Here in the Deep South, there used to be a long-standing tradition of prayer in schools, led by school administrators. To this day, some high schools have prayer before the beginning of football games, even when the legality of it is questionable. Even when a school system complies, there are often organized protests, like in my home town, where the student recite the Lord’s Prayer in protest during the game. Atheists, it is claimed, are simply being thin-skinned.
Today I read that Louis Giglio’s invitation to pray at the President’s inauguration has been declined. Why? Because of a sermon he preached about 15 years ago that declared homosexuality to be a sin. Giglio himself declined the invitation because he was afraid that it would distract from his ministry’s purpose. It was a gracious of him to do that.
But here is the question that all my evangelical friends need to wrestle with: are the inaugural prayers going to continue? And if so, who will do them? Evangelicals who believe that homosexuality is a sin are no longer welcome. So who is going to pray? If you eliminate all ministers from that pool who believe homosexuality is a sin, who do you have left? Would it bother you if the only people who were ever invited to pray were people you considered heterodox in faith?
Now we find ourselves in that uncomfortable position that the atheist at the football game was in. And since we all cried about prayer staying, and since we put the atheist down for his thin skin, prayer remained. All may not be lost though. If we hurry up and apologize to the atheist, he may join us in protest over this practice.