About 18 years ago, on a Friday night at a high school football game in Tennessee, the principal addressed the crowd prior to the game. It was Roane County High School in Kingston, Tennessee. The principal was Mr. Jody McLeod. At the time, McLeod had been principal of the 740-student school for eleven years. He’s no longer principal there, but his legacy will never be forgotten.
Prior to the game, Principal McLeod took the microphone in the press box and everyone in the stadium heard these words:
“It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games to say a prayer and play the National Anthem to honor God and Country. Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it an alternate lifestyle, and if someone is offended, that’s OK. I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity by dispensing condoms and calling it safe sex. If someone is offended, that’s OK. I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a viable means of birth control. If someone is offended, it’s no problem.
"I can designate a school day as earth day and involve students in activities to religiously worship and praise the goddess, mother earth, and call it ecology. I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depict people with strong, traditional, Christian convictions as simple minded and ignorant and call it enlightenment. However, if anyone uses this facility to honor God and ask Him to bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, Federal Case Law is violated. This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical. Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone except God and His Commandments.
"Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules that they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression. For this reason, I shall render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and refrain from praying at this time. However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank God, and ask Him in the name of Jesus to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that’s not against the law - yet.”
According to people who were there, one by one, students, teachers, parents and friends in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray. Players and coaches prayed in the team huddles on the field. Workers prayed at the concession stand. Others prayed in the press box. When the prayers ended the stadium erupted in spontaneous applause.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).
At a time when so many give the appearance of being ashamed of their faith or remain silent in order to keep the peace or their jobs … at a time when so many place political correctness over biblical convictions, it’s encouraging to see another high school principal stand up for Christ and the principles of His Word.
I’ll let others determine what’s more powerful: Christian schools or Christians in school? But one thing’s for sure: when a public school teacher, principal or administrator goes public with their faith and love for the Lord, THAT’S POWERFUL!
To all of you in public education here in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex who are willing to go public with your faith and stand up for what’s right, know this - you do not stand alone. Over 8,000 of us at Crossroads stand with you and behind you!
When a public school teacher, principal or administrator goes public with their faith and love for the Lord, THAT’S POWERFUL!
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
(Source: Wilkey, Lonnie. “Tenn. High School Principal's Stand on Prayer Gains Exposure via Internet.” Baptist Press, 26 Oct. 2000, http://www.bpnews.net/6736/tenn-high-school-principals-stand-on-prayer-gains-exposure-via-internet)
Barry Cameron is a devoted father and husband, bestselling author, dynamic communicator, and Senior Pastor of Crossroads Christian Church. Crossroads has a gorgeous, 150-acre campus in Grand Prairie, Texas. More than 8000 people call Crossroads their church home. Barry’s latest book, The Road to Financial Freedom, came out in the fall of 2020 and is available on Amazon. It’s another game changer for individuals and families who want to fix their finances once and for all.
Barry and his wife, Janis, have three children: Katie, Matt and Kelli. A daughter-in-law, Lindley and a son-in law, Johnny. They also have two grandsons, Will and Levi. Their family has been completely debt free since November 15, 2001.
Crossroads Christian Church has been debt free since November 9, 2008.