Ashdown: Taking a Knee for Freedom

Ashdown ISDLast Friday night the Ashdown School District, the Bauxite School District, the referees, and the fans in Ashdown took on a team from Wisconsin. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has threatened to file against the Ashdown District for prayer. Specifically, someone has filed a complaint and the band director can no longer lead the band, team, and fans in prayer at the local games. While this group may have hindered a school official, it did not hinder the players, students and others. Prayer went boldly forward in the eyes of possible lawsuit.

Tonight, Ashdown will again have the opportunity to stare down the team from Wisconsin. Friday night’s home game (10-9) will afford both Ashdown and the visiting team the opportunity to show a world that continues to say “You’re free, as long as your freedom is done my way and not yours,” that they will not take it anymore.

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Many people have pointed to the Supreme Court cases to say that prayer is outlawed at games, but I would contend that it’s time to stand up even if it means going to the court again. After all, with the band director no longer leading the prayer and this being a spontaneous event led by students, the public and others, it would appear that the fine folks from the Freedom From Religion Foundation will have to ask the court to violate the First Amendment to get their way:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

For the students, families, and fans at Ashdown this Friday night, I would say, “Keep up the fight!” You are fully within your right because not even Congress can prohibit your “free exercise,” and not even Congress can stop your “freedom of speech.” The district, the students, and the fans along with visiting teams are all a testament to the fact that we have a new generation rising up. This new generation will longer be stifled by threats of lawsuits. More people in the community need to know that bowing to pressure that ends your rights at the request of another cannot continue in a country founded on freedom. It is time to take a stand, or as in the case for the brave Ashdown students, it is time to take a knee.

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About Clinton S. Thomas, Th.D.
Clinton S. Thomas, Th.D.

A published writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction in both the digital age and the pre-digital age of publishing. Currently serving as editor and writer for the Four States News, all while living life across the four states region from Texarkana, USA. (

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