September 12, 2016
By Lorra B.
Coach Jeff Monken, the U.S. Military Academy’s Army football coach at West Point, finds himself in the spotlight after the top general at the academy raised “valid concerns” about prayer.
After West Point was victorious in last week’s game, Monken requested that a staff assistant lead the team in prayer, according to Checkpoint. This has apparently opened a can of worms and brought up the question of separation of church and state.
“The issue emerged after Coach Jeff Monken was shown in a video produced by West Point celebrating with his players and directing a member of his staff to lead a prayer after an upset victory Sept. 2 over Temple University,” reports Checkpoint.
Complaints were received about the prayer and the video was taken down at the request of Athletic Director Boo Corrigan. The superintendent at West Point, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, stated that to leave the video online would be “like grinding salt into the wound.”
According to Army Times, the video was taken down but replaced with a shorter version. The shorter version shows the celebrating players and that they are ending the game in prayer, though the video does not show the prayer itself.
The majority of the people, about 90 percent, supported the prayer, according to Caslen. He then went on to say, “But, when you look at it from a legal basis and from a legal standpoint, and then you look at it from a leadership standpoint, there were some concerns, and I think they’re valid concerns.”
It is Caslen’s belief that for Monken to encourage or ask anyone to lead in prayer was a mistake when looked at from a leadership or ‘legal standpoint.’
“It creates an atmosphere where it is expected from everybody to say a prayer regardless of their faith or no faith,” Caslen said. “It’s like me as the superintendent of the Corps of Cadets saying, ‘Let’s take a knee and say a prayer together.’ I don’t have the authority to do that. I cannot use my position of authority — my public position of authority — to direct my subordinates to do something that is inconsistent with their rights. So, that’s probably where we crossed the line.”
Students are free, according to the Supreme Court, to lead religious activities and even to lead in prayer. School-sponsored prayer, however, has been ruled against time after time.
Funny how it seems to be Christianity continually in the hot-seat while other religious public displays are rarely talked about in the media. Why is that?
By Lorra B.