-yard line during football games?

A. Of course! As long as a time-out is called and the sacrifice is performed quickly, such as at the end of a quarter or during half-time.

Q. Is voodoo a permitted football religious practice?

A. It certainly is! The practice is often seen at schools found in Haitian neighborhoods in Miami.

It is well known that invoking Papa Legba can often steer an errant kick into a three-pointer.

Q. Are underaged players permitted to smoke cigars and spew rum during conference games?

Of course! Note that since the rum is not consumed but instead sprayed in the direction of the orisha that underage drinking rules are not implicated. However, these sacraments should be used only under the guidance of the school Babalawo.

Q. Is it OK to speak in tongues in a huddle?

A. The term “huddle” is now deprecated. The new term is “game time prayer circle.”

And yes, what would otherwise be private prayer that becomes loud and public because of divine intervention may not be restricted.

Q. It’s 4th and inches. Is it constitutionally permitted to call a time-out for private prayer?

A. Whether it’s 4th and inches or 1st and 10, tell Coach that there’s no time like the present for private worship.

Q. My school has lost its last three games. Can we use black magic to beat our next opponent?

Of course. Drawing a pentacle on the field is one way to insure missed tackles and regular turnovers.

Q. Is permitted school football prayer restricted to “mainstream” religions?

Glad you asked. No, it’s not. As long as you have an identifiable deity, there is no restriction on private worship.

Q. Are Scientology tents permitted at high school football games?

A. Of course!

Scientology counselors packing e-Meters will offer free counseling, pre-clear services and sign-up sheets.

Q. We have an atheist in our game time prayer circle. What can we do?

A. Under Bremerton, football field prayer must be voluntary. However, Coach can bench whomever he wants for lack of good character.

The Supreme Court may rule on religious issues, but will not overrule the personnel decisions of a head coach, especially at game time.

Q. Should Zoroastrian players be permitted to light small fires on the field in honor of their god?

A. Yes. Zoroastrian fire marshals can insure that small fires lit by worshipful players pose no threat to the groundskeepers

Q. Coach requires two hours of classroom per week where he writes X’s and O’s on the board so the team can learn new plays.

My question is: can we have voluntary prayer in the classroom?

A. Yes. Because football is the reason for the class, prayer at these sessions is permitted.

Q. Can someone explain the Bremerton decision to me?

A. Because celebrity athletes are particularly well-suited to answer church/state questions based on their athletic prowess, we have decided to pose this question to Phil Mickelson at the earliest opportunity.

Q. We scored a field goal with 12 seconds left on the clock. What is an appropriate way to give thanks?

A. This depends on your religious tradition. Consult with your football team’s chaplain for best practices.

Q. Our school board refuses to fund the football team chaplain. The team has a special need, as they have had three losing seasons. What can we do?

A. Some school boards recommend setting up inter-faith religious commissions to vet candidates for the football chaplaincy.

Q. Coach and I share the same Christian faith. The team’s defensive coordinator is, however, of the Jewish faith. What should I do?

A. Help the defensive coordinator to form a minyan when requested. All faiths are respected on the field under Bremerton.

Q. We have an atheist in our game time prayer circle. What can we do?

A. Under Bremerton, football field prayer must be voluntary. However, Coach can bench whomever he wants for lack of good character.

Q. It’s 3rd and long and a rattlesnake brought for half-time snake-handling prayer has escaped onto the field. Can Coach use one of his time-outs?

A. Time spent collecting the reptile will not be charged to either team as the free exercise of religion at school-sponsored events must be respected.

Q. What is private prayer?

Private prayer is the subvocal, unobtrusive invocation of an identified deity, performed after alerting the media as to time and place of the subvocalization and voluntary prayer circle.

Q. After our last scoring drive, Coach went for two instead of the easy point. The conversion attempt failed. I feel like God has abandoned me.

A. Football field faith crises are normal after a missed conversion. Talk to your school’s religious counselor for guidance.

Q. If the 1st Amendment permits prayer in schools, doesn’t the 2nd Amendment permit guns in schools? When can our defensive tackles take their .357 magnums to practice?

A. First, let us compliment your defensive line on a wise choice of personal firearm. Automatic pistols may carry more rounds, but they are harder to clean and clear. A revolver is a safer gun because it is easier to insure that no round is chambered.

As to your question, Justice Roberts, who leaked the Dobbs opinion, intimated that we will see developments in this area soon.

Soul-Eating Monster

Q. “We are playing the conference champions next week and our team has had a dismal record. What can we do, that is, in a spiritual sense, to insure victory?”

A. Put photographs of a soul-eating Naga everywhere in the champions’ dressing room, and build a life-size model to be placed on a trailer so that it can dragged onto the field during time-outs for private game time prayer. With souls at risk, victory for your team should be assured.

Football Prayer Rug

American Muslims: now that the US Supreme Court in Bremerton has approved midfield prayer during football games, it’s time to get an appropriate prayer rug for the next game.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael O’Kane