Rhea County welcomes Hamilton County student prayer - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Rhea County welcomes Hamilton County student prayer

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RHEA COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)-- Students at Soddy-Daisy High School are fired up about a ban on led prayers before football games.

Friday night, the team played in Rhea County, another county with a long-standing tradition of led prayer before football games.

A student-led prayer on the center of the field pulled fans from the stands as well.

Most of the Soddy-Daisy students we've been talking to the past couple of days spent Friday in prayerful silence.

They say they are seeking guidance. They have designed pro-prayer t-shirts they'll sell when classes resume Monday.

A Channel 3 crew spent Friday afternoon in Rhea County. And you need not walk any farther than the farmer's market on the courthouse square to hear plenty about the prayer controversy.

Part-time farmer and Youth Pastor Jeff Baggett believes public prayers are worth fighting for and he'd be surprised if Rhea County's superintendent ever tried to stop them.

"If it were me, and I had to make that decision, I would probably lose my job because if nobody else would pray, I would pray," says Baggett.

"People of faith have laid down their lives in the past for their faith. And if it comes to costing possessions or lives, then we need to go by our convictions, not by pressures from the outside," says Jeff Swafford, Rhea County resident.

Rhea County High School students left campus Friday afternoon fully expecting a led prayer at Friday night's game.

Superintendent Jerry Leavengood told Channel 3 the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the prayer providers, asked instead for a prayer gathering prior to the game.

He says members told him they didn't want to put him in an awkward position legally, and he's grateful for that.

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